Monday, 4 April 2011

The Beauty of Hindsight...

Wigs. Why bother ? I'm so over them right now. If I knew that it was going to be this difficult to find a decent one I'd have made it my mission to get one before the treatment started. At least then, I'd feel a lot more confident about trying the wig on in any shop and I wouldn't be so tired and teary (side effect from chemo and therefore chemically induced; not me turning into an emotional wreck every time I look at my follically-challenged scalp). Today I received a call from the 'biggie' hairstylist. This guy does shoots and films and celebs et al. He charges £50 for a cut - which I know may sound reasonable in the world of real hair, but I'm now actually three wigs down and have realised that I've spent almost £100 on synthetic hair. And I'm nowhere nearer to getting my 'desired' look.

My sick pay will soon be cut in half so I now have to budget real hard. I haven't had the time nor energy to buy more fabric and therefore branch out on some new headwrap/turban styles. Baby A is almost walking and definitely crawling - at top speed I have to add. So I've had zero time to actually do more research into cutting and styling. I guess the real problem is that I'm stubborn. I love curly hair and I especially love afro hair at a time in fashion and beauty history when straight hair is all the rage. If I just wanted a straight or wavy wig I'd have a whole collection by now.

Speaking of which, I now have a long, straight jet-black wig. This was kindly donated to me by my friend M who thought it would be a good idea for us and another friend to have dinner at the Oxo tower in our wigs - a very kind treat to me to celebrate the end of chemo. I told her that I currently didn't have a suitable one. Just a very big Diana Ross meets Brian May mane that would probably either get me picked up for soliciting or maybe sectioned if I began to act anything other than 'normal' while wearing it. So she offered to bring me one. I wasn't so keen on wearing a straight wig but decided to break with tradition for one night only and see how it looked. I ended up trying it on in the toilet of a nearby pub before entering the restaurant. I looked at my reflection. What looked back at me was a woman with no eyebrows, dark shadows around her eyes and and dry, patchy skin wearing a wig designed for someone twenty years younger.  The unnaturally black colour and sheen of the wig seemed to highlight all my imperfections (both natural and chemically-induced). I started to yearn for my boring but neat afro hair again. What is it that they say ? You never miss something until it's gone ?

M offered me her mascara and some lipstick and after a few attempts, I once again had eyebrows and crimson coloured lips. I wore the wig all night in the end, sometimes sashaying along as if I were on a catwalk. I told them that I felt like a poor man's Naomi Campbell. They reassured me that I looked great. No-one even glanced at me - such is the current fashion to attempt to look like an R & B singer. Not even when my scalp grew very hot and I scratched it so hard that the fringe flew forwards and stray hairs found their way into my wasabi mackerel dish. The wig looked fine I guess, but it didn't feel like me. I always thought before buying a wig that if I wore one, I'd want it to be fun and fabulous and make me look like a bigger, brassier, beautiful version of myself. But I've come to realise that all I want is to look like me again - not some attempt to look like a supermodel or celebrity. Just plain, boring old me.

I wonder how it would feel to be transported back to my pre-metastatic life when all I had to complain about was lack of sleep and the loss of my pre-baby friends. If I could return to that time knowing what I know now ? I think I'd be the happiest insomniac loner in the whole of London.
This is the beauty of hindsight.

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