Posted on April 29 2018
This blog was written by one of our Community Ambassadors, Wendy. Meet her on the wigs.org forum!
I never said anything to my kids when I first started wearing toppers and wigs. I was still wrestling with the idea of having Alopecia—-it seemed huge. I tried to hide it because I didn’t quite know how to explain it to them. And, oddly enough, they didn’t notice. My hair seemingly changed lengths, density, color even—my kids never said a word. I started to wonder if they were keeping it under wraps so as not to make me feel bad or something. Nope. They had no clue. I guess I had done enough crazy stuff to my hair in the past to keep them guessing.
I used to dye my bio hair like a mermaid’s...pink, purple, blue, turquoise...I had no hair boundaries. And yet, suddenly, I was caged. Not just by my missing hair, but by the idea of sharing that with my kids. But I was tired of sneaking around. I was tired of hiding my toppers and wigs on stands under blankets—they were meant to be displayed! (not to mention the wear and tear it was probably causing)... I was tired of pretending to be someone that I wasn’t. I wanted them to know that it was okay to be yourself, even if you were different—I wanted them to celebrate what makes them unique...but first, I needed to lead by example. No more trying to “blend in” with toppers and wigs resembling my bio hair. Because that’s not how I would wear my bio hair. It was time to rock the hair that I would have rocked, had I the hair to rock it with. It was time to get some fun wigs. It was time to tell my children.
When I finally worked up the courage to talk to my kids about my Alopecia, I could tell that it had gone completely unnoticed by them. I could see them putting the pieces together in their heads as I spoke. My son busted out with, “So that’s why you wear hats all the time!” My daughter seemed to take it a little harder...”But, ladies aren’t supposed to be bald...” ouch. That one hurt. I explained that anyone can be bald. Even kids. That Alopecia doesn’t discriminate, and neither do I—but in kids’ terms, of course. They seemed to digest the whole matter as quickly as they went back to digesting their dinners. Just like that. My secret was out. And, for the most part, they were cool with it.
There were a few awkward moments where friends of theirs would see me in a wig and ask, “did you dye your hair blue?”...I didn’t wanted to lie, to hide... for them (and for myself), I refused to be someone I wasn’t. So, I would look said friend in the eye and say confidently, “nope—-it’s a wig. Do you like it?” Of course they would instantly follow up with, “why are you wearing a wig?” And I would take a deep breath and begin to tell my story, in kid’s terms, again. And then a parent would approach, casually inquiring, “Oh, did you do something different with your hair?” I would share my rehearsed speech about Alopecia and celebrating differences and hope they “got it”. I could tell that some of the kids and parents really understood—-maybe even learned something. And it was then that I realized my journey through life may have taken away my hair, but it gave me the very important gig of “Alopecia Advocate”—whether I wanted it or not.
It was up to me to either hide from the job and shun myself in the process or to deal with it proudly (and loudly—some of my wigs are pretty bright, unnatural colors! Lol!). I choose the latter every day. It isn’t always easy, but even if I can change one person’s perspective, it’s totally worth it. I would love for my kids to grow up in a world where different is delicious and we reveal rather than conceal our truths. I’m having fun with my circumstances—I’m down right celebrating them. That makes me happy. I hope that makes my kids (and the rest of the world) celebrate with me. Mint green wigs for everyone!
Thank you for sharing, Wendy!