From Thick To Thin – My Hair Loss-Induced Identity Crisis

From Thick To Thin – My Hair Loss-Induced Identity Crisis
March 13th, 2011

hair loss identity crisisFor the last several years I’ve been having an identity crisis, caused by my hair loss. I was always known as “the girl with the thick curly hair” and I was defined by my hair. Now when I look in the mirror I don’t see myself, and it freaks me out. I just had a dream where I was looking at current pictures of myself, and there I was with the thick hair that I no longer have in real life. When I think about how people describe others, it usually starts with the hair. To describe most my friends, I would start off with a description of their hair. ”Oh, you know Suzie – the girl with the spiky blonde hair.” Or “remember Bob – the short guy with the shaved head?”

Celebrities are also defined by their hair – Britney Spears with the horrible extensions, Michelle Williams with the pixie cut, Jennifer Aniston with the perfect blonde beachy waves, etc. Jennifer Aniston just cut a few inches off her hair, and it’s become a major news story that hundreds of sites have written about. Hair loss is devastating to almost all women, but I think it’s even harder on women who were known for their beautiful hair. When anyone’s best feature is taken away (perfect body, thick hair, flawless line-free skin), it sucks. I asked my boyfriend how most of his friends describe me (I haven’t had thick hair since before I met him), and now I’m “the girl with the brown hair.” It’s still about the hair, even though I am now so nondescript. It’s boring! But of course it’s better than being ”the balding girl.”

Who am I?
Have you lost your defining feature? Have you reinvented yourself? What sentence do people use to identify you? I really want to reinvent myself and be “the girl with…” and not have hair anywhere in that sentence! I don’t know who to be. I was at a party yesterday and a friend said she’s worked so hard to be herself – to be “Farrah.” I feel like I still need a defining feature because I don’t know what being me means anymore. Prince was so sick of his name and image that he became “the artist formerly known as.” I feel like “the girl formerly known as the girl with the thick curly hair.” Ugh!

Distraction from my hair loss
Now that my hair sucks, I don’t want people looking at it, so I’m trying to think of what I can do/wear to distract from my hair. I don’t have any tattoos but have seriously thought about getting some as a distraction. I haven’t read the book “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” but apparently just one tattoo makes you worthy of a book and movie. I’m not into fake boobs, but half of Las Vegas women can be described as “the girl with the giant fake boobs” but of course you have to add on “and hair extensions” to that sentence. I’ve been trying to workout more so I can be “the woman who can get away with skinny jeans” but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

My favorite book is “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and the main character goes through the whole book buying stuff to redefine who she is. She thinks that once she’s known as “the girl in the green scarf” her life will be perfect… Lately I’ve been buying jewelry I don’t need, partly because I’m depressed about my hair loss, and because being “the girl with the cute necklace” is better than “the girl with the thin hair.” I’ve thought about shaving my head but being “the girl with the shaved head” is something I’m so not ready for.

Will a wig solve my identity crisis?
I’ve been considering wearing a wig or hairpiece for a while now, but that brings up new problems. If I end up with a wig that isn’t realistic enough I’ll immediately be “the girl with the wig – OMG why is she wearing a wig?” If I find a super realistic, beautiful wig, I’ll be “the girl with the perfect hair.” That sounds great and all, but I’m tired of being defined by my hair! And I don’t know if I want to call attention to my head if I’m wearing supplemental hair. I love the color pink and really want a crazy pink wig like Nicki Minaj, but I think with my suburban life, wearing it would cause too much unwanted attention. 

Who are you?
Tell me who you are – how would you describe yourself, and how do others describe you? Have you also suffered an identity crisis from your hair loss? Have you found a new identity that you’re happy with, despite your hair loss? For now I’ll just be “the girl who has no idea who she is…”

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  4. Cheap Synthetic Wigs
Tags: Categories: Female Hair Loss

8 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Candace
    March 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    Reply

    I grew up with really thick and curly hair too and I never really thought I would lose it and I also never thought about it until it started to happen. It is a shock sometimes to see myself but I am used to it by now for the most part.

  • Jane
    March 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm
    Reply

    I am in love with shopping and beauty products. I love being a girl. I love having my long hair. But I had to take a horrible medication and it made it (almost) all fall out. It was devastating. It grew back and then I had a crisis, and the docs put me on the med again even though I told them NOT to do it! They didn’t (new doctors) that that medication would actually cause my hair to fall out. Well I sure showed them. So that was twice. It finally has all grown back again. And it’s stronger, thicker and curly this time! I love it! I am a sleuth. I would not stop until I found out what would make my hair grow. I tried everything. But only one magic combination worked for me: Selenium and Zinc. From there, I added a B complex with lots of Biotin and lots of Omega 3′s. That was my trick. I did use Nioxin Shampoo and Conditioner ONCE to cleanse my follicles or hair shafts or whatever it’s supposed to do, but I didn’t go overboard on it. That stuff is nasty. Seriously though, my hair grew so fast. If you haven’t tried this before, feel free to email me if you have any questions. Some of my friends tried it and believers :)

    • Jeni - Hair Loss Hell
      March 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm
      Reply

      I’m glad you were able to get your hair back! I take zinc and selenium in a multivitamin but I don’t take them separately. I know I did at one point, but I stopped doing that several years ago (I forget why – I have taken sooo many different vitamins and minerals over the years). I also take a B complex, biotin and Omega 3s (in fish oil and flax seed oil).

