It's been a year since I started covering my head 99% of the time with tichels, or scarves. I have nothing against hats or wigs, I just prefer the scarves for now. I've had mixed feelings about it and some days were harder than others. Yet here I am, one year later, still here to tell the tale.
What I've Liked
I love the scarves, I love the various colors, textures, and patterns. I love learning to tie them in different ways. I love how fresh I feel wearing them. I love that I'm following a beautiful mitzvah. I love that even though some women don't wear them, they have still been supportive along my journey. I love coordinating my scarves to my clothes and that getting dressed each day includes the scarf or tichel on my head. It feels like I'm swaddled and comforted. I feel more secure and focused and am reminded all the time of the Holy One, B"H!
What I Don't Love
Though I love the scarves, wrapping, and especially the way it looks, there are things that I don't love. The main thing is the general public. People still stare and I've learned to hold my head up, proud that I'm doing something that is important to me, and happy because my husband actually does like it. I have taken advice of a wise woman who told me to just smile. I haven't loved the fear I have of being treated differently because of the scarves. Also, some of my non-Jewish friends and relatives find it odd and oppressive and cannot seem to understand or respect it at all. I can't do anything to change other people's mind but hopefully in time they can learn to tolerate it at least. That's it, those social aspects are the only things I don't love about wearing scarves.
What I've Learned
I've learned some interesting things during this year of transition. This discussion and concept of head covering can be quite controversial. It seems to automatically label someone as a "certain type" of person. It seems to me that many people have misunderstandings about head coverings and the people who wear them. A religious person is valuable and intelligent. Just because a woman or man covers their head does not mean they are dumb, prude, mindless creatures. It is actually a reflection of respect and dignity. On the other side of the token some people think head-covering-people judge non-head-covering-people. This is simply not true! If you see me joyfully wearing tichels, it's not any kind of judgement about people who don't wear them. It simply is my personal observance and expression of this aspect of my beliefs and practices.
I have learned to be more confident about standing for what I believe in. I still have growth on this point. I don't know of anyone who is immune to the fear of judgement and of being different. Sometimes though, we can positively influence the world around us by being true to who we are and what we believe. Standing up for what we stand for in a constructive way can bring a positive change and even help others to feel free to venture out of their comfort zone.
So go ahead, get out of your comfort zone and try something you have wanted to try. Just because it's not popular now doesn't mean you shouldn't lead the way. We must remember that we are all free beings and respect our differences peacefully. If you don't understand something, ask questions, research the topic but please don't prejudge someone based on assumptions. Get to know the person you are tempted to judge then you can decide what you think of them.
So in conclusion, 1 year later I'm still tichel tying and going strong.