Many of you are not aware of the fact that I cover my head when I leave me house (unless you know me in real life, of course…then it’s quite obvious, and has been for quite some time). I know that this is not the norm for women in the community in which I live. I realize that people associate a woman who is not showing her hair as having certain religious affiliations, or maybe being ill, or losing her hair for one reason or another (in fact, I caught myself having that thought the other day at the grocery store…and totally had to check myself!) All of this is something I am perfectly OK with responding to directly. I welcome questions, curiosity, and conversations about this.
But here’s what gets my Pixie-pants in a twist: when people ask THE PEOPLE AROUND ME why I cover my head. I understand that maybe these people don’t know me personally, and feel inappropriate in asking me…but guess what folks…NO ONE KNOWS BETTER THAN ME WHY I COVER MY HEAD.
I have shared aspects of my reasons why with different people. I am open about my reasons. I am clear in how I communicate.
But when you go behind my back to talk about me, and it gets back to me, guess what: it doesn’t make me feel good. It makes me feel like I am being spied on. And while I KNOW that we all talk about each other, and we all judge each other in not-nice-ways, I don’t need it rubbed in my face that I am different. I can’t be anything else. If you want to talk to me about it, let’s talk. Let’s have a real dialogue. Let’s not gossip. Let’s not assume. Let’s not revert back to middle-school-secret-spreading. It’s not a secret. I’m following a path that I can’t NOT FOLLOW if I am to be a happy human.
So recently, this issue has obviously come up again for me. And I take several deep breaths and remind myself that these people have no idea they are hurting me. They have no idea, and no intention (I hope) of causing harm. Maybe it’s their way of asking me about it themselves. Maybe it’s them thinking they are being helpful. Or whatever. It actually doesn’t matter what anyone’s intentions are.
Here is what matters:
I choose to get hurt, or not.
I choose to react negatively or positively.
I choose to cultivate patience or intolerance.
I choose to cover my head and commit to this as part of my life.
And as I choose to take a step back, and let go of the hurt, and align with joy, I see that in today’s society so very many of us are looking to be hurt by something (myself included). Part of what the ego does, is that it uses our suffering to connect with others in our society. So much of what we communicate is complaining. We spend so much time focusing on what is wrong, that we perpetuate a cycle of more Bad Crap happening in our lives, and then find more friends and people to complain with (sorry for the dangling preposition).
And so each time I am hurt by something a trivial as other people’s ignorance and curiosity, I take a step back. I recognize my own assumptions about THEM: the people who assume I am Muslim, or have lost my hair because of chemotherapy, I assume are ignorant of the spiritual path I follow. I assume they are too busy with their lives to actually consider other answers. I assume that it doesn’t really matter to them; they just want something else to talk about. Human nature makes us Assumers, and it’s a dangerous game.
So I take another step back.
We are all just people, trying to figure out the world around us. We are all simply doing our best, with what we have. If we have no other paradigm that Muslim-cancer-survivor to associate with head-covering, then we REALLY don’t even know what questions to ask.
And this idea, this recognition, gives my heart some ease. I smile, I reply, “No, I’m not Muslim. I’m Jewish, but that’s not why I cover my head. I made a commitment to my Teacher that this would be part of the path I walk, and part of how I keep mySelf protected (energetically) in a world of insanity.” I walk away hoping that I opened a new door for that person, and a new way for them to see the world.
But if I didn’t, oh well. Their judgement is not my burden to bear.
May we all recognize this: We are here to spread light. We are not here to carry anyone’s judgments of us.
Selah Selah Amen,