How a blonde wig saved me

From a very early age, I had hair that would make even D.J. Tanner swoon. My blonde mane was a Candace Cameron/Farrah Fawcett hybrid. I was a blonde Brooke Shields.

Well, maybe not. But I sure felt like it.

The women at church would ooh and ahh over its thickness. My friends would express their jealousy. The ladies’ restroom was always a spot where the good-natured hair envy flowed freely. Strangers in line behind me at the grocery store would ask to touch it. It was as if, in a crowded supermarket, my hair was the equivalent of a pregnant tummy. People would invade my personal, intimate space just to cop a feel, all in the name of compliments. My hair was shiny, wavy, thick and bouncy. It was the one thing my teen angst couldn’t deny. Self-esteem has always been clearly perched atop my head.

It was my badge of confidence. No matter how I felt about my naturally muscular thighs or the amount of concealer it took to cover that creepy vein under my right eye, I always had great hair to drown out the beauty critic who lives inside my soul.

My hair was everything to me.

Until I got sick. Until I started carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Until the stress became too much. Until all my hair started falling out.

Until I had to buy a wig.

Now my badge of confidence is honey-blonde synthetic fibers, stamped with a Raquel Welch label.

I am still losing enough hair to make Donald Trump a toupee. Daily. Something had to be done. I needed a day of renewal in more than one sense: With my sick days making their way to the rearview mirror, my doctor finally released me to return to work. But I couldn’t interview people for the newspaper with hair that seemed to jump out of my head and onto anything in its path. Judi’s World of Wigs to the rescue. Except that day, the greatest loss to stare me in the face was not my formerly lustrous locks. It was when an executive at my company left a voicemail letting me know that I would not be welcomed back after my leave of absence.

He fired me.

My mission was altered just like that. I now had to find something to cover my sick, mangy-looking head because, for the first time in years, I was an out-of-work journalist who was hitting the job interview circuit in a bad economy. The economy doesn’t care if you’ve won any awards, gotten any scoops, or even if you are a friendly person with a reference letter from an ESPN news editor or a minister.

When I first walked into the wig shop, I was shaking all the way from my toes up to my bald spots. The woman at the counter looked like Flo from Mel’s Diner, which did very little to allay my fears. As she smiled and walked about the store, it became clear to me that Dennis Rodman would have looked less inconspicuous wearing the same strawberry-blonde short stack.

So I cried. I was convinced that buying a wig meant that I, too, would end up looking like I stepped off a cheap ’70s sitcom.

The first one I tried looked like a squirrel attached to my crown. Scratch that – it looked like a dead squirrel attached to my crown.

“Flo” saw me crying. She walked over and kneeled next to my beauty shop chair. She gave me an “It’s OK, Hon” pat on the back and, with a straight face, tried to calm the situation. Very gently and sweetly, she leaned in and whispered, “Can you tell I have on a wig?”

Crickets.

Um, ahem.

I put on my polite face and said, “You have on a wig?” She cackled and snorted and looked so proud, because she thought she was fooling everyone into believing it was real. So I laughed. My mother laughed. Everyone laughed. Flo thought she made me feel better about buying a wig, but really, she made me feel better about the entirety of the situation. Flo helped me realize that it was what it was, and I couldn’t do anything about it. In the darkest of times, laughter is God’s nectar.

After what seemed like 50 Eva Gabors and Raquel Welchs later, I found the one. It looked surprisingly similar to my own hair’s thickness, cut and color. So I did the only logical thing. I cried again.

For the first time in four months, my tears were those of joy and of healing.

Don’t underestimate the devastation of hair falling out. Sure, it will probably grow back to its former glory in a couple of years; I even have a few seedlings sprouting up. But for a woman – a young, vibrant, happy, single, career woman – hair loss is a tragedy worthy of a Daniel Defoe novel.

I’m convinced, thanks to Raquel Welch, that my new mass of curls will give me the strength to be a modern-day Robinson Crusoe. My life has been shipwrecked by illness and job loss and medical bills that have reached six figures. If the shoe fits…

But just like Defoe’s Crusoe, I’ll craft art out of mud. I’ll plant crops without a plow. I’ll find a way to build a house with only items I find in my wilderness.

My wig is already a good start on the foundation. It already has given me more comfort than I could have imagined. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to keep a photo of D.J. Tanner on the mirror, either.

Oh, and the world and its obstacles? Kiss. My. Grits. Because I have a head full of doubt, but I’ve also got a road full of promise.

“Head Full Of Doubt / Road Full Of Promise”
Avett Brothers

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
And it comes in black and it comes in white
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

When nothing is owed or deserved or expected
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon you that’s flooded in light
And in the fine print they tell you what’s wrong and what’s right
And it flies by day and it flies by night
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There was a dream and one day I could see it
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it
And there was a kid with a head full of doubt
So I’ll scream til I die and the last of those bad thoughts are finally out

There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
In the fine print they tell me what’s wrong and what’s right
There’s a darkness upon me that’s flooded in light
And I’m frightened by those that don’t see it

————-

Brandi Ball is now an unemployed journalist who is living and blogging in Oklahoma.

Email: brandiball.ok@gmail.com

Resume: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blball

 

 

 

 

 

‘Sweet’ hearts aren’t always betrothed

So you’re alone. This Valentine’s Day, you have no significant other. No one to ‘coo’ over at candlelight. No one to snuggle with.rc13870

Join the club. However, instead of wallowing in pity, why not use it as an excuse to spread love to others?

There’s nothing that says Valentines are just for lovers. There are no rules, no laws that require a romantic commitment between people who exchange tiny hearts with messages printed on them.

Instead of cursing the Hallmark-laden holiday – embrace it as another day set aside to boost someone else’s spirits.

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