So it's been a few months since I started my experiment with covering my head. I also took a couple of weeks off from it, to see the difference. Also, it was too hot down here in Florida for a while. I've learned a good bit since I started.
- I like how I look. I love experimenting with scarves and ways of tying them, and I find it actually more versatile than what I can do with my hair. My hair can't hold a curl, it slips out of clips and ties, it generally drives me batty. With a scarf, I can forget about it, and still feel pretty and feminine.
- It's not about modesty. Not that I dress in a terribly revealing fashion anyway - I never have, I tend towards long skirts and loose, flowing clothing because I like it. But I find nothing contradictory about wearing a tank top with my head scarf. And I got my nose pierced recently. All of this fits with me.
- I don't cover for senut. Hethert told me absolutely NOT. I went to shrine with a bandana on once, and She did not want. I cover in public, and shrine time is not public. She made that clear - but also acknowledged that covering in public was an extremely good idea for me. Good to hear that Mom approves of this, and great that She outlined when it is appropriate for me to cover. It was an enlightening senut, for sure.
- Along with the public idea, it does seem to help me "filter out" the outside world, keep disruptive energy to a minimum, and keep my own energy contained. This helps immensely with my anxiety, and I noticed a huge difference in the time I didn't cover in public. I wasn't as comfortable, I felt almost naked.
- However, I did notice that some people treated me suspiciously when I was veiled. I never wore anything as extensive as hijab-style in public, but being the Florida panhandle, I was stared at, and some people kept their distance. Also why I stopped covering in public for a spell, I was looking for a job. This was horribly stressful, since I had no "shield", and looking for work. But the "shield" made employers suspicious. Conundrum. I was also asked to take my scarf off when I had to renew my driver's license, and the woman in the probate office was nervous of me. I was not comfortable at all with it off, but removed it anyway. I'm not up for that fight, or explaining. Or claiming an Abrahamic faith as an easy justification. That would be more uncomfortable for me.
- My friends and current lover all are incredibly supportive and kind. And complementary! Apparently, I'm someone who looks good in a headscarf (I got the "gypsy" comparison, which made me very very happy), and it's not just me that thinks so. I was even complemented on my scarf by a lady who works in a clothing store, while I was shopping. She helped me pick out new scarves on sale, and said she wished she could "pull it off." I hope to find more accepting people after I move.
So, I've decided to continue covering in public. It helps me in many ways, and I do feel set apart from the rest of the world with it on. Not that I'm better than them, or less, just different. I would still be different without it, but I like the outward display of it. There was a time when I thought I'd never do something this "conservative" spiritually, but this feels like a part of growing up. I'm happy with it.
Here's front and back images of me, with my favorite scarf (at the moment, anyway - it's cotton, and I love the colors) in my favorite style. The back is fuzzy, I know, but you try taking a picture of the back of your head.