Before I dive into the details of my new experience/experiment, I will start by stating the facts:

1. I was not raised in a Quaker household.
2. Unfortunately, due to my busy schedule and mobile lifestyle, I do not belong to a Meeting.
3. I wasn't fully immersed into a Quaker culture until last summer in the YALD program and...
4. Even while I was immersed in such a beautiful culture and considered myself a Friend, I feared that my experience of the Divine would be limited only to my time at Pendle Hill.

While all of the above are true, they have yet to deter the Divine's presence in my life recently. During my time at Pendle Hill, I considered taking on some form of plain dress but dismissed it as my vain attempt at showing how "different" I truly was from the rest of the world. One year later, I have finally transitioned into my own form of plain dress. I feel that this is what the Divine has been requesting of me for quite some time now and I just needed to discern how authentic I felt this leading was. What caused me to finally transition?


I would have these vivid and recurring dreams involving holy garb from two fairly different religions: Judaism and Islam. They mostly centered around head coverings worn primarily by men.I would dream of Jewish kippot (yarmulkes) and Muslim taqiyahs (kufis). After the third or fourth time I received these dreams, I figured that they were signs that the Divine wanted me to change my outer self to more closely mirror the change in my inner self. It was not a quick switch, however.

Although I bought several kippot pretty early on, it took me about five or six months before I attained the level of plain dress that I am currently wearing. I originally thought that shopping only at Goodwill or other thrift stores would suffice. The clothing kept tearing and I was forced to buy more. It wasn't until this past weekend I felt that my plain was complete. The clothes are still from Goodwill but they now include suspenders.

So here I am. A Queer Quaker woman of color wearing a kippah, white dress shirt, suspenders, and solid colored pants. Several people have asked why I wear traditionally male clothing just to "prove" my faith. I can completely understand their curiosity. Honestly, I don't really know how to explain my reasoning to the wider world. I anticipate the time when I will finally be so humbled that I will have the courage to simply say "because my Lover and Friend requested that I do so".

Views: 256

Comment by Alice M Yaxley on 5th mo. 5, 2010 at 3:46am
Thanks for writing, Jess.
Comment by Patrick M. Dwyer on 5th mo. 7, 2010 at 6:40am
I feel as Plain Dress has come to you with age.The old saying'With age ..Comes wisdom" is my prevailing thought.For me; it would be waste of funds to buy and wear new,fancy and / or expensive clothes while ther are folks that have no food,or medicine,shelter,etc. As I got older I realized that was the face I wanted to put on my life.Not having people ask" Where did you get that...How much did it cost?".Somebody is bound to be in need of a dollar and I do not wish to be the face that further
drives home the Have or Have Not idea.
Do what your heart, soul and innerlight guide you to do and wear.I do not dress up.I am not comfortable in Suit or tie.I stick with my feelings because if I do not normally dress that way...why change and present a false image?
Comment by Robyn Josephs on 5th mo. 7, 2010 at 8:57am
follow your dreams Jess.
thanks for sharing the courage and Faith to be yourself
Comment by Stephen Willis Dotson on 5th mo. 7, 2010 at 2:03pm
Amen sister. Thanks for being faithful.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 5th mo. 12, 2010 at 5:39pm
Thank you for sharing, Friend. One way you might address your isolation due to your mobile lifestyle is to seek a meeting wherever you land even if you are there only for a brief time.


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