I've been wrestling with dissertation writing lately and it's been making me miserable. After tossing and turning in the wee hours this morning I felt the need to get up, shower, dress, braid up my hair, put on my cap and walk the dog. The big deal here is walking the dog in a dress and cap. I've been only a few public places in my cap, and I've never walked the dog dressed this way. I put my hair up in a ponytail, cover it with a bandanna, and wear a T-shirt and cargo shorts. Why? Mostly because I don't want to be conspicuous - dressing the way I've become used to. 

Why don't I want to be conspicuous? Because I've been apologizing to my friends, my neighbors, and people in general for being weird!  Do you know what I mean? Sorry for being weird, I'll just wear this bandanna instead of my cap to make you feel more comfortable. Sorry for being weird, I know my skirt is long but I've always worn long skirts so this isn't a big deal right? Sorry for being weird about the plain thing but it's probably just a phase - you still love me right? Sorry for being weird, but I've been reading alot of Quaker writings and even the bible in the privacy of my own home, but I am still the old girl who can cuss like a sailor and carry on, so you still love me right?

Here's my early morning revelation. You cannot serve two masters.

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No kidding...eeks I wouldn't like to see what would happen in that case.  I know for us personally...my husband has been accused of abuse, neglet, I've been asked more than once if I need help getting away from him....its really insane to watch what happens when a woman dresses plainly and her husband supports it!

 

 

It must be scary to change like that but I am glad that you are finding your feet again in your life. When it comes to you reacting it might not be that way. I am very hot-headed and I am easy to upset but I am also easy to please and make happy. 'I feel a lot', that is my way of describing myself. People have 'diagnosed' me with various illnesses, bipolar, ADHD, you name it, but I really believe that I am completely normal and healthy whatever that is, just quick to react. Despite that I have been able to manage the headcovering issue without losing temper which is kind of surprising. I see covering as something which has helped me control the bad aspects of my temper and perhaps that might happen for you as well.

 

I am deeply troubled by laws trying to stop religious symbols such as the nikab although I do understand the problems that it can pose say in a classroom. As a teacher with slightly bad hearing it would be a problem for me to hear what a nikabi said to me but I would never want to stop her from getting an education. I do not see either Christian or Muslim headcovering as something that has to be a symbol of women's submission to men although I understand that it can be seen as such. For me it is submitting to god that makes me the equal to a man because in god's eyes we are truely equal. For me plain/modest dress is an assault on society's ideas of women dressing to please men and not god or themselves. I cover my body so that people are forced to see my personality and thus also show that I am a person who is compeletely unique and not 'just a woman'.

Elin,

I think that there is a lot of truth in  what you say about this being a way of helping increase the aspect of "mindfulness" to serving God and being more moderate in temprament etc, headcovering seems to be a tool that some of us find useful to maintain that focus on the Divine.

My own experience of working with nikabi is they will unveil if there are only women in the room - so in a female dominated profession this happens a fair amount.

 

I wore my snood to work at the library today for the first time ever, and no one thought anything of it. YES!!! (Smiles!)
Hello Everyone,

Today, Yesterday and last Friday I wore my hair up in a neat bun and compleatley covered in a scarf; as I've wanted to do for a while but been too nervous to do so. It seem to have had two strange effects. The first is that when I pass a mirror my reflection looks strange, all neat, tucked up, hidden and not like me. I think this will take some getting used to. The second effect is harder. I keep suddenly seeing myself from the outside and feeling like I've not lived up to claims a modest head covering projects. After I've told a dirty joke or said something mean, I realise, "gosh, actually that wasn't that nice". On the positive side I've held my tongue a couple of times as well. I'm starting to understand what others have written about dress being a constant reminder of my relationship with God and how that makes me interact with the world. I like plain and simple clothes beause they are practical and logical. Now I'm starting to believe plain clothes are also useful as a stick to keep me focused. I suppose I've had plenty of carrots in terms of the pleasures a relationship with God can bring.

I have also found that the combination of skirt and scarf produce assumptions of female submissiveness and male dominence.

Dear Parise,

I have gone through the same thing, wrestling with plain dress for literally years, (I am ashamed to say). I absolutely knew what the spirit was leading me to but I did not know the WHY of it. Since I tend to be head strong, independent and freedom minded, I could not see the necessity of it.  And yet, I knew it was what He was calling me to.

I drug my feet.  It began with the skirts and modest tops for a while, then I would go right back to the jeans and t-shirts. I knew that the skirts and tops were'nt really what He was calling me to, so I was not being obedient anyway, and I knew it.

Later, much later, I'm talking years, I purchased my first snood. A type of head covering and yet I still felt I wasn't coming up to the place where He wanted me to be.

Next, I finally purchased a cap.  I can't explain it but when I wore it I felt differently.  But I still wasn't ready to commit to the whole thing the spirit had shown me.

I walked in my own way for a long time until finally last month I said out loud to myself...."This is rediculous, I'm obviously miserable because I'm not doing it and it's all I think about! That's it, the decision is made and I am just going to live the way the spirit led me and not worry about the rest!"

So, by coincidence (I think not!) I was led to a person who makes the exact dresses which I had seen in my quiet time. Which by the way, I could never find before this time.

I now wear any color dress usually with sleeves to the elbow, length to a little lower than calf (because I'm short and don't want to trip lol)  Over the dress I wear a black cape and a black apron, and my cap of course.

Do I look strange? Do I look different? Well, let's take a minute to look around....there are an awful lot of other folks who look strange and different as well!  So, I am just no longer worried about how I look. 

I feel great, not because I feel seperate or holier than anyone else. I feel good because I know that I am being obedient to what the spirit has shown me personally.

Does that mean I think everyone should do it, No. I only believe that everyone should try to be in obedience to how the spirit is leading them.

 

I will also mention here some side benefits which I have found.

1) I no longer have to think about what I'm wearing, I just go and grab a dress.  It's just clothing now not dress up.

2)I am no longer tempted to waste money, caught in the loop of our crazy consumer society.I don't need all the extra bobbles, accessories, shoes etc.

3) By purchasing from this seamstress I am helping a friend in earning her living.

4)In plain dress I am more conscious about my behavior, before God, before my family and before the world.

5)In putting on my plain dress in the morning I began to find a simplicity and order which then grew into other areas of my lifestyle and how we now choose to order our home in the same way.

These are just a few things off the top of my head....under my cap, lol.

 

 

 

I have a grey wool skirt that matches my grey wool suit perfectly. The suit came with both pants and a knee-length pencil skirt. This other skirt that I just happen to have is ankle-length. So last job interview, I paired the suit jacket with the long skirt.

Paula Roberts said:

I think on a job interview I'd wear a long skirt and modest top and cover it with a professional black blazer.  I am not sure what I would wear for a head covering.  If I wore one it might be a snood, but I'm thinking on an interview that I would not wear one at all. I have some very nice professional style modest skirts from Shukr.com - a store that caters to western Muslims who are challenged to follow hijab and still fit in.   Something like http://www.shukronline.com/wt0581.html would be business/interview appropriate. 

 

 

I love this post. It so accurately explains the feelings experienced in "going plain". I am gradually incorporating long skirts into my work wardrobe and it's going well. I have been dressing modestly for a long time. Even at such a slow rate of change, I know there are some that think the clothes are odd on me. Why am I trying so hard to make others comfortable with my decisions? I admire your conviction and am inspired by your post. I am dropping off some dress pants and picking up some more skirts at Goodwill today.  It's not just a phase I guess. 

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