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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tips for maintaining a great wig

Hello ladies!  One of the big things for my spouse and I was the cost of wigs.  We wanted her to be able to have a great wig that looked very realistic.  This was especially important when she decided to go "full-time."  For my spouse, the wig is probably going to be a necessity forever as she began transition late in life (45 years old) and the male-pattern baldness in all reality will most likely always be a problem.

We are in the same situation as many of you are, I'm sure.  We don't have a ton of money to spend on these type of supplies.  They are a necessity for sure, but we can't afford to keep buying new wigs when the old ones get frizzy and you keep trimming until they are basically worthless.  Who are we kidding, most of us are not hairdressers, right?  

So, we found a great wig to start with before she decided to go full time.  It was economical, but didn't have a lace-front.  After several months, just before she went full-time, we saved enough to get a great lace-front wig.  It cost us about $ 200.00 (US)  It's synthetic, but looks fabulous.  It's very hard to tell that it isn't her natural hair.  After a month, however, it started having the "frayed" look that the previous wigs had.  This was very discouraging to both of us because we just couldn't afford to keep getting new wigs, and trimming it just messes up the whole look.  I mean, it doesn't grow back, right?  

We were told to never ever apply heat to the wig because it would forever damage it.  I did, however, find a way to recondition the wig at home by being VERY, VERY careful.  I found a website from a woman who has a condition who requires wearing a wig all the time and has the same monetary issue.  She described a way to recondition the wig that actually works to bring it back to the state it was in when we bought it.  Here is her description: 

I will describe the technique, but beware that anything you try at home you do at your own risk.  I was petrified to try it, so I tried on one of the older wigs first before I tried it on a good one.  It's surprisingly easy, but there are a few key things you need:  A spray bottle with water (and I add a touch of wig conditioner to the water), A few hair clips, A bristle brush (which you should only use on wigs in this one specific application), a flat iron with a variable temperature.  **** The variable temperature is the key because you want very low heat.  Mine varies between 80 degrees F to about 200 degrees F (I don't know the conversion to Celsius - you're on your own there)  I turn it down to almost the lowest setting to do this, just to be on the safer side.  To prop the wig up, I use a tripod for a camera covered with a hand towel.  I've tried other things, but this seems to give me the best angles to work with. 

You take small sections of the hair and brush it flat, spray it with the water/conditioner mix, then quickly run the flat iron down the section of hair.  After that, run the bristle brush over the section to pull it straight.  *** Again, test this on an old wig first to get the feel for the right temperature and dampness ***  I use hair clips to section off the areas I have already done vs. the areas I still need to do.  

This re-straightens the wig from the little curly ends that get tangled and frizzy and it really looks like brand new.  I have pictures of what I do if anyone needs it, but I'm not going to post it right now.  (I do this blog on my iPad and it doesn't like inserting photos)  If anyone needs further advice or wants me to post pics, I sure will.

I hope that helps some of you out there, that was an issue we dealt with that I didn't hear people talk much about, so I thought I'd share, since I just got done re-conditioning her wig again.  Yes, she does know how to do it herself, but I actually enjoy doing it for her.  It takes me about an hour to get the whole thing done.  It only needs to be done about once every 2 weeks with everyday use.

One of the biggest things to keep the wig from fraying in the first place is to learn how to brush it properly.  Start from the bottom and work your way up.  If you start to feel resistance, stay in the lower area until your brush moves freely through the hair, then work your way up.  If you start at the top and just rip your way down, you end up slightly curling the ends of the wig, which causes the fraying and frizziness in the first place.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

What is my purpose in the trans* community?

I've been thinking a lot about what my purpose in life is.  What purpose do I, in particular, serve to this world?  Then that gets me thinking about what my purpose might be in the trans* community.

I am not a mother, I'm not a teacher in a scholastic sense.  I've never graduated with a degree from a college. (I have attended many times but simply ran out of money to finish.)  My job entails helping people, but in a kind of superficial sense.  Nothing extraordinary or profound.  So...what do I give to the world and should I be doing more?

My spouse and I have talked about this on a number of occasions.  Could part of my/our purpose be the relationship we have with transgender issues?  Could we possibly be advocates or "spokeswomen" about coping with transition from both perspectives?  We are both very empathetic people and also have strong convictions about certain issues.  We both believe in an individual's rights to be who they are, no matter what others think of them, as long as you aren't hurting anyone else.  We both realize that there are people who will never agree with our points of view, but there might be some people who could be enlightened by our experiences if they are open-minded.

I find myself commenting on blogs from trans people (mainly trans women) just trying to help them see that there are people out there who will accept them for who they are.  It breaks my heart to see despair that they will never find someone who could accept them.  We are out there.  I want to let them know that.  I also want to offier their partners someone to talk to and the chance to be a part of a wonderful Facebook group I'm a part of which is private and just for us partners/spouses who are supportive of the transition.  Connecting with the other wives/partners of transitioning people has helped me tremendously in my understanding of my own feelings.  We are respectful of the times we get frustrated and just need to "vent" but also offer helpful advice on different ways to approach communication or simply accept the process.

Have I actually helped anyone?  I don't know, but I feel like I should try.  I find myself staying up far too late, just trying to find someone I can help who is suffering through something we have experienced to let them know they aren't alone.  Why do I obsess about that?  Do my comments make a difference?  You never know.  Sometimes one comment can lift you up or inspire you to keep going.  Maybe it's my own ego wanting to be a part of the community in any way I can or maybe it is a way to try and understand my spouse better.

Where does it go from here?  Do I pursue being an advocate for supporting transgender issues as a non-trans* person?  Would that do any good?  Does anyone really care about my perspective?

I started this blog mainly as therapy for myself.  It has done me a lot of good actually, so I don't regret anything I've written.  It's helped me discover many things about myself and helped me gain confidence in my relationship as well as making me really start looking at who I am deep down.  I make a conscious effort to try and find the silver lining in my situation, especially with my writing.  Does that actually translate to anyone else?