It's been a long time. A real long time. Like super long time. Since coming back we settled in a new area and we put our kids in school and I've battled depression and anxiety. My brain sort of cracked from all the changes in my life. But, I got my real estate license and I'm in a writing class and I'm doing better. Our business is growing and the children are happy. I desire to write again. So, here I am.
There is a ball of guilt sitting in my stomach day and night since leaving Israel. Our original plans were to leave Israel August 6th. However, July 15th, a little past midnight we were on a plane headed back to the States.
The week before we left, we were in Tel Aviv when the rockets started to rain down on Israel. (You can read more about that experience here CLICK ME.) I fell apart. Every time a siren went off my hands shook as I stood in the stairwell waiting to hear the booms that filled the air around us. I mentally could not handle the possibility that rockets could be overhead any time of the day or night. I didn't want to shower. I didn't want to go to sleep. When there were only seconds to get my family into the stairwell, I did not want to have shampoo in my eyes. Every night I would put my children to sleep and send a little prayer that their sleep would be uninterrupted. Thankfully the sirens did not go off between midnight and 7am. Two mornings my children were forced into the stairwell, naked and rubbing sleep from their eyes. For hours after I walked in a daze unable to shake the fear flooding my system. I looked around me in awe at the Israelis going about their lives unfazed.
Over breakfast either Wednesday or Thursday morning my husband asked me if I wanted to go home. The words bubbled out of my mouth and before I could stop myself I yelled, "yes" and he was on the phone with Delta in minutes. We booked our flight for three weeks earlier than our original plan. Friday we were back in Jerusalem hosting my family for Shabbat. Sunday and Monday we spent the time packing and saying goodbye to dear friends. Tuesday we were on a plane flying back to the States.
On our flight home I watched my children sleep, felt the rocking motion of the plane and calmed myself whenever we hit turbulence. I tried not to think about the nagging feeling we left Israel when she needed us most. In the past week as we have worked very hard to rebuild our lives in the States, I have been unable to focus. My heart is with Israel. Every life, every soldier, every son that dies in Gaza breaks my heart. I feel like a sell out. Israel is the Jewish land. It's the only land a Jew can live a Jewish life without fearing prosecution. Currently the French Jews are immigrating to Israel in the thousands to escape Muslim persecution and riots happening in their neighborhoods. When France became unsafe, Israel is all they had left. What happens if the whole world becomes unsafe to be a Jew? What happens if history repeats itself? All we have left is Israel. Israel is the Jewish homeland. All religions and races and cultures are welcome but it is the land that welcomes my people with open arms.
I have become obsessed with reading any news that pertains to Israel. In between appointments with schools and property managers I check my facebook to see how the war in Israel is progressing. I worry about our young soldiers who have to fight in Gaza, who are forced to kill children because they must protect themselves. I worry what that will do for their mental well being. I worry what will happen to Israel after this operation. I worry how they will find everlasting peace. I want peace for Israel.
I miss my friends. I made a few soul friends I will have in my heart forever. I will never forget the friends who helped me pack, who helped me keep it together emotionally as I said goodbye to Israel three weeks before I was ready to leave. The last few days walking in Jerusalem were bittersweet. The shuk, my constant friend, would be a distant dream living in my memory. The beautiful Jerusalem stone would have to wait until I flew back to Israel. I miss the smell of Jerusalem. I miss the magic, the energy that thickens Jerusalem's air. I miss the baked goods found at every corner. I miss the cats roaming the streets. I miss walking to the Kotel. I miss Mekimi clothing store. I miss living in a land where God is number one.
In exile finding God is a process of ripping the curtains. Every day I need to tear at the fog until I can touch God's hand again. God is here but the connection is softer, the wifi is weaker.
And so, I feel guilty. I feel weak. I feel like a coward. How could I leave Israel when she needed me most? When she is most in trouble?
Please, do not leave us. I beg you. We need you. The Jewish people, Israel, the world needs you. In three weeks you changed the world with your grace, your love and your faith.