    • wendi
      September 7, 2011 at 10:59 am
      Reply

      Hi Jane – I’m so happy the supplements worked for you. I take Biotin(1000mcg per day) and Omega 3′s – what dosages are you taking of these and Zinc and Selenium? I will try anything!

  • Mel
    March 15, 2011 at 4:07 am
    Reply

    I was the girl with the “Tall Chubby girl with Curly Blond Hair”. Now I’m just the tall chubby girl… with a shaved head.
    Not cool…

  • J
    March 31, 2011 at 11:27 am
    Reply

    Great post! I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I look in the mirror, and think: this is *not* my hair. :( I think I’m still known as the girl with long, brown hair, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting it cut. Having it so long just draws more unwanted attention to it now that it’s getting so thin. Maybe something a lot shorter with layers would be better?? Not sure…. Anyway, I love your blog!

  • Bella
    January 3, 2012 at 2:15 am
    Reply

    I love your blog! It makes me laugh, and smile and no longer feel alone. There are other women going through this and I think we need to all help each other along. I started taking Vit D3 this week. I noticed less hair shed these past few days. I was counting over 50 hairs in one shower not counting what came out after. I am hoping this is going to help!! I am losing my mind and my hair. This is not where I saw my life…But like you here I am. Please keep up your blog. I love it! Again thank you <3

  • Liz
    December 25, 2012 at 12:09 am
    Reply

    I just recently started having my hair fall out in clumps due to a medication that I have to take for life. But I’ve had thinning hair for many years, mostly due to my crazy mother entering me in baby beauty pageants when I was little. She started perming and dying my hair when I was just five years old (I’m 44 now), and she herself has SERIOUS hair identity issues. When I was growing up, I watched her get up every morning at 5am and spend literally 3 hours on her hair to be ready to leave for work at 8. When it didn’t come out right, she would burst into tears and call out sick. (Did I mention she’s bi-polar and has very low self-esteem?)

    Watching this rubbed off on me as a kid and I got the message loud and clear that hair meant everything. I would envy the girls at school who seemed to magically make perfect “Farrah wings”. Once I got home and cut my hair to try to mimic this style, and when Mom got home and saw my hair all chopped up, she went into panic mode and cried the entire night – “What’s everyone going to think now???” She made me miss school the next day so I could go to a hairdresser to have it fixed. I was a sensitive kid to begin with so all these messages left me extremely fragile to the point where I avoided friends and dating – all because of these imaginary ideas about something as stupid as HAIR!

    Today, I wear a great, VERY natural-looking wig that I can recommend to you. It’s called ‘Haute’ by Jon Renau. This style is very Jennifer Aniston-y. What I love about it is it looks so natural, when I tell people it’s a wig their jaws drop to the floor! What makes it natural is it has a “smart-lace” top, meaning the fibers are growing out of this thin strip of lace at the top, so it creates a perfectly natural hairline. There’s no cutting or taping involved, it just is part of the wig.

    Now, what I don’t like about it is that it is a synthetic wig. (There is a human-hair version called ‘Nicole’ but it’s super-expensive!). Synthetic wigs, especially a shoulder-length one like this one tends to fray at the bottom because it is constantly in contact with your clothing. Luckily, this wig is relatively cheap ($150-$180) so I can easily replace it every six months, and in between replacements, give it weekly washes and because it’s heat-defiant I can use a curling iron to get rid of the frays. I thought about getting the human-hair ‘Nicole’ but I remember once owning a human-hair wig and it was just as much maintenance as the hair on my own head was, not to mention constant shedding of the hairs, so in a lot of ways the synthetic wigs are much easier to deal with. You never have a bad hair day!

    I started wearing this wig because I was waiting for the clumps of hair to stop falling out. They eventually did, but my hair is still very thin. After thinking about it, I decided, what the hell, I’m going to keep wearing a wig every day. Many reasons – first, I don’t want to be my mother. She is 71 now and still freaking out over her hair and still doing the three-hour beauty regimen in the morning. Screw that – I’d rather sleep in. I like the confidence I get from not having to worry about getting caught in the rain on the way to an interview or something important and looking like – as Mom would say – “a drowned rat”. I like being able to throw my wig on in the morning and get out of the house ten minutes after waking up. Second, I save a TON of money on monthly maintenance haircuts and products. I wash my hair now maybe every 3 or 4 days instead of every day, so I save money on shampoo and conditioner and everything else.

    For anyone considering wigs, I would definitely recommend the Jon Renau line – affordable and very realistic-looking. And if buying one, do what I do – but some small and sturdy toupe clips and sew three of them into the wig – 1 on each side near the temple, and the third on top near the hairline – and that will hold your wig in place all day.

    All that being said, I still have my issues. Like I said, hair has made me avoid dating for a looooooong time. There is a guy I like now and he compliments me on my hair all the time, which I always find funny. But there’s still that little girl with the fragile ego inside me that wonders how I will tell a man I’m wearing a wig without him wanting to run off and assuming that I am bald underneath. Oh well . . .

    Good luck!

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