* green jersey dress- H&M * nude flats-- Steve Madden * white woven belt-- UO * silver Eiffel Tower necklace-- gift from hubs * white tank-- Target * lace earrings-- gift from hubs * huge bun-- all me *
A pretty standard summer outfit for me, with one big difference that long-time readers have probably already noticed: for the first time in three years, I'm outside without a headcovering.
The choice to uncover was not an easy one, nor am I sure that I have fully decided. After the ninth day of my cluster headache a week ago I simply could not (or would not) add to my chronic condition with the daily dull ache caused by my hats, wigs and scarves. Though I had anticipated re-evaluting my covering practices upon moving and starting my graduate program in the fall, my choice suddenly seemed self-evident. I walked out the door, bareheaded.
It is strange to have dreamt about something for so long and to feel so ambivalent about it once getting what I thought I wanted. Certainly I feel free in a way I haven't felt in years. The image reflected in a store's window looks like me, something I felt I had lost with the berets and scarves and wigs. I haven't felt the familiar shadow of pain dulling my senses, something to which I had grown all too accustomed. I can put my hair up, a simple pleasure that is especially sweet as the temperatures rise.
And yet, I feel as though I have given up something important. Observing Jewish law is a huge part of my life, and I do not take its abrogration lightly. It feels awkward to run into people I know and wonder if they notice the absence, to wonder if they think I simply do not care. Can I replace the hat with a tattoo telling observers how hard I tried, and how I agonized over the decision?
I am not ready to say I do not cover. I am not willing to give away the myriad of options and accessories I've collected over the past 3 years. I may wake up tomorrow and choose to simply bear the pain and my misgivings with my appearance. Perhaps in certain situations-- at weddings, which are religious functions, or when in synagogue (outside of a service, for which all Orthodox women wear some form of cover)-- I will choose to don a symbolic hat in respect of a tradition that no longer features in my daily life.