January 26, 2015 by lucieromarin
[Note from me: don’t panic – this isn’t going to turn into a post where I advocate membership of the Headcovering Movement as a means of healing, spiritual or otherwise. However, I have a friend who has recently discovered a kind of freedom and healing in something which seemed so out-of-left-field that I asked her to write about it. It just goes to show that you never know what unexpected and individual happiness is there for the taking if you follow a long-supressed desire, one which was always within the bounds of the moral law, but was supressed because of other people. This is what she’s told me about…wearing a tichel!]
I was asked to write a few lines on what it is like to wear a headcovering. Well, in one word, it’s liberating. For years I have wanted to wear a scarf on my head, to cover my hair – which, by the way, needs covering.
People cover for all sorts of reasons…and so do I. First, there is the hair problem. I have always wanted to have my hair up, in a bun, plaits etc…but with my fine straight hair, those wants were an impossibility. The amount of gel, hairspray, and time I spent teasing, grooming, aligning stray hairs only to have it fall flat by the end of the day was indeed frustrating. So a long scarf that can be wrapped around my head becomes a solution. If I combine two scarves, then plaits, buns etc are easy! No chemicals, no disappointments at the end of the day.
Secondly, it’s all about freedom and choices. I find my tichel (Jewish head covering, http://www.wrapunzel.com) is like my crown. I choose to put it on or not. When I do, I choose the style, the colours, the frills and brooches. I choose to match my outfit for the day, I choose to match the mood I may be in. I choose to match the job I need to do. So, if I want to go to the taxman, for example, I chose a more subdued scarf. If I want to present myself as a force to be reckoned with, I put on bold reds. If I am going to church, then a more reverent crown is placed on my head. I choose, and I feel free to choose. When I finally took the plunge and wrapped my hair, I was so nervous about What Other People Would Say. And then, once I actually did it, an air of confidence and freedom surrounded me. I felt free. Free from people’s conceptions, free to be me! And yet there was an air of mystery too.
So this brings me to the third point. It’s about mystery. No one (unless you know me) knows what I truly look like. The tichel hides a very distinguishing feature of mine. I like having this bit of privacy about me. Does she have red hair? Is it short? What does she look like? (It also accentuates my other features… which is quite comforting). *
A result of this mysterious wrapping is that the person with whom you are engaging actually has to think about your personality and not just your looks. The tichel is designed to focus the viewer onto your face, the window to your soul, as the Jews would say. It forces people to look into your eyes, and you start to speak with your eyes…which I think, in today’s world of the screen, is a lost art. So the tichel, by blocking out the hair, draws all attention to the eyes, and enables the person to make a connection with you.
Some people cover for religious reasons. I cannot say that I cover for religious reasons. I do know though, that the tichel makes me more careful about how I behave in public. It does make demands on you, so to speak. You have to walk with your back straight. The weight of the scarves helps you with this. You know that you have embarked on presenting an image of modesty. A tichel is best placed with a long skirt and modest top. Shorts and tichel are not a good look, I think?
So there you have my views on head-wrapping. It’s fun, it’s girlie, it’s about experimenting with colours and textures, it’s about presenting your values to the world, and yet keeping something to yourself. It’s about freedom, about dignity, femininity, and sisterhood. What’s nice too…it confuses people too!!!!! 🙂
*[addendum from Lucy: she’s not lying about this. I’ve seen pictures, and her wrap really makes her best features more noticeable!]
So, (this is Lucy, again) – for me, it’s (I hope) the world of language; for her, it’s the world of the wrap; part of the joy of rebuilding your life is discovering which world is to be yours!