08.16.12 Truth & Wisdom

Wigged Out: Embracing Our Imperfections

Wigged Out: Embracing Our Imperfections

BY Jennifer Griffin

Humor can be a life long prescription for getting through tough times, awkward moments and creating community gatherings. It’s the thing that bonds us to others and gives us permission to enjoy.

In 2007, I experienced an extremely life altering illness that changed everything including how I defined humor. I developed an abscess on one of my ovaries and this infection spread into my blood stream causing severe blood poisoning. Within a matter of hours, I came down with the very unpredictable, Sepsis (aka multi-organ failure). After 3 ½ months in the hospital, I came home a quad amputee from losing so much blood and oxygen to my extremities (common in Sepsis). While my story isn’t exactly funny, my new life has presented many moments in which I have found the humor and the path to embracing my imperfections.

Being in the hospital for that long made me a bit less concerned with being couth and needing privacy. They were both lost at the front door. That being said, I wasn’t looking that great when my pink slip was turned in to the hospital. If the girls from Sex & The City would have come by to visit, they could have written a script on my “maintenance” issues! I had lost so much hair in areas and needed sculpting in others. So, as a treat, my mom and aunt (the women in my life who had a full head of hair) decided to surprise me to a day of shopping for a wig and salon services!

Looking for a wig gave me a new and refreshed feeling that I had been craving. I went from mirror to mirror embracing a new persona. Any look I wanted I could have had and I loved that. The idea that I could choose was liberating. I just didn’t realize the choice could lead to a moment for the history books and comedians of the family.

I walked out with my new look and into the salon and a very unexpected adventure. The only service I wanted was to have my eyebrows waxed. As the employee and I got started, I sat in a nice cushy chair, relaxed, and rested my head back. This simple act became a pivotal moment in my day of pampering.

As I sat my head back, I noticed that my mom’s face had changed from a gentle smile to an “OMG!!” look. What happened? I felt the top of my head and realized at that moment, my head was in fact naked. AWKWARD! Somewhere between sitting down and leaning back the wig had gone MIA.

At the same time, this provided an instant sense of community by sharing in this moment together. I figured we had two options in order to resolve the embarrassment: (1) Keep my head back until my Aunt or Mom could re-attach the wig and act like it never happened; or; (2) Laugh, Laugh, Laugh and embrace it. I think option 2 was chosen before we even had time to process anything. It was so unexpected and caught everyone off guard that laughing was the only reaction we had. We still talk about it and I’m sure I terrified the lady who was helping me.

As awkward as this was, I was still brave enough (or still affected from all the meds) to wear it many more times during my hair re-growth process. We were all adapting to the trauma and took the moment to connect and find growth in what was in front of us.

There are so many moments that come into our life on purpose. They are inserted to show us how to embrace the moment and embrace our imperfections. This lesson is one that I relied on early in my recovery and use over and over today. The imperfections of my new and improved life have allowed me to stop wigging out, find the humor, and develop my own community. Embrace you!

Jennifer Griffin lives in Dallas and is the Founder of The PLAY Foundation, a guest columnist at The Dallas Morning News, Public Speaker and life enthusiast who would love to battle it out with George Clooney on practical jokes. She loves finding new adventures in the kitchen and has several videos to help others with challenges on her YouTube channel. Oh and, she has a new spin on life since losing her hands and part of her legs to sepsis in 2007. Watch out, she will spark in your soul. You can follow her on Twitter @jgchallenge.


  • Mom

    I remember this as if it happened last week! What a day that was and how exciting that you can continue to to find a way to turn the darkest times into memories that make us all smile!

  • This is a great story. I would love to interview you!

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