Please, stay with us. Let your shining faces lead us to peace. Take on the mantle of leadership and change the world. Fix us, we are broken. We need the leadership of mothers, women who know the cost of bringing life into the world. Mothers who truly understand each life is a universe.
I looked to you for strength when your sons were abducted. I looked to you for faith as time went by without a word about them. I looked to you when I cried tears of grief as I mourned the loss of three beautiful souls from this world.
Please lead us. Be our voice. The world listened and will continue to listen to you.
You are our mothers.
You are the epitome of a Jewish woman's strength.
And if the mantle of leadership is too heavy a burden, never forget us. Pray for us.
Your voices will pierce through all the heavens.
A Mother's Grief
Three Jewish boys were murdered by Hamas terrorists 18 days ago.
I tossed and turned in bed all night yesterday upon hearing the news the bodies were found, their souls gone to another place. Right before Shabbat 18 days ago we learned three Israeli children were kidnapped. I spent all of Shabbat worried but hopeful we would know more by Saturday night. Shabbat ended and little was known. Then a week went by, then two and then after almost three weeks we learned the bodies were found in a hole covered by rocks.
During this time their mothers were a symbol of hope and courage. These beautiful women with shining souls stood in front of tv cameras in their traditional Orthodox clothes and represented faith in God to the world. They never lost hope. It pains me to see their grief now. When I heard last night that the boys were dead my mind immediately mourned for their mothers. The women who carried them, brought them into this world and now would bury them. I was in the middle of dinner with my husband and our cousin. The food on my plate, my glass of wine - barely touched. I could not celebrate while knowing these mothers suffered such a horrific fate. I left in the middle of the meal and walked up Jaffa street.
This is what I saw at the corner of Ben Yehuda and Jaffa:
I saw religious Jews and secular Jews in unity. They lit candles and sang songs and cried together in memory of the three boys. A man in the crowd said Kaddish and we all said "amen" with our hearts crying out.
I stood there not knowing the words to the songs that filled my heart with comfort. I watched strangers cry in the street and flags wave in the wind as we stood together mourning children most of us never met. I pray we can finally find the motivation to unite as a people. May there deaths remind us to stay together, to love one another and to pray for peace for all people.
A long time ago I held a grieving parent in my arms. The experience has never left me. It is the greatest cruelty to have a parent bury a child. I was in awe of the three mothers during this experience, watching their hopeful faces believing that with prayer of all the Jewish people their children would return home to them, healthy and alive. Seeing their faces today as they mourned broke my heart. I came home from seminary and fell asleep on the couch, unable to process the pain etched on their faces.
My heart remains heavy. Although I do not know the mothers and I do not know their sons, I mourn with them. We mothers of the world must sometimes bear the greatest pain. I pray for them to heal and to find peace and to make peace with their sorrow so they may continue to live and perhaps one day know joy again.
A month, maybe two months ago, we cut out sugar from Sadie's diet.
The decision started with a Shabbat morning filled with candy. First Sadie enjoyed a portion of Pez candy and then she enjoyed a candy bracelet given to her at synagogue. And then she enjoyed a four hour temper tantrum during a Shabbat lunch with guests in our home. Logan and I looked at each other desperately and decided to pull the plug on sugar.
We told Sadie she was allergic to sugar. She now knows not to eat any sugar of any kind. Yesterday at school she was given a bag of candy as a celebration for finishing a year of preschool. She didn't touch the candy. I went to the shuk and bought a bag of figs and a bag of lychees. Sadie happily enjoyed the fruit while we happily threw the junk in the trash.
Life without sugar in our house is much improved. We make our own fruit popsicles. We enjoy mounds of fruit as snacks. And we're a happier household. It's amazing to see the transformation in Sadie.
Five Weeks Down and Counting
Our trip is ending soon. I haven't posted a blog in a long time, not because I haven't written any, but because I have been feeling very lost in the world of Orthodox Judaism. I have been cautious and not posting several blogs in fear of offending anyone.
