My Wig Journey Begins - Part One by, Shelly Fortin
Hi, Everyone. Welcome to my very first-ever blog post. In case we haven’t met before, my name is Shelly and my wig journey began in 2018, when I learned I would be losing all my hair during the chemotherapy I would undergo as part of my treatment after surgery for breast cancer.
My hairdresser at the time surprised me by saying she would take me to the store where she purchased many of her own wigs. I was floored because I didn’t realize she wore wigs. She told me she had over 60 wigs and wore one every day. We arranged a day and time to go before my surgery, and my wig journey was underway!
The store allowed a patron to try on up to three wigs. Because I had always wanted red hair, as one of my selections I chose a very thick Vanessa wig with luscious auburn waves at the top and darker auburn/brown waves at the bottom. The overall length was similar to my existing hair at that time, which was not layered.
(Trying on wigs at the wig store. Vanessa came home with me.)
That same day, I also picked up my first clearance-rack sale wig – a very dark brown curly wig – for only $11.99. Clearance wigs were not available for try-on, but I took a chance on it and I am so glad I did. That wig put a smile on my face every time I popped it on.
(My clearance rack curly-do by Modu.)
After the surgery, and right before the start of chemo, my hairdresser cut my bio hair very short so it wouldn’t be as traumatic when it started falling out. I had stopped coloring it several months earlier when I learned I would be losing it after chemo.
(As cut, and punked up
I wore the wigs I had purchased whenever I went out in public except when I went for the chemotherapy treatments. The auburn wig was my wig of choice for church and dating, and the curly-do was for shopping and festivals and whenever I needed a lift of spirits. I got so many compliments on those wigs, with many folks saying they wished they had hair like mine. Talk about making a girl feel good when she is going through a bad time!
(Side note: if you haven’t been through it, chemo is not fun. I was sicker longer each time I went. I had four treatments three weeks apart. I was so glad December 2018 was the last one because I really didn’t think I could survive another one.)
At the end of 2018, right after my last chemo treatment my hairdresser invited me to her home for a New Year’s Eve Party. I was still very sick from that treatment when I received her invitation, so I told her I wasn’t sure I’d be well enough to come. She encouraged me to see how I felt, even at the last minute, and come if I could. The one caveat: “Dress to Impress, and prepare a karaoke song to sing”.
Karaoke. Oh. My. Word. I had never done such a thing. I was extremely shy growing up, and even in school would try my best not to get called upon. I didn’t want people looking at me. (This is a whole other story for another time.) Anyway, she assured me that everyone there would be singing in turn because her husband had all the karaoke equipment, and it was “required” for party guests to sing. Gulp! Talk about a “no-pressure” invitation.
Fast forward to the big night. I dressed in a floor-length, sparkly navy-blue gown with a matching jacket, and put on my curly-do wig to give me a touch of bravery. My hairdresser met each person at the door and took our pictures in front of her house.
(Posing for the runway - New Year’s Eve Dec 31, 2018.)
The party was wonderful and I felt very welcomed, and no one knew I was wearing a wig.
While I was waiting my turn to sing, I was getting more and more nervous. These people all sounded so good, so polished, so professional. My stomach started doing flips and my throat got dry, and I was wondering how I could escape, but then her husband called my name and there I was, standing in the front of the room, looking at a karaoke screen for the first time, being handed the microphone. And then this very kind man was explaining to me how it all worked and telling me it was ok, that I had this, and to just relax, and then….the music started. I was off to a rocky start, but my voice got stronger as I went and by the time the song was over, I hadn’t passed out, and no one had yelled “get the hook”, and I was feeling less anxious about the whole thing. My turn came up again twice more that night, and each time I felt a little better getting up to sing.
About two months after the final chemotherapy treatment, I was completely bald.
(Jan 2019. Not quite bald - Took another month.)
In March 2019, I returned to the wig store and purchased a clearance wig - this time in a platinum blond color.
(My second clearance rack find.)
I also purchased my first Estetica wig, Jessica, in the color R30/28/26. Yes, it was official. I was addicted and my love affair with wigs was just beginning!
(Estetica Jessica in R30/28/26 can be worn casual or dressy. This color is my favorite Estetica color, and I have since purchased several more Estetica wigs in this color.)
Six months after my first attempt at karaoke, I had another opportunity to sing, and after that I was hooked. My Estetica Jessica became my wig of choice whenever I sang karaoke starting in June 2019. (The sad demise of that wig is a story for another day.) Now I sing karaoke at one or two venues each week and I love every minute of it.
My motto is “Wigs Are Jewelry for Your Head!” They make us feel beautiful. They give us courage. They bring a smile to our faces. As Tia would say “Life is short. Wear wigs.”
Shelly has a YouTube channel where she posts wig-related content. Check her out. https://youtube.com/@shelly410