so confused.

I was at work the other day when a coworker asked me about my scarf. (I have gone back to the white kerchief at work.) She had asked me the weekend I wore a hijab style as well, and I thought I had said I was Christian, but apparently I didn’t because she asked if I was Muslim. I told her that no, I wasn’t Muslim, I am Christian and a quick reason why I cover. Her response? “Okay. I was just curious. It tells me what kind of person you are.”

I suppose, headcoveirng should tell you what kind of person I am, but it doesn’t really. If I’ve learned anything from headcovering, it would be to assume less. I was a very judgmental person in Yemen. Especially of foreigners and their clothing choices. I am learning that Christian women cover for many different reasons. We might all be called by the Holy Spirit to cover, but our reasons and justifications are different.

But even then, I find that I don’t fit in. First of all, I am not married (and do not have children)  I work, I intend to continue to work outside the home when I’m married and have children. I probably will not home school my children.

I have dreams of returning to the Middle East as a nurse. At the same time, I have dreams of living here, on a farm. And then there’s the crazy dream of living in the middle east, nursing and having a farm! Where exactly does a husband and family fall into this? I have no idea.

I think this has steered off my course of my original intent. How does my headcovering tell you what kind of person I am? What does an average person think of a headcovering Christian lady.

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12 Responses to “so confused.”

  1. dana Says:

    huh. I probably DID tell that lady I was Christian and not Muslim before, because a couple of days ago she asked me if I was Jewish. I think my response was “We’ve talked about this before. No. I’m Christian”

  2. Muhala Akamau Says:

    So nice to come across you…it’s a joy to meet more and more like-minded sisters.

    God’s rich grace to you…

  3. Spring Says:

    Probably “assume less” is one of the things my Higher Power wanted me to learn as well. I’m not Christian (nor Muslim, nor Jewish) but I cover for a variety of reasons, one of them being to better understand our sisters who do. Another being to learn something about modesty. Another, to remind myself that my own head is not better than my Higher Power’s head – it’s not -my- will that needs to be done.

  4. Amber Says:

    Well, if it helps, it’s not just your coworker. I’ve been covering for six months and I still get the same people asking me if I’ve ‘converted’. The next time someone asks, I’m going to ask them, ‘to what?’ with a completely blank look on my face. And I have one woman, no matter how many times I tell her otherwise, who is convinced that I’ve become a ‘secret nun’. Of course I really confused them the past few days by covering hijabi style because it was cold.

    As for what the average person thinks? I couldn’t tell you. Most people won’t even mention it. They won’t ask, just sort of stare a little. I know that some assume you’re sick and losing your hair. Some think it’s just a fashion choice. Others go the religious route, but very few come out and actually ask, so its hard to know what they think. It’s probably for the best that they don’t usually ask me, because I still have a hard time *saying* that I am covering in obedience to God. I believe it, but there’s still this little voice telling me that they aren’t going to understand, and they’re going to think that I’m nuts. I just had a woman at church ask me, and I think she could see I was uncomfortable, but I was determined to actually *say* the words. I told her that I cover because I believe God commanded me to, and she said that that was the best reason to do anything. 🙂

  5. dana Says:

    Muhala – It is nice to discover other like minded sisters! I will be checking your blog out regularly! Thanks for commenting.

    Spring – Even though I might assume less, it is still something I struggle with. I assume that people assume who I am or what I believe by what I put on my head and then can be offended because I wear headcoverings that are traditionally worn by people who don’t believe what i do! have mercy on me, a sinner!

    Amber – congrats on making it to the six month mark. I have another month to go, or so… “Most people won’t even mention it.” Too true. I’m not sure why, but it is a taboo thing! It has kinda worked to my advantage though, because it’s not something I particularly want to talk about. I totally understand about *saying the words* When it finally came up, I actually told someone “I believe this is what God wants me to do” and I was stunned that I was actually able to say it. I’m glad you had some great support there. That really is the best reason to do anything.

    As far as people thinking you’re nuts because of something you wear on your head, I realized that for me, people will think I’m nuts no matter what I have on my head. It might take them a little longer to realize it if I go bareheaded, but eventually I think they’ll know. Why go around uncovered if I really do believe I should be covered, if the end result will be the same? (And at the same time, I’m no saint, I want to be accepted and befriended and I still don’t want people to think I’m nuts!)

    Another thing on assumptions for both Spring and Amber, as I have said before, I wear a square smaller kerchiefy thing to work, but one weekend I wore a larger scarf hijab style. And while i’ve been covering at work for almost five months at the time, most people hadn’t said a word, until that weekend, when I got more questions/comments than I had ever before. And part of me was going “BUT IT’S JUST A BIGGER SCARF!” what’s the big deal? Why now? yet at the same time, I really did expect it. Is it ‘just a bigger scarf’?

    ~dana.

  6. Amber Says:

    Dana,

    We’re in the same boat, I think, with the crazy. People who get to know me realize I’m a little ‘off’ no matter what.

    I wear smallish square kerchiefs at home, folded over into triangles. But out and about or at work, I tend to wear either the square hijab scarf, just not tied in front, or tiechels. And sometimes the rectangular shayla style. They look a little nicer than my kerchiefs, and they’re larger, so they cover all of my hair for the moment.

    And no, it can’t, unfortunately, just be a ‘larger scarf’ for some. They see it, and there are automatic associations and feelings that go with it. I’m just perverse enough that if I could find an inexpensive abaya I’d go to work all decked out one day. I know I shouldn’t, but it’s just this urge to make people *think* for once.