I started my journey here with an aversion to covering my hair. I slowly transitioned from wearing a hat to wrapping my hair with beautiful scarves every day. Around a month ago I felt a strong need to remove my hair covering and feel the wind in my hair. I wanted to look in the mirror and see my hair wrapped around my face. I didn't want to feel compelled to cover my hair. One evening when leaving the gym I felt mischievous and removed my hair covering. I felt alive. I felt free. I decided to continue covering my hair but was open to uncovering it when it felt necessary.
The past several weeks have seen an unraveling of my devotion to covering my hair. I have gone out with my friends and with my husband without a head covering or only a thin shiny headband adoring my hair. And I feel fine. I don't feel like my hair is drawing unnecessary sexual attention.
I am also tired of covering all of my body. Right now it's so hot in Jerusalem and I'm in layers and I smell like a goat. There is not enough deodorant in the world to mask the stink of a hot sweaty mess. I miss my leggings and mini-skirt combo with cotton t-shirt. I longingly look at women in sundresses with their shoulders and arms exposed.
My understanding is women are strongly encouraged to cover their elbows and their knees and their chests to keep men from having inappropriate sexual thoughts. I don't buy it. I look around and I see plenty of men looking at women in sexual ways - women who are fully covered and women who are not. Yesterday on the train I saw a man in black and white (which represents very Orthodox) staring at a 14 year old girl who was fully covered. His eyes roamed all over her body repeatedly. I almost yelled at him across the train to "guard his eyes," because he was so lewd and inappropriate. I have also seen plenty of men in black and white not look at women at all. I'm not calling religious men hypocrites, but I have to disagree that the key to preventing men from having sexual thoughts is forcing women to cover up their entire bodies. If this was true, then women in Arab countries who wore burqas would prevent themselves from being raped or sexually harassed SOURCE .
Men's inability to control their sexuality is their problem. I'm tired of blaming women. I'm tired of learning it's the woman's responsibility to prevent men from behaving inappropriately. A woman who is wearing provocative clothing does not deserve to be raped; a man who rapes a woman is a rapist, that's it. On the other hand, I am bothered by advertisements which primarily rely on the sexuality of women to sell goods. A woman is sexy in barely anything and a man is sexy in a suit. There's a double standard here. Either both should barely wear anything or both should be covered up. Interestingly in Orthodox Judaism both sexes are encouraged to cover up - skin that should not be seen is understood to be impure for both sexes. Our bodies, for both sexes, need to be private in public and saved for our spouses. I respect this concept; however, I have tried and failed to embrace it for my own life. I don't want to only wear skirts and long sleeve tops the rest of my life. I want to wear jeans, I want to tank tops and I want to wear whatever I want without having to apologize or feel stigmatized by my community.
So this has been going back and forth in my mind for the past month. I see the merit in wearing more clothes and I also see the merit in giving less weight of importance on the clothes women wear.
Last week I prayed at one of the holiest places a Jew, or anyone, can pray. I prayed underneath the Muslim Quarter at the closest spot a Jew can pray to the Holy of Holies which is currently housed in the Dome of the Rock. Jews are forbidden by the Muslims and the Orthodox Jewish leaders to enter the building. However, we can pray at the closest point by a small wall adjacent to where we believe God's presence dwells. The Western Wall is actually one of the four walls that are part of the Temple Mount. It has become a sacred spot of Judaism but the holiest part is the Holy of Holies area. If you ever have a chance, take a moment and say hello. It's a righteous spot. I sat by the wall and placed my face against the cool stone and I cried out with all my heart to God. I asked for clarity about covering my hair and my body. I asked for help to understand what did it mean to be a religious Jew. I felt like I got the answers I needed. I walked away feeling comfortable that my relationship with God did not hinge on covering my hair or covering my body. I cried tears that cleaned my soul of the agony I suffered trying to be true to myself and also become someone I thought was "more holy" or living life the "right" way.
I have stepped away from thinking of Orthodox Jews as people who live the right way and a path to work towards attaining. I prefer to be satisfied with where I am instead. I cannot continue to live as myself while secretly thinking someone else is living life better than me. I think there are many paths to a relationship with God. I know I am not done with covering my hair, I bought some beautiful scarves I would wear with pleasure. Perhaps in six months, a year, or twenty years I will decide that covering my hair and my body is the path to God. However, at this point in my life, after many months of trying to live this lifestyle, I am clear that I cannot maintain this way of life. It does not feel true for me right now.
