These are all pictures of me. Notice anything?
I have Alopecia. I have had it since my senior year in high school although at that time it was not noticeable. I went completely bald in 1994 when my natural golden locks failed me to the point that I could no longer fake it. I shaved it and wore a hat and later a bandanna. It was during a great transition period in my life in which I had just broke it off with Asshat and was alone in Phoenix, Arizona. To prove more to myself than anyone else, I refused my parents pleads and offers for help. After moping about and drinking myself into a dangerous situation or two, I picked myself up and got on with my life. A new chapter.
Other than the stares, the often asked questions of cancer, and the painful self-awareness of just how different I looked the first roadblock was the discrimination I faced when trying to find a job. Apparently no one wants to hire a bald girl in a hat or bandanna. I sold the only treasured possession that I had managed to hold on to, my electric guitar, and bought a cheap wig. It itched. It was hot. It looked wiggy. I hated it but the very first job I applied for while wearing it I got. From that point on I lived a double life. I wore that evil blond wig on my bus ride to and from work and all day at work but as soon as I got to the place I called home, a two bedroom apartment in a sketchy neighborhood I shared with two roommates, it was immediately replaced by my old trusty dark blue bandanna.
I gravitated towards the party scene partially because both of my roommates were over the age of 21 and partially because I had a rather sheltered childhood and was amazed at what the city and grown-up life had to offer. I am from a small farming community. I thought ice cream trucks and dance clubs were only found on t.v. We went to parties on the weekends and when there wasn’t one we went to dance clubs. In this environment my lack of hair was not looked at as strange, it was a form of self expression. I was a cute punk girl and that was fine with me (some of those punk boys are rather cute, you know.)
The story continues and while there is a lot I can write about my experience with hair loss and how it effected me on a multitude of levels, I will save it for another post or two. I want to tell you about my Alopecia now because it has been on my mind a lot lately.
I started wearing wigs in January 2011, the year Cody started kindergarten. I started wearing them for him, so he would not be the boy who’s mother is bald. I did not want him to be teased. I did not start wearing them for myself but it has turned into just that. I enjoy not being the only bald woman in the grocery store. I like not being asked if I am “fighting the good fight” and then have to listen politely to a story about someone’s mother/brother/aunt/uncle/cousin is battling cancer and how awful it is while I am waiting in line at the post office to buy stamps.
I like how I look with hair. I like having hair but I am not very good at it yet. When I catch a man looking at me in the produce section I immediately think something is wrong with my hair (my friends assure me this is not the reason I am being looked at, but I am not so sure.) I have never been a girly girl and do not follow fashion trends, especial ones involving hair. Let’s face it, the last time I had any hair to speak of it was at the early 90’s, almost the 80’s and we all know how awesome 80’s hairstyles were. I shiver to think of what I would look like if I was left to my own devices With the help of a lady who also has Alopecia but who is in fact a girly girl, I have entered the world of wigs.
It is a science. No, it is an art form. I am not very good at art but I do well with science. I am trying and I am learning. This summer I have transitioned from synthetic wigs to human hair ones and have gone from just above the shoulder length to about three inches longer. My new wig is much more comfortable but takes more work to maintain. I dread the start of the school year because my hair is not only longer but the color is a bit different. I am not sure what to say when people comment that my hair grew fast or ask me where I get my hair done. I do not want to deceive anyone and if I try to keep it a secret then it becomes this big thing to hide. My main concern is that Cody does not get teased over this.
So that is where my head is now, thinking about hair.