  7. dana Says:

    hm…i generally go opposite of that, if i’m covered at home (before, during and after prayer, or when it’s cold) i go with the shayla. (and YOU USED THE WORD SHAYLA, YAY!) wrapped ‘mary style’ which i believe some people just see as ‘hijab’ but for me, there is a difference. and then at work I do the square kerchiefs in triangles, for a number of reasons. I can’t really have things hanging down that might get contaminated at work, it’s easy, it stays on. I can usually just put it on and forget about it, so i’m not having to play with it all the time.

    When I try to tie other scarves “tiechel style” behind my head, they fall off, unless i have a very specific setup.

    Don’t give me ideas on abaya, I have two in my closet, along with two niqaabs. I haven’t worn them since I’ve been back in the states, but some days…

  8. Amber Says:

    Oh, when it’s cold out I wear the shayla out into the yard, but the house is usually warm enough I don’t need to and just use the kerchief. I think, no matter how you wrap it, people see a long scarf as hijab and go from there. When I wear them I don’t wrap them in quite the proper hijabi style, they’re looser and you can see part of my throat. But people still think it’s hijab, because they don’t really have a frame of reference other than that.

    Everything slides off my head. I think I just have smooth hair or something. I keep the kerchiefs and the tiechels on with little clips on the side, and then tie them in the back under my ponytail. They seem to stay fairly well with that arrangement for me and I don’t need to fuss with them. But you’ve got more serious considerations on the arrangment and it sliding about or dangling bits, being a nurse of course.

    Heh. I like abayas, really. They just look so comfortable. But yes, one day, I will find an abaya and I will come to work in a real hijab and abaya.

    I actually just bought a niqaab, just to see what they were like (it was on sale, you see). Mine came in two pieces, and I can’t get the part that covers my face to stay put.

  9. dana Says:

    huh. i’ve seen the half niqaabs, but have the “tie on the forhead” kind, simpler, and more covering, and it’s what all the women in Yemen wore, which was the main reason I bought it, to show off the ‘local style’ at home.

    and I’m not a nurse quite yet. I work at a nursing home, as an aide and a med tech while taking prereqs for a BSN program, insha’allah, insha’allah!

  10. Sarah Says:

    Ladies!!

    Do not plant conspiratorial little thoughts into my head!! I too have worn ‘Hijab’, Jilbab (brilliant; wore the thing till it fell to bits) and have tried the Niqab twice. As someone with a vision impairment, the power of the Niqab for me was a little mindblowing; you see, at the donning of the full rig, I instantly levelled the playing field, necessitating others to relate to me in the same way I must by dint of my VI relate to them. the full armour of God? the ‘Robe of Righteousness as a reminder that we can do nothing in ourselves but only through the grace of Jesus Christ can we be saved…..Am I drawing a long bow?? 🙂 We should form a little society; ‘Niqabi Sisters for Christ’!! What say you all?

    Blessings,

    Sarah,
    Who is quietly envious of the half dozen Muslim women she knows who have taken the Niqab and dedicated themselves to the whole purdah thing…
    and has demonstrated in one comment she is rather more barking mad than the lot of you put together!!!!! 🙂

  11. dana Says:

    eh. crazy seems to be my middle name. at least you have a good reason for liking niqaab. Actually, I don’t like niqaab. But, i’m thinking about wearing my abaya to school on Monday. a good friend i met in yemen just said “I didn’t think you liked those things” My response: “yeah, and i didn’t like hijab over there either, but i do that too.” I do tend to switch it up at school. a bit of hijab, a bit of teichel, a bit of “i’m a crazy protestant” kerchiefs. haven’t done much turbaning though, it’s hard on the head. And i’m imagining physiology lab with the goggles. gah!

  12. Sarah Says:

    Dana,

    Hmm; I’m curious as to the reason for niqab that you see as justifying it in my case; my theological interpretation of the entire thing (as one who wears prayer robes when praying the hours at home) or the automatic levelling full niqab offers to one who cannot make eye contact on account of vision impairment let alone distinguish my fellows who stand before me… if you are crazy, so am I; a ‘Peculiar People’ eh?? 🙂

    I would actually very much like to jump off the deep end of sanity entirely and try a bourka for a day; might see if I can work this into some type of interfaith/ethics/philosophy project for my theological studies…Heck, I’m giving myself even more ideas now; Might I decrease that Christ within me may increase? For me, even for a day, I perceive such an unorthodox, controvercial and fringe move one of the most powerful statements anyone can make in this image-saturated, over-visual culture in which we now find ourselves…the one dimensional world of sight blinds so many to the rich landscape that lies beneath; a landscape that few notice as they make their way through the world of vision.

    Oh, and as for lab-goggles, if they are the ‘glasses’ type that slip over the ears, you can easily slide these beneath your hijab. If they are the elasticated ski goggle variety, you can slip this right over the top of hijab. if you do not want the concern of dangling cloth getting in the way, tie it up close to your neck without much draping.

    This walk is fascinating; the theological and spiritual implications of entering into full coverage are incredible and profoundly moving for me. to moderate and mediate the way in which the world sees me; to cause those about me to be necessitated to interact with me the way I, daily, must interact with them, would be incredible. For me, Full coverage stands as perhaps one of the most powerful tools for equality calling me forth. Maybey, one day, maybey.

    blessings,

    Sarah,
    Australia.

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