“Hashem (G-d) is close to all who call out to Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalms 145:18).
It does not say Hashem is close to all those who are righteous. It does not say to all those who are pious. It does not say to all those who are holy.
But to all those who call out. Anyone who calls out to Hashem, Hashem will immediately come near, so to speak. The only criterion is that we must call out to Him in truth. The insignia of Hashem is truth. Hashem loves truth, and knows the truth so there is nothing to hide anyhow. Therefore, speak to Hashem in truth. Speak to Him sincerely and from the depth of your heart, and then Hashem will be very close to you. And when Hashem is close, your prayers and supplications will be willingly accepted (if they are for your best, of course). - Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi
My Wonderful In-Laws Visit
I'm a little behind, okay, several months behind on this blog. My in-laws came to visit us and Israel in the middle of March. Their visit was perfect and helped us settle nicely into our new life in the holy land. I want to post some pictures of the different places we visited.
Old Jaffa in Tel Aviv
Bahai Gardens In Haifa
The Bahai Gardens in Haifa are spectacular. Visitors are only allowed in a small part of the garden but the view from the entrance is amazing.
Wonderful Magical Tsfat
Delicious Chocolate Factory Tour
Former Military Outpost Looking Out Into Syria
Dead Sea Visit & Buffet
The Old City
The Israel Museum - a genuine must see when visiting Israel
I unfortunately did not take many pictures at the museum. The Dead Sea Scrolls are wonderful. The modern art exhibit is great. My favorite is the exhibit on Jewish clothes and Jewish artifacts. The model of the old city is pretty amazing and fortunately I do have photos of it.
We finished the day with a visit to the shuk. We gorged on delicious treats and waddled home to buy food for shabboes. Friday night we enjoyed an over the top meal at the Inbal. I have never been to a Kosher hotel for shabboes. It was amazing to see many tables set up with wine and challah for each family to perform their shabboes tradition. By the strangest of coincidences, a childhood friend of mine was staying at the hotel. We met him during the dinner and spent many hours talking about Judaism and our lives. We have not seen each other in almost 10 years. It was wonderful catching up.
Saturday day we hosted the family and some cousins at our place and then walked around Jerusalem. My heart was heavy knowing they were leaving in the evening and we were not going to see them in person for a long time.
It was truly a wonderful trip and I am grateful we had the opportunity to spend a week in Israel together.
Being a mother is the hardest role I've ever performed. My children depend on me for everything. Many times I have to step out of my own inner dialogue and engage in their worlds. My problems are silenced when faced with their needs.
I love being a mother and sometimes, honestly, I hate being a mother. When Sadie is melting down and there is nothing I can do but listen to her rage, I want to run away. Those are the moments I feel like a failure and I hate my role. Thankfully as she gets older the hour long every day rages I faced starting after her first birthday have slowed down. I have a complicated relationship with Sadie. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I, like Sadie, was a tough kid. She, like me, struggled to manage her outbursts and contain her frustration. There are moments I clearly see patterns passed down from my childhood emerging between us. Sometimes I am successful in stopping the repetition of poor interaction and other times I melt into the comfort of losing myself and accepting my emotional needs versus my rational needs.
Becoming a mother has taught me to appreciate my own mother. I look back now and mourn the times I behaved inappropriately, furthering the rift between us. It took me becoming a mother before I finally could build a loving relationship with my mother. Only when I understood how difficult it was to deal with a willful child could I step back and forgive my mother for our past.
Those times when I yell at Sadie , those moments when I wish I could stuff back the words into my mouth, I try to step out of my anger and remember I am yelling at one of the most precious beings in the world. My daughter. She is my wonder. She is the reason I became a mother. And when I do, despite my feelings, I take her in my arms and I say how sorry I am. I can't change what I've said but I can apologize. I can teach her despite our mistakes we can apologize and move on. With as much passion as I had when angered, I hug her and tell her I love her and then apologize for losing my cool. Thankfully she forgives me every time. Thankfully I am better at maintaining my composure despite the stresses of parenthood. And please don't think my kids get yelled at everyday. Instead, I hope to attain a state of mind when I NEVER yell at my children. I hope to parent only with peace in my heart and kind words on my tongue.
