Here I am almost two months into full time and I've already burned through three wigs. I'm on my fourth. And not only do I have a new one coming to me off the internet soon, I'm also planning on going wig shopping after work. I'm going out tomorrow and have a dinner party on Saturday and I want to look my best. I really need a new wig because my currently my wig is a rat's nest of frayed tangled terribleness.
I don't why I can't manage to keep a wig looking nice for longer than about two weeks. I switched from curly to straight because straight hair is easier to maintain. I've been religiously following the instructions that came with the wig. I've tried watching YouTube videos, reading tutorials, tips and tricks, internet guides. I've tried at least three different bottled remedies and one homemade one that a YouTuber recommended.
No matter what I try my wigs start out beautiful, they make me look amazing and then slowly they tangle until it looks like I'm wearing a nasty, knotted, frizzy hair helmet. Washing the wigs per the instructions will buy me another week or so, but after that the wig is just gone and I look terrible and horribly unpassable. Yes, I really do think that a good, fresh wig is key to passing.
In my darkest moments, I actually regret starting full time before my hair had grown out sufficiently to avoid wigs. I worry that I jumped the gun and have made things too difficult for myself. Honestly, when it comes to transition, my biggest source of stress (other than dealing with the bureaucracy on my gigantic name change check list) is wigs.
Not only do I feel ugly when my wigs have gotten ratty, my self-esteem spirals down and down and down. I find myself avoiding going out sometimes because I don't want to "waste" a good wig day. I go wigless on weekends, in androgynous-at-best mode, because I don't want to "waste" my wigs on simple errands like the grocery store or something. I have to save them for work. It's tough.
But the craziest thing is that there have literally been days where I went out in a horrible, frizzy, knotted to hell wig and not only got compliments on my hair but also had people ask what type of shampoo and conditioner I used. So I don't know. I really don't. Some might say "oh, you think you look ugly all the time? Welcome to woman-hood." I guess in a sense that's true. But it also really bothers me that there's something so beyond my control. Even if other people don't notice, I do and right now my self-esteem, my mood seems firmly fastened to how passable that is, to how I look. Maybe that's normal for trans women, maybe that's normal for all women.
A part of me has also started to worry that in four months I won't be able to throw away the wigs forever. Either my natural hair still won't have grown out long enough to look decent or worse, it will somehow be insufficient to hide my bad hairline, even with bangs. Then again, I'm a naturally worrisome person. My own head hair can already kind of work, it just needs to be longer.
And in the mean time, yeah, I'm on wigs. Two a month. That's like $120-$150 on average. That's not so far out of range of what some women spend on monthly hair care. And that will only be for the rest of January, then all of February and March and April. Those are the cold, awful months anyway. By the time it's warm in May my hair should be about chin length and I can work with that. I'll happily work with that.
I remember back in the day, talking to a transgender woman who was a friend of mine on Myspace. She told me that unless you're literally suicidal, don't transition. She warned that transition was so expensive and draining and awful that it wasn't worth it unless it was the only way you could stay alive. I don't quite know if I agree with her advice.
Transition has been hard. It really has. You have to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops, updates tons of paperwork, build up the courage to come out to people. It can be draining. It can be stressful. It can make you nervous and frightened and worried. But, in the end, I think. The things that are hard and the things that are worth doing. I honestly look at my transition as a bonafide, legitimate accomplishment. The kind you write about in your college essay. You know, about the time you overcame an obstacle and achieved your goals.
I'm proud of what I've done. Yeah it's been hard. Yeah, it's still gonna be hard. But so is everything in life. It's gonna be frustrating and annoying and tough and soul-breaking but so is life. And this is my life and as frustrating as it is right now, I believe, I honestly believe, that it will only get better.
Wigs and all.
Also, here are some pictures.