I didn’t expect my defining moment to come in the produce department.
This stranger who had followed me since the dairy aisle was going to force my hand. Even though I had never seen her before, this woman who tracked me down from the yogurt to the cucumbers wanted to know who was responsible, and it appeared she wouldn’t give up without an answer.
I wasn’t really surprised. More and more I had been questioned about it, and my attempts at avoiding an honest answer were wearing me down. This was my chance to stop the madness. This was the time to come clean. In answering her question about who had cut my hair, it was time to admit I was wearing a wig.
Why had I waited so long to confess? It’s hard to say. Maybe I was too proud to admit I can’t grow hair that looks this good. If only I had learned from my own wig discovery experience. I could have saved myself weeks of exhausting half-truths if I had just handled the situation like I had seen it handled when I was on the other side of it. Because I, too, had stalked a woman wearing a wig.
She handled the situation much better than I had. When I accosted this complete stranger at a brunch, asking if I could take a picture of her hair, she had smiled and immediately owned up to the fact that the hair I had envied wasn’t her own. Well, at least not hair she had grown.
If you’ve never worn a wig you can’t imagine how liberating it is. No more wrestling blow dryers and flat irons. No more sweating off half my makeup while styling my hair. No more stepping out the door with a great hairstyle that falls flat in humidity. But instead of enjoying the freedom that comes with all that, I was ashamed because I had accepted compliments for something I wasn’t doing.
I felt guilty taking credit for what someone else had done.
But I wanted people to think I had done it. I wanted them to believe I had grown this hair. Was it wrong for me to take credit for that? And to make matters worse, I felt like I didn’t deserve to be able to wear a wig because I have hair. No medical reasons cause me to need a wig, like some of my friends whose hair has succumbed to the effects of chemotherapy. Or, a few friends whose hair has fallen out due to extreme stress the likes of which I hope I never know, like losing a child. People like that deserve to wear wigs, and deserve every single compliment they might ever get.
Was all this emotional distress worth the benefits of wearing a wig? I was beginning to doubt it was, but I kept remembering what my husband said about it. He has told me repeatedly from the first day I put on a wig that he thought I should wear them if I wanted to, and he thought I shouldn’t hesitate to admit to wearing a wig. People need to know I’m okay with wearing a wig.
There was something about that statement I just couldn’t shake.
And then it dawned on me. Right there in the produce department, cucumber in hand, I realized it wasn’t about the wig. It was the underlying message in my confession. It was my willingness to admit that I didn’t have it all together. A part of me that I wanted people to believe was perfect was really nothing more than a mess I had covered with something that looked perfect. I could have caused someone the same angst over hair envy that I had suffered over other envies. Job envy. Parenting envy. Clean house envy. All those times I have envied people for one reason or another when I believed they had it all together.
Sometimes people need to know we don’t have it all together.
Even when I don’t wear something on my head that resembles good hair, I can still bring someone grief when I cover up the truth and make it look like I have it all together in an area that is really just a hot mess. A job that’s unraveling. A child that’s rebelling. It’s okay to admit that I don’t have it all together. It’s good to come clean and let someone know that the truth is, I have bad hair.
I’m still learning to embrace the fact that it’s okay to wear hair that isn’t mine. I don’t have to prove to myself or to anyone else that I deserve the right to wear it. I’m still learning how to answer questions truthfully and gracefully about this beautiful thing I’m wearing. I’m still learning that it’s okay to have bad hair, and not to be ashamed to admit it. As I learn these things I’m able to enjoy the benefits of the freedom I have now. And I’m really beginning to enjoy sharing how something this beautiful is available to anyone who wants it.
It’s okay. You don’t have to have it all together. Not physically. Not emotionally. Not spiritually. When we embrace that, we can live in real freedom. Jesus covers our flaws once and for all. It’s good to come clean.
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. Isaiah 64:6 NLT
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 NLT
There’s nothing quite like this freedom. This fullness.
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. John 8:36, NLT
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10, NIV