Motherhood has taught me to drop the ego. Again and again I need to forget the principled thing to do the right thing. Righteous anger has no place with children. Instead I forgive again and again until only my love for my children exists. The floor covered in food fives minutes after I cleaned it because Aaron refuses to eat at the table, I let it go. The little grievances that are "wrong" and aggravating are ignored or gently corrected to maintain a loving, healthy relationship with my children. I work very hard to not get angry. I have my children to thank for this lesson.
I am not sure I have shared this story before, it's one of my favorite stories about Sadie. When Sadie was born the epidural didn't take and I needed to be put under for an emergency c-section. For the two hours that it took between her birth and us meeting after my anesthesia wore off, Sadie lay in her daddy's arms looking up at him not making a sound. Her little eyes were open, waiting for me. When I was wheeled into the room Logan took off her blanket and laid her on my chest. She immediately took to nursing and closed her eyes, content, happy to be with her mother. I fell hard for her that moment. She was mine. She didn't leave my arms for 1.5 years after that moment. We co-slept until Aaron was born, I wore her everywhere and we only hired a babysitter when she was 2.5 years old. We were attached as two people can be attached. Aaron's birth forced us to renegotiate our relationship. She could no longer sleep in my bed or be worn throughout the day. It was hard but Sadie accepted Aaron and our circle of two became a circle of three. She took on being the big sister like anything else in her life with passion and love, Aaron could not have asked for a better sister.
I pray to be an amazing mother to my children. They are my presents from God. They are my blessings. I am grateful to have the right to have them in my life. I love them more than anyone or anything. My love is infinite for my children. The lessons I have learned in the past five years (I count pregnancy as a time of being a mother) are too numerous to count. My children have humbled me. They have raised me. They have taught me love. They have put a mirror to all my flaws. They force me to grow, to leap forward in order to stay ahead of them.
I celebrate Mother's Day because despite the difficulties, I would never go back in time and change my decision to have children. I am a richer, deeper person because of my children.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers. Each and every one of you is amazing.
When we originally decided to come live in Israel for a few months I secretly wanted to live here for an entire year. I wanted to experience all of the Jewish holidays in the holy land at least once in my life. In the past three months I have celebrated Purim and Passover here. I loved the celebrations and cherished the experience. I savored the meals with friends, the prayers at the Kotel and the holy atmosphere making each holiday alive and real.
Last Sunday night, May 4th, at 8pm a siren sang through Jerusalem. I was with my best friend walking her to a lecture. We stood together in silence outside the building filled with people standing straight and proud. The siren let the citizens of Jerusalem know that Yom Hazikaron had started. We are a people of the moon. Our days start at sundown. I was told by several people that Yom Hazikaron was a very special day in Israel. TV stations honor the deceased for 24 hours. Two sirens are heard, one in the evening when Memorial Day starts and one in the morning at 11am. I didn't know what to expect but I was very open to any experiences coming my way.
Yom Hazikaron is translated as "Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism," it is Israel's Memorial Day. In 1949 and 1950, the two years after the declaration of the State, soldiers who died during the War of Independence were honored on Independence Day. Their families argued for a separate Memorial Day and so Yom Hazikaron was created, to be celebrated the day before Independence Day. Originally the day was only meant to honor deceased soldiers; however, as Israeli citizens became victims of terrorist attacks (i.e., bus bombings, rockets, suicide bombers killed innocent people) Yom Hazikaron became a time to remember and honor all killed by our enemies.
The next day I took Aaron to daycare and I attended a special lecture given by Rabbanit Golda Warhaftig at my seminary. If you are ever in Israel and have an opportunity to hear her speak, do it. She is an unbelievably amazing speaker. I wish I taped her speech. Rabbanit Warhaftig immigrated to Israel in the 1960's from England. She has been here since the Six Day War and has seen Israel grow into a thriving country. She has children who live on settlements - she is a pioneer of this country. She is a true zionist. Unfortunately, she has also seen people she know become victims of terror.
