I did a thing. On Monday, I decided to say “F!@k it” and stopped wearing my wig. I went out into the world without my wig and let my fuzzy head feel the sun.
I didn’t get rid of my wig all at once, I started small. On Monday, I went to a Pilates class (3 blocks from my apartment) and then straight back home without my wig. On Tuesday, while walking home from chemo with Matt, I took my wig off and sat at a restaurant for lunch without my wig but, I still wore my wig to pick up Aidan from camp. On Wednesday, I didn’t wear my wig at all – even to camp – and I haven’t worn it since. On Thursday, I overcame a hurdle and went wigless to get my nails done and sit at my local coffee shop and endured lots of stares. On Friday night, Matt and I went to ABC Kitchen for dinner and I did not wear my wig.
The reactions from people around me have been mostly positive. One of the doormen in my building, also bald, gave me a head nod and smile in solidarity as I walked out of the building without my wig. My nanny was in shock that I would go out in public without my wig and thought that I was playing a joke on her when I told her that I wasn’t wearing my wig to pick up Aidan from camp. I got a lot of stares at the nail salon and it took almost an hour before my manicurist asked about my shaved head. I find myself having to “own” my cancer more now, explaining to the strangers with familiar faces in my neighborhood why the hair that they are used to seeing is gone. Seeing me without any hair is shocking and I can imagine that it makes some people uncomfortable because they aren’t sure the right thing to say. Truthfully, there is no right or wrong thing to say.
Wearing my wig up until now has served a purpose. It allowed me to continue looking like “myself” and prevented the outside world from knowing that I have cancer. My wig matched my style and allowed me to continue to feel “normal”, in spite of everything else that is going on. Now that I have taken the wig off, everyone around me can see that I look different and would rightfully assume that my new look is not something that I willingly tried out.
I am still not used to how I look without my wig but it is wayyyy more comfortable. I never really loved having to wear a wig and found it both annoying and phony. To be honest, I’m not sure that I was ever used to how I looked when I was wearing my wig.
Prior to all of this cancer stuff, I always felt very confident in how I looked. I may not have had the perfect body, face or hair but I was always comfortable in my own skin. I liked what I saw when I looked in the mirror and felt really good about myself. Now, I feel a bit detached from my appearance. I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror and don’t feel like my physical appearance reflects how I feel on the inside. I still want to look “cute” but I don’t think that my head matches my outfits.
My hair has already started growing, though I have a long way to go until it looks anything like it did before. I have to remind myself constantly that this is all temporary and one day I will look in the mirror and feel connected to the face looking back at me.