I often walk by two wig shops every day at lunchtime in Old Town. In one of the shop windows, there’s a male mannequin with a wig on his head and a Ron-Burgundy-esque mustache on his face.
I used to laugh with everyone else as we’d joke about how “no one would ever wear a wig like that” or “how ridiculous would that look on someone?”
A few days ago, though, out of the blue, something just gutted me when I walked past and heard a group of young women laughing and pointing at the wigs in the window. It was like I suddenly had a borderline-PTSD flashback to December, when everyone thought that I was going to have to go through chemo.
I remember walking past a wig one day during those uncertain weeks and feeling sad but resolute that if my precious hair (and I do mean precious – I’m not too vain normally, but nearly everyone envies my thick, fine, soft hair) had to go, then I was going to be rocking the neon pink wig I still see in the window everyday.
I even remember how my head itched that day when I thought about covering it with fake hair, and I found myself wondering all of a sudden why they were so funny to people. I just suddenly lost the humor in the situation as I saw my grandmothers wig and my Aunt’s wigs and my cousins’ wigs flashing through my memory – wigs were never funny in my family; they were a coping mechanism, a way for us to survive.
I still see the mustached head almost every day, but since that moment of remembering a few days ago, I have been thinking about the “Mr. White” character in “Breaking Bad” (GREAT show, btw), who started with full facial hair and when his family forced him to go through chemo he shaved his whole head and face…maybe someone like him would like that mustache?
Perhaps to have just a tiny piece of his dignity as he suffers the inhumane suffering and pain demanded by this stupid disease? Really, he’s too badass for any wig or fake mustache, but he was the only example I could think of…
I’m sorry for laughing at you before, wigs. I pretended you weren’t a valuable part of people to me then. I allowed myself to ignore how important dignity and grace are when you are forced to undergo such a terrible ordeal. Honestly, I think I just wanted to ignore the fact that you were almost a part of me.