Yes, every person who wears wigs may fear their wig may fall off! It doesn’t matter if they have hair or have Alopecia! I’ve been wearing wigs for over 30+ years and never thought that I would experience my wig falling off!
Let’s paint a picture: I’m in Austin with friends & family and having the best time EVER!! As we were walking to a restaurant, I accidently tripped over a small sand bag in the middle of the side walk (love construction). I did not think much about it. It was nothing really. So, we continue to the restaurant and are seated. Little did I know, tripping over the sandbag caused my wig to loosen on my head. Now, I wear an extra small wig and didn’t realize the Styrofoam wig head (that I would place my wig on for styling and storage) had stretched my wig cap, significantly! Thus, my not feeling the shift of the wig was the main reason it fell off. It was not secure! Goodness!
Anyway, as we are having dinner, I’m a huge laugher! As, I was laughing I shook my head…Yes, you guessed it. My wig flew off and hit the floor! Now, let’s sidetrack for a moment. I had NEVER lost my wig and have been wearing them for over thirty years! I was so shocked! I picked my wig off the floor and placed it back on my head. Honestly, I was so mortified that my husband had to take me back to our hotel. I cried all night, apologizing to our friends and family. Why was I apologizing? I now realize that I was more embarrassed for them to be seen with a bald woman in the middle of a restaurant lose her wig! Ugh, now I realize that I was still living in shame.
I was ashamed of anyone knowing about my hair loss, let alone them finding out PUBLICLY! To be completely honest, I had the same feelings that I had as a young child when others teased, bullied, or made me feel like I was different and it was wrong. Isn’t that interesting? How my old feelings resurfaced in an instant?
Those who were with me were very reassuring and did not understand my pain or sadness. From speaking to others who have hair loss, it is a small sign of the pain many Alopecian’s experience. Regardless of gender, age, social economic status, education, etc. We are made to feel less than because of not having long locks.
This is what many individuals with hair loss fear! Being vulnerable to a world that admires long flowing hair. Our world is socially driven! One socially accepted norm is a woman with long flowing hair. Look at the media (commercials, magazines, radio, social media, etc.) that consistently encourages beauty for a woman as one who is ultra thin, with no flaws, and amazing hair. Yet, truthfully? We are all different. That’s the beauty of human kind.
Now, when I look back at that moment I simply laugh. Yes, the new story is that my hair flew across Austin, Texas! However, it doesn’t have the pain as it was before. It was one moment in my life! I was supported and loved, despite my pain and feeling ashamed. The greatest part of Alopecia Areata is having a support system. The support system will always be there for you and will see YOU, not your diagnosis. To those reading with hair loss, I hope you never have my experience, but if you do your support system will be there to help you.
Stay strong and keep those wigs on! Or not! Be your TRUE SELF!
P.S. Later, I made the choice to go bald publically in Austin during a conference presentation. Yes, I felt empowered indeed!