Nearly six months ago I was crying in the middle of the kitchen floor whilst my mother and boyfriend shaved off my hair.
That was one of the toughest moments of having cancer and that moment was one of the hardest to get through – both mentally and physically.
But even after shaving off the hair, I had a safety net in the form of my wig. If I didn’t want anyone to see my bald head, it wasn’t a problem because I had the wig. I also knew my hair would grow back, slowly but surely.
Now, three months after finishing treatment, after all the hurdles I’d already had to jump, the next one was ditching the safety net and getting rid of the glorious wig that had been a huge relief and support to me.
I only wore my wig when I went out, I never wore it in the house, in front of my friends and family, and if I was just popping out I would just wear my trusted woolly hat.
I can never thank the Little Princess Trust enough, for giving me confidence in the form of the wig. The wig was so much more than just a wig – it lifted my mood when I only saw my bald head in the mirror and it made me feel normal again when I was used to standing out like a sore thumb. It was glorious in every way possible and it was comfortable, which was a bonus.
But as time went by and my hair started growing at a faster rate, it became uncomfortable and the hair would peek through the edges, making it look un-natural. So then I was faced with the predicament, did I shave my hair again so I could continue to wear this wig or did I pluck up the courage to go without it?
The truth was, that I no longer felt pretty or complete or normal without the wig. It had given me so much when I needed it, and perhaps I did end up depending on it to a certain extent: the thought of going on without it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Clothes didn’t look right without the wig. I didn’t look right without my wig.
“Your hair is long enough to go without your wig now”
“How long is your hair under your wig”
“How’s the hair?”
“You’ll look better without the wig”
Blah, blah, blah.
I was having none of it.
I wanted to scream at these people who were just trying to be nice to me. They didn’t realise that I needed the wig, they couldn’t possibly understand.
This is one of the times where alcohol was definitely the answer.
I was feeling much better in myself so I was going out more at the weekends. The more the pink wine was flowing, the messier things were getting regarding the wig. I became more fearless and the wig was off. I kept ripping it off my head then dancing and waving it around in my hand – my stubbly, bristly, boy-hair on show in all its glory for everyone to gawk and gawp at. Some laughed, others looked on in disgust.
But in my drunken stupor, I didn’t care: I had beaten cancer and everyone was to bloody well know about it.
That was what I thought in my pink wine haze; the morning after I would cringe and cower in my bed thinking, oh god did I actually do that?
But, as the weeks passed and my hair grew more and more, I knew I couldn’t continue to wear the wig forever. I needed to get rid of it; I needed to throw it away. I knew I was depending too much on it.
But I also knew that I had to be the one to find the courage and strength to go without it: it would have to be something that I decided all on my own.
I would be completely exposed.
What would people think?
Would I be the same without it?
I had come full circle, I had lost my hair and gained a wig now I needed to lose the wig and learn to live without it again. As always though, things would happen at my own pace, when I was ready.
If you’re in the position to go without your wig, but don’t have the confidence yet: don’t rush into it. Don’t do it until you’re ready. When the day is right, something will click, and you will have the confidence to embrace the stubble(!) and rule the world without any reassurance. You won’t care what people think because you’ll know that you’re bloody fabulous.
This moment came for me on the 4th of April 2016.
I didn’t tell another living soul, I just went to work without my wig. I tied a bright orange, flowery scarf around my forehead and just went for it. Nobody questioned me and nobody stared, in fact people were actually paying me compliments!
I felt exactly the same as I did when I wore the wig. It was only until I looked in the mirror I remembered I wasn’t.
A customer in work said:
“I like your headband, I can’t decide if you look like a hippy, a gardener or if you’re a head banger.”
I just laughed because it was funny and I didn’t care that she was making a joke at my expense. Had this been a few weeks ago, I would have broken down in tears but I knew I was fine, I knew I could take whatever was thrown at me.
I can’t believe that was over a month ago now.
My wig remains hidden away. It served me well when I needed it but now is the time for everyone to see me without it. Like everyone, I have bad hair days where I look in the mirror and hate it because it won’t lay flat, so most of the time I resemble a porcupine with spiky hair, pointing upwards and in every direction. I pray that my curls will reappear soon or I will be getting a perm, pronto.
I am definitely on a mission to get my hair long again, so slather it with coconut oil and every other super-duper-extra-fast-hair-growth-conditioning-magic-oil I can get my hands on, but for now, I am proud of my short hair. It is a symbol that I have fought a battle with cancer and come out as a survivor. Not everyone is lucky enough to say these words and I am proud and happy that I can.
Here is my hair Journey so far…
** If you saw my last blog post, you will know that I will be doing a Skydive on the 27th of May to raise money towards The Little Princess Trust, Ward Alaw and CLIC Sargent. Thank-you to everybody who has already donated. If you would like to sponsor me I would be very grateful as all these charities are so close to my heart. Thankyou 🙂