Last September, in a moment of late-night/early-morning inspiration it came to me that I should document my headcovering journey to provide a possibly unique perspective and therefore I made this blog. I was moved by others who made beautiful blogs that provided connections, validation, and advice to those who sought to wrap and cover, and I wanted to be one of them.
But shortly after I was hit with a great fear of how people would treat me, of being recognized online from a public arena like wordpress and how it could negatively affect my life. Stories about violence towards hijabis and jews only served to cement the fear, and those felt like it happened all the time. Up until that point I only shared my headcover pictures on facebook with my friends-only account that had no profile and no legal name to search me with, and with a secret facebook group of women who equally prioritized privacy. I know that nothing on the internet is truly private, but at the very least trying to find my photos, and then find me in person, would require someone who had both the skills and the inclination to hack into everything and go after me. Which most people can’t and won’t do.
But wordpress is public. You don’t have the benefit of internet obstacles to stave off most people, and most of my pictures show my face. I got cold feet and couldn’t bring myself to post here. Until now that is.
I’ve been thinking lately about why I continue to cover, despite the potential for being targeted. And I’ll be honest, the chances of me actually being attacked is pretty low. I’m a white person in Chicago suburbia, with no visible sign that I’m pagan, and a wrap style that probably makes people think I have cancer or am some weird hippie rather than be religious.
It’s just, I noticed how people would stare and didn’t seem to do so kindly. How people would no longer approach me and avoid sitting next to me. How people seemed to act embarrassed to be around me. Now don’t get me wrong, I like being left alone by people, but I should be left alone out of respect for my body and space, not out of them being bigots. My scarf shouldn’t cause raised eyebrows and cold looks any more than someone else’s tasteful pantsuit.
I needed to reevaluate why I covered and why I continued to cover despite these fears and experiences. I came to find that what started as an experimental fashion choice had taken on layers of significance that would make quitting scarves be an extremely difficult choice now. My wraps give me a connection to my heritage, act as a visible sign of my adulthood, makes me feel beautiful, defiantly shows my bodily autonomy, and acts as a shield/security blanket against the rest of the world. Covering has given me the confidence to be true to myself, and I need to let that confidence extend outward to the world.
So here I am, half a year later and ready to contribute to the wrapping blogosphere. I’m no longer afraid.