She started her speech by mentioning that over 25,000 Israelis have died due to terrorism. And then, she slightly shook her head and said, "these people are not a number, they are a name. They are a story." She proceeded to tell us stories of people she knew who were murdered by terrorists. One of the first stories was about an American, the only son, who decided to join the Israeli army and fight in the front lines. He died, leaving a grieving family behind. And then she told us about a husband and wife who moved to a settlement, had a child, and were stabbed repeatedly in their sleep. The husband was killed and the pregnant wife ran from the house to a neighbor's house as she spilled blood on the rocky ground. She lost her baby and her husband in the same night. This woman, Mara, lay in bed broken as her mother-in-law sat beside her, touched her arm and told her,"listen Mara, when you get remarried, I'm still your mother-in-law." Mara did remarry and had twins with her new husband.
Then she shared a story about a soldier who was kidnapped. His mother saw him on the tv with two guns pointed at his head. His parents rallied the Jewish people together to the Kotel to pray begging God to return their son. Rabbanit Warhaftig said she never saw the Kotel as packed as it was that day. It was filled with all Israelis - secular and religious. We are one family. When one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. The boy was killed. Afterwards his father was on television, the interviewer asked him how did he feel after his son was murdered despite the prayers of so many people. His father responded, "sometimes father says no." The last story she shared was of an engaged soldier who wrote a love letter to his fiancee before serving on the front line. He died and his note was found when they were sitting shiva. For a room full of seminary girls mainly unmarried reading his love note out loud was a delightful setting for an excessive amount of tears. The part where he apologized for not being the man who would make her happy for the rest of her life nearly broke the room.
Each story was shared to bring the person back to life. Rabbanit Warhaftig explained that Memorial Day is not for the families who have lost their loved ones. The families mourn every single day. A parent never stops mourning for their child (mayIt's for everyone to mourn the loss of each individual. We are to learn their stories in order to bring them back into the world, even for a moment. The week before was Holocaust Remembrance Day or in Hebrew: Yom HaShoah. Rabbanit Warhaftig shared a story about her grandson. At seven years old he came with a yahrzheit candle. On the candle was the name of a Holocaust victim. The candle is traditionally lit on the anniversary day a loved one dies and it burns for 24 hours. It is a memorial candle. The children were given candles of people who perished with no one left alive in their family. No one was left to mourn them. No one was left to remember them. They became a number, a statistic quoted in class. She shared how proud she was that he lit the candle in memory of the man who died due to senseless hatred.
We are a people of the past. If the past is not remembered, we cannot know who we are and where we are going. Rabbanit Warhaftig explained that just as an amnesiac does not know what to do because they cannot remember what they did, we cannot assume to grow and fulfill our highest intention if we do not remember where we started.
I left the lecture speechless. I was shocked and honored to experience such an amazing speaker who really brought down the meaning of Memorial Day for all of us in the room. I wish America would do the same for our fallen soldiers. We lose precious men and women every day fighting in other countries trying to save the world and protect our nation. Unfortunately Memorial Day was meaningless to me. It would do our nation good to have the news actually honor our soldiers for 24 hours so we can all understand the depth of their sacrifice.
I rushed from seminary to Aaron's daycare. I wanted to experience the 11am 2 minute siren at Jaffo - a main street in Jerusalem. I ended up frustrated, stuck on the train at 10:57 at the Central Bus Station. I was going to experience the siren on the train. I was so sad. And then, when the siren sang, old and young, religious and secular stood up in silence to remember our loss. As I stood there filled with grief I looked next to me and was surprised to see an Arab woman sitting talking on her cellphone. An Arab man sat across from her. Neither stood to honor our heroes. I could not see one Jew who gave them a second glance - we are, after all, the only true democracy in the Middle East. Seeing first hand the strength of Israel's freedom allowed me to break through my disappointment.
When the sun set Israel transitioned from mourning to celebratory as Independence Day was kicked off with fireworks and partying in the streets. Memorial Day was intentionally set for the day before Independence Day to remind everyone the cost of freedom.
To be continued...
Faking Frum Redux
I started the journey of covering my hair a little over a month ago. At the time I did it to fit in with my local community. I used it as an opportunity to expand my wardrobe. I bought different colors, textures, sizes and shapes of head coverings. Although I loved the different fabrics, I resented the way my head hurt after an hour of wearing them. I would come home and rip off the scarf exasperated with its inconvenience.
After several weeks of frustration I walked into a store that sells head covers and bought a simple black beret. I paid the sales lady, walked to the mirror and jauntily placed it on my head. The sales lady and I locked eyes, she nodded at me with approval and off I went. I felt great. It was the first my head didn't hurt when covered. The beret was 100% cotton, a lightweight knit and felt good without pulling on my hair. It's only flaw was it did not cover all my hair but I was happy. It was a step in the right direction.
(In modern Orthodox it is acceptable to cover only the top of your head; however, my husband attends a very Orthodox Yeshiva so I have made it my goal to cover all my hair when in public to fit the status quo.)
I wore it every day until I got tired of seeing the same black hat on my head. I wanted a change in color. I decided to educate myself on how to properly wrap my head with a scarf. I have been a facebook fan of Wrapunzel since she started several years ago. Reluctantly I clicked on her site and watched the beginner video. She mentioned a velvet headband she wore under her scarf. I knew of the velvet headband before watching the video. I had hoped I could avoid needing to put another thing on my head when covering my hair. I realized I needed to wear the band to stop the scarf from pulling my hair. The next day I took Logan and the kids through the city until we found a scarf shop and a velvet headband.
The headband changed my hair wrapping world. The scarf stopped slipping off my head. I finally could wrap my hair without suffering. I'm not convinced I will spend the rest of my life covering my hair; however, it has been an interesting experiment of my identity.
I turn 30 this year. Unfortunately it is freaking me out. Thirty feels legit. It's a grown up age. It's not 24, it's not 21, it's not 16. It's 30. What you do in your 30's matters. People see you as a fully formed person. Prior to covering my hair, I continued to see myself as a 20 year old with two kids who followed me around throughout the day. I did not see myself as a full fledged adult. Now, when I cover my hair and look in the mirror, I see a grown up. I'm not sure if I like it. I'm not sure I'm ready to grow up. Sometimes I worry that wrapping my hair ages me.
Other times I worry that wrapping my hair means I can't hide my face behind my hair. I am in the world. My face is there for the everyone to see. I feel vulnerable. On days when I feel my face is puffy or I feel ugly, I wear a hat covering the top of my head and leave the rest of my hair out. (The need to cover all my hair is a great motivator to prevent me from eating food that is not good for me since a lot of that food causes my face to break out or bloat.) It's my shield, my armor, protecting my insecurities with a cascade of long hair. As the day progresses my hair shifts from covering my face, to sitting tucked neatly behind my ears to sometimes all the way up back in my hat. It's a constant shift trying to balance religious expectations with my own comfort.
I'm starting to feel more comfortable seeing my hair covered versus uncovered when I look in the mirror. I am really enjoying the different styles and colors of hair coverings available in the shops.
More importantly, covering my hair is changing the way I relate to the world. A simple act of covering my hair allows me create stronger boundaries between my private and public world. I no longer feel pressured to look sexy or attractive when dressing in the morning. My sexiness, my attractiveness is private - for my marriage and my husband. This separation between the private and public does not mean I feel pressured to be ugly or frumpy when I get dressed. Instead, it's about being regal - sophisticated, a lady. The typical pressure to have perfect straight hear, skin tight clothing, and sexy shoes no longer applies to me. I want to emphasize I am not knocking anyone who chooses to dress in this manner. For myself it is freeing to not feel the need to dress sexy when going to a party or stepping outside. I don't need to compete. Other women can dress how they want and I don't feel pressured to keep up. In a strange way I feel that covering my hair has helped me find inner peace and contentment with my identity. I don't understand the connection but I'm happy with the results.
This is the hair covering site, check it out if you area interested in learning how to wrap your hair: https://wrapunzel.com/
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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