Tag Archives: modesty

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Because, as a woman, I must stand as a tribute to patriarchy no matter what my choices are, because choice is an illusion?  That is, according to the logic of some.

If I dress in a modern way, with heels and more revealing clothes, slut shaming is the rule of the day.  I’ll also garner far more sexual attention than if I were covered.  BUT, if I cover and dress more modestly, regardless of the history of abuse that caused me to make that decision in the first place, I am participating in patriarchal cultural norms.

Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do?

I often hear cries of “Embrace your body!  Don’t be ashamed!”. Yeah, no.  I’m not ashamed of my body.  My body is quite lovely, and if you saw it, you’d likely agree.  The point of my choice to cover is to remind myself first, others second, that my body is mine.  It belongs to me.  I took a dangerous stand against one specific male in my life who truly believed that my body belonged to him.  It didn’t.  It doesn’t.  It’s mine.  I cover my body because I don’t want him, or you, or anyone else looking at it.  Period.  End of story.  I don’t give a flying fuck if you think I’m doing it for the patriarchy.  I can’t change your mind.

When people decide they know better about how someone else ought to dress and feel about themselves, they are giving lip service to feminism, and nothing more.  When somebody tells you why they do this thing that you have decided is a failure in asserting their own claim over their own body, you’re just ignoring their lived experience.  You know better than they do.  They’re not feminist enough.  They’re brainwashed.  Etc., etc., etc.

Fuck you.  And fuck your elitist attitude.

Women have the right to wear what they please, and you may keep your opinions to yourself.  It’s not all black and white.  All covered women are not male tools anymore than all uncovered women are.  Cause, you know, Rebecca in her mini skirt is showing her legs.  Does that mean because men can see her legs that she is displaying her legs for their titillation?  No.  It’s 90 degrees outside and Rebecca is hot.  Also, mini skirts please Rebecca.  End of story.

If you see me and I am veiled, am I veiled because a man told me to?  Because obviously, I have no brain, or will, or agency of my own, right?  No.  I am veiled because it damn well pleases me to be veiled in public.  Because my body is mine, and I’ll do what I fucking want with it.  I will dress it however I fucking please, and I will speak up for your right as a human being to do the same.

You won’t hear me making value judgements on the way you choose to dress, because I am a real motherfucking feminist, who believes people can decide for themselves, based on their own lived experience, what is best for them, and what makes them feel empowered and most comfortable.

Take your goddamn feminist policing elsewhere.  Preferably back behind your own closed doors, where you can evaluate the reasons why you think you need to be the arbiter of other people’s clothes.

Bye, Felicia.

The Trap…

…Or, Why I Remain Committed to the Veil…

Each day that I awaken, greeting the Sun as it rises above this Land, I am made more aware of the divide which separates me from this society.  And I embrace that divide.  Why should I desire to be enfolded within a society which values only my female appearance, and only in prescribed ways?  I own this body, and if society had its way, I might be stripped naked in the street and shamed for not wanting to expose myself in modern clothing.

“Oh, that’s a little harsh, Columbine…”

Yeah, I hear many of you saying that to yourselves, not wanting to believe that anyone could make another person feel so unsafe.  Well, I’ve got news for you. Covered women don’t always feel safe.  Like many women, we have to deal with subtle forms of harassment, but dare I say that a woman who veils (barring Catholic nuns, since their position seems to afford them a wide breadth of respect from most people) often faces that harassment in much more blatant ways?

If I looked “normal” I could walk into any place around here and no one would bat an eye, for all that they might ogle my body.  However, dressed as I am, I can not “pass” for anything but “other”.  And that truly is the whole point of my attire.  I am other.  I am not of this world, and seeing that recognition become transformed into hostility, in a split second, is probably one of the scariest things I’ve had to experience on a regular basis.  And it’s gotten a lot worse since moving here.

I have things to do on at least a few days out of the month.  Things which require me to step outside of the protection and comfort of my home.  This is not the place I left behind, last year.  Not by a long shot.  The people here have more than a slight penchant for discrimination, and having read historical documents in the town library, I can confirm the reality of racial tension, even without relying upon my own experiences.

So, that’s three strikes against me already, as a black, veiled woman in this community.  If I didn’t have a backbone, I might cower indoors, indefinitely. *laughs*  Like that’ll ever happen.

I will not be bullied or intimidated anywhere, least of all on a public street, or in a public business.  Apollon is oh, so very clear on this.  I am to submit to no one but Him.  When a man gets that hostile glare going, I usually ask if there’s a problem. Mostly, they do not expect a veiled woman to have a voice, let alone the verbal skill to use it.  If they still insist upon looking, then I stare right back, unblinking, and wait for them to slink off into a corner where they belong.

But, wait, women aren’t any better at hiding their discriminatory tendencies. In fact, I’ve found women to be more likely to outright ignore my presence if they can get away with it.  It can really eat up your time when you’re standing in line, and four people are allowed to pass before you when a cashier opens a new register, only to be told to join another line upon reaching the front, because, well… because nobody wants to touch your ‘dirty black hand’.  They don’t say it, but the hesitation before taking anything out of my hands is pretty disgusting.

This is the community I moved into it.  It’s beautiful beyond belief, but it has many flaws, as do all places.  As do all people, myself included.  I believe I’ve said this a few times in the past, but I’m not perfect.  There are days when I want to tear this cloth off my head and just walk around like the “normal” women.

“Well, why don’t you, Columbine?”

Because, this thing I do, this veiling thing, isn’t one of those optional beauty choices, like whether or not I wear makeup.  The veil is absolutely necessary for me.  Even putting aside tradition and all of the energetic reasons for covering, such as control of empathy and minor shielding, and even setting aside Apollon’s command, I have reason still to cover.

Can you guess what that reason is?  It’s because this body is mine.  It is not a mannequin to be draped in the latest fashions, on the whim of whoever decided the new fall color-scheme.  It is not a sexual morsel, to be salivated over, or nibbled upon.  It is the tool I use to become a proper conduit of my Lord. Anyone who works with tools knows that they must be kept clean and orderly to maintain optimal functionality.  My body is no different.  And, like a knife that stays sheathed while not in use, so too do I remain covered.

This society is a trap.  One which I will not fall into, and I really do not care who agrees, or disagrees.  I will exercise my personal authority over my body, and I will not be left exposed to the elements around me.  Some people do better than others under these conditions, but I am obviously not one of those people.  And that’s alright, because everybody isn’t me, or even like me, and I thank the Gods for it.

GTFO!

A statement for anyone who thinks veiling women aren’t “real” feminists:

Get the fuck off my blog, right now!  Do not follow me!  I am a veiled fake feminist!  I will corrupt you with my covered hair, like some kind of tainted Jezebel!  Hide your liberated daughters!  I will teach them modesty!

Oh, no!  Oh, no!  It’s like walking back in time to a point when women were not expected to flaunt, and show their bodies to every man, woman and child on the street!  The horror!  It’s the end of the world as you know it, the total destruction of your post-feminist foundations!

Whatever will you do without the mad throngs of poor, oppressed, brainwashed little girls?  They will forever be doomed to their lives of servitude toward all those big, bad, mean, MALE Gods!

Weep now!  Weep for your daughters, for I will show them how to embrace their mortal femininity, without compromising