Loss of hair neednít result in a loss of adventure

As a kid and as a teenager I tried not to let wearing a wig stop me from doing most that my peers did. In fact, I used to swim competitively which presented challenges but surprisingly I didn’t let it worry me very much.

I would wear my wig into the change room, take my towel and my cap into the toilet putting on my cap while wrapping the towel around my wig and then placing it in my bag. Some of my swimming mates often remarked on how well I tucked all of my hair so neatly into my cap. When others were more curious I would reveal that I had no hair and when it got around that I had no hair, many presumed I had cancer. I was pleased that the challenge of wearing a swimming cap with no hair didn’t prevent me from swimming. I did however stop diving in races at some point after an unfortunate incident when my cap fell off after a dive ended badly. It took a long time to restore my confidence in diving and many exemptions were given to me for my special circumstances from my club and competition venues. When my confidence resumed, I wore two caps!

I played netball and basketball often with trepidation as to the potential result of rough play but what I always really wanted to do was gymnastics. I watched all the other kids go on the parallel bars, do somersaults and hang upside down on the monkey bars and so badly wanted to join them.

Wearing a wig also made me very wary of being too adventurous at carnivals and shows, always weighing up the level of risk of my wig falling off or working out how to mitigate that risk if I dared to go on a ride. 

When I travelled to Thailand a few years ago my family and I went out in a boat to explore the islands. Wearing unsecure wigs as I did then, I was too nervous to sit on the outside of the boat of course, but the worst thing was that I was not going to snorkel with the rest of the family. There was no way my wig would stay on and there was also no way I was going to wear a cap and stick out like a sore thumb while everyone else swam without one. I missed out on a beautiful experience while telling my family I just didn’t feel like it.

I am pleased to say however that recently my husband and I holidayed in far north Queensland. I made the decision in advance that nothing was going to stop me snorkelling this time, I was not going to miss out on experiencing the Great Barrier Reef up close. I could have worn an old secure wig but I didn’t want to have to worry about putting diving goggles on over the wig or what would happen when taking them off – I also didn’t want hair over my face and in general didn’t want to have to think about my wig while being overwhelmed by the reality of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

After I finished sunning myself at the front of the boat, at the back, wherever I wanted – because of my secure wig, just as I did 30 years ago, I went to the toilet on the boat and wrapped my wig in a towel as I put my new swimming cap on. It helped that everyone was wearing lycra suits with hoods to protect them from stingers however I had already created a mindset of not giving a shit what I looked like and what others would think. Because of that pre-planned mindset, I experienced an incredible sense of freedom as I floated in the wondrous waters observing many of the most awesome attributes of our significant natural environment. It was an experience unlike any other in my life.

Perhaps the success of this little adventure will lead to much less focus on not having hair, my wig and what I look like and much more focus on an adventurous future!!?? 

I hope so.

Tammy x