Wig, Wrap or Razor?

Those of you who don’t know me very well, or haven’t read my book won’t know about the health problems I’ve struggled with over the years. Nothing too severe or life threatening. Just problems bad enough to make me feel like a total crazy hypochondriac…or bad enough to help me learn that I am not my body. It all depends on which self I decide to be when I look at it.

One of my issues is hair loss. I have been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease alopecia.

Here’s a picture of my hair today.

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(Here it’s parted further to the side than where I actually part it to give you a good idea of the thinness of it.   It’s a tad bit thicker on top…so it actually doesn’t look quite this thin on a regular day.)

I started noticing some of my hair was missing about 8 or 9 years ago. And about 4 years ago it starting being hard to miss the handfuls of hair I ended up holding after rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. About two years ago it seemed I was going to have to make a decision about how I was going to handle this. Was I going to wrap my head in a scarf…or shave my scalp bald? Maybe I could be like Diane Keaton and start a great hat collection. Beyonce wears a wig really well. Maybe I could check out the wig scene.

I asked my closest friend about my hair. Is it as bad as I think it is? She replied that yes, it was time to make a hair move. So I got some scarves, bought some hats and decided to head to some wig stores to try out my options. (Wasn’t quite yet bold enough to take a razor to my scalp.)

 Here’s the first wig I ever tried on.

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The sales lady at this high end wig store said it was real red hair cut from the head of a woman living in rural Ireland. I don’t know if that was true, but it was selling for $5000. Although I loved it, it seemed that real hair wigs were far outside my price range. On to the next store. The next few wigs I tried on made me laugh so hard I cried, or ugly cry so hard I laughed…I’m not sure which.

I was starting to give up on the wig idea when I ordered a couple of them on line for $100 a piece…and ended up with one that looked like it might work.

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I started watching hours of you tube videos on how to make the synthetic hair more realistic looking and blend in better with your own hairline, and I eventually started venturing out with my new do. Not all the time…I never wore it to work….just when I was going out on the town and wanted to feel a little more sassy.

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 Not bad, right?

 Maybe I would become a wig person. But after a few months, summer hit in Los Angeles . And when it gets above 85 degrees, it gets mighty hard to keep a wig on your head. (And we don’t have air conditioning in our tiny LA home, where it often rises above 100 degress in August and Septmember.)

On a total whim one hot day…I just went into the bathroom and cut off my own hair to the style you see on the about me page. And for the last year and half, have settled on the short hair look. Cutting it short actually did make it look fuller since my hair barely grows anymore and the last five inches had become super thin and straggly looking. I’ve got enough poof and wave in my hair that I can hide the thinness of it pretty well.

My hair is still falling out, although the rate has slowed somewhat with the help of diet changes and vitamins.   And I’ll most likely have to make another hair move one day. But it won’t be as traumatic as the last hair move. (I didn’t get into how a trip to the wig store caused a huge rift in my 18 year marriage. Maybe in the next post.) It’s been a huge growing process, but I have learned…I am not my hair. Hair is an accessory we have (or don’t have) in this earthly life. If we have it, (or not)…it shouldn’t change how we feel about ourselves at our core. Losing my locks has caused me to learn to love myself deeper. More unconditionally. More wholeheartedly.

After hours of crying and desperate damsel moments, I’m really becoming a

damn it all to hell Dame

when it comes to the hair issue.

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 (I get super jealous of Sean Connery, LL Cool Jay, and Jason Statham’s full on sexy, cool baldness. It’s my new goal to be that gorgeously smooth and self assured when I get that bald.)

8 thoughts on “Wig, Wrap or Razor?

  1. karaleelbechtol says:

    Thank’s so much Denise. It’s a mourning process. Then you realize you are not your hair. Then you realize…this can be kind of fun. It’s all made me grow as a person. And for that I am grateful.

  2. Bonnie says:

    Alopecia really is a journey. I love the way you capture that so beautifully with your honesty. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip. The views are amazing… at times.

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