Life is interesting. The way we plan things, and the way things turn out are never quite the same. It goes along with the age old saying that also happens to be the motto of my life: “Der mentsh tracht un G-tt lacht.” Man plans, and G-d laughs.
I contemplated this blog post deeply. To the level that even as I’m posting it, I have some hesitation. With a deep breath and a heavy dose of confidence, I am putting this out to the world;
Yes, I am wearing a wig. No, I did not get married.
There, I said it. The band-aid was ripped off, right?
… Not exactly.
Let me backtrack a little and explain why exactly this is a situation worthy of a blog post filled with nervous energy. In the orthodox Jewish world, once a woman is married, she covers her hair. It becomes something sacred that it shared between her and her husband. There are many ways in which women have chosen to take this mitzvah upon themselves, one of them is via wigs, also known as sheitels (shay-tells). Within my community of Chabad, a wig is the preferred method of coverage.
I had always imagined the day after I got married. I pictured walking into my sheva brachos (parties for 7 days following the wedding) wearing my sheitel and feeling like a queen. Wearing it, for me, was not only something I’d wanted to do as a mitzvah, but because in my heart it held the same importance and merit as a wedding ring did. Wearing a sheitel meant that you’d found someone you loved, and who loved you, and you’d committed your lives together. Someone chose you, and the whole world knows!
Deciding to take this step of investing in wigs was not one that I took lightly. It made my heart ache in the worst way, but it also made me excited. No, I’m not wearing it because someone chose me and I’m finally a wife. I’m wearing it because it makes my life easier and it makes me feel happy. I no longer have to try and deal with my hair that’s falling out in clumps and changing textures daily. I just wash it and throw it in a bun, once dry I put on my wig and go. Yeah, a wig comes with it’s own set of care, but on the day to day it’s easy to wear. I feel put together externally, even if I’m crumbing internally.
Trying to navigate the world of wigs, and finding out what they cost, was like a splash of cold water to my face. I’d thought the budget I’d given myself would be generous enough for at least two wigs… who was I kidding. I could hardly buy one with the money I’d allotted for myself, so I decided to reach out to people and crowd source. A unanimous response I got was to go and check out Doppelganger wigs, and I am so happy I did. I sent a message their way, and within the hour we were going back and forth about sizing and the right style and price point for me. I live out in middle America, we don’t have wigs like they do in New York, so the fact that I could have wigs shipped to me and have a turn around period to send it back if it didn’t work was great for me. I bought myself two, stayed under budget, and couldn’t have been more delighted! While one of them has been sent back, I have no doubt that I’ll keep my eyes open for another one and will gladly work with Doppelganger again. Rae and her team managed to help keep me and my overly anxious self calm as we worked through this difficult process, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
In full disclosure, I also bought one off of Amazon and I LOVE IT! It’s much lighter in color and a bit less natural looking, but it’s fun to have and change up my look. You see, the desire to look married, or make people think I’m married was not the goal. I have no motive to make people think something is what it isn’t, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m wearing a wig. Why shouldn’t I make my life easier and make myself feel better. Life’s short, we have to live it well.
Now, you may notice I’m saying wig and not sheitel— I wanted to have something to differentiate. G-d willing, one day soon, I’ll get married and be obligated to cover my hair; at that point I will be wearing a sheitel, but at this point I’m wearing a wig because it makes my life, as someone who is ill, so much easier.
I am taking each day in stride, and some days I may feel the energy to do my own hair and I will, but the allowance to not need to do that is really amazing. This is not how I’d planed the trajectory of my life, but then again, I’m not in charge. I thought one way, and G-d sent me another, and while it’s not easy, I am making the best of it that I can.
The message within this post is universal though– don’t assume or judge someone else by what you see on the outside, because you really never know. Who are we to judge, unless we’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, we have know idea what they’re facing or have faced.
This all being said, I am now taking wig advice, because I have no idea as to what I’m actually doing, and I don’t want to mess it up. I’m open to any and all guidance!