June 21st, 2011
As I unpacked my suitcase upon arriving in sunny California, I realized that I had forgotten my security blanket. No, not the tattered blankie of my toddler years decades ago, but my wig. I was so surprised at myself because though I rarely wear a wig, I have never traveled without it. The idea that I would get through this trip without it got me thinking and questioning just why I feel the need to carry a head covering that I very likely will not wear. I guess I was thoughtlessly following the motto “Don’t leave home without it.”
Flashback to a trip I took shortly after 9/11. My suitcase was pulled aside for a manual inspection. How embarrassing it was to watch the TSA employee handle my wig. It was incredibly hard to watch a stranger handling my security blanket, something so personal to me. My privacy and my secret were on display for the strangers in line with me, and while many of them would have their bags searched as well, I felt as if none of them would have such personal secrets revealed in their luggage. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to the fact that my cover will more than likely be blown by the TSA. I’ve also gotten over the confused looks I get from TSA personnel when they examine the driver’s license photo of me donning a wig. Since I always travel wearing my trusty beaubeau head scarves, TSA personnel typically feel the need to study my face longer than the average passenger-in-line. Along the way, I’ve received the insensitive or intrusive comments like, “You look better with hair,” or “How is your treatment going?”
So after 11 years of traveling as an Alopecian, have I crossed a line of self-acceptance? Have I finally found the freedom to just be me? Well, it wasn’t a conscious decision, I know that, but then hair loss anxiety is most sub-conscious. I could have never forgotten my wig in the past and it required no conscious decision-making. It seems that at least my sub-conscious is free at last, and it sure feels good.
Any embarrassing emotional security items in your luggage? Ever had your cover blown by TSA? Does your wig go everywhere with you?
Susan Beausang, 4Women.com