So I’ve been having this recurring dream, and it’s been very consistent for the last month or so. In the dream, I’m always shopping for — you guessed it — a wig. But there’s always some obstacle that keeps me from being able to purchase one. The salespeople are unhelpful, none of the wigs fit my head, or they just don’t look right on me. No matter the situation, I always wake up wig-less and shocked at my short hair.
It seems my brain is so used to me having long hair, it’s willing to create that length by any means necessary. Naturally in my waking life, I’ve started asking the controversial question: To wig, or not to wig?
Let’s face it, if you’re black (can’t speak for other races, but if this happens to you, let me know), wigs are EVERYWHERE. Beauty supply stores are chock full of ’em. And depending on what neighborhood you’re in (think parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx), beauty supply stores aimed at black hair needs are pretty much everywhere. I may be a Queens girl, but I’m in these two boroughs all the time, because Ramon lives in one, and I go to school in the other. And if you’re in my position, with very short hair that doesn’t have the myriad styling options that long hair does, it’s very tempting to recreate the length I miss with fake hair.
But therein lies the issue. It’s FAKE hair. And everyone knows it. I’ve been very public about my natural hair journey and my big chop, a decision that I do not regret and would do again in a heartbeat. But it makes it difficult to plop a lace front weave on and pass it off as my hair. It may not even look 100% real for one thing, but even if it did, it’s common knowledge that my hair is short and we all would know it didn’t magically grow 10 inches overnight. So if I wore a wig, I’d have to be okay with everyone knowing it’s a wig and being aware that I’m rocking fake hair. And while that works for lots of people, including some old friends of mine, I don’t know that it would work for me.
I wanted a wig because I deeply miss the versatility of long hair. I miss twirling strands of hair around my finger during class, I miss flipping it over my shoulder when I get warm or want it out of my face, I miss running my hands through it. All of this was a normal part of my life for 22 years, and now it isn’t. And I think I need to find a way to accept that and keep working with what I’ve got rather than wearing something to hide what I’ve done.
My hair may not be growing as fast as I’d like, but it IS growing, and I learn things everyday about how to properly care for it and get it to look the way I want it to look. Hiding it under a wig, weave, or extensions keeps me from learning how to rock my TWA at every stage, from buzz cut short to twist-out length. So in the end, no matter how tempting it is at times, I think I’m going to leave the wigs alone for now and stick with what I’ve got. Wasn’t this whole journey about loving myself as I am, anyway?
What’s your opinion on wigs/weaves/extensions/etc.? Does it impede the natural hair process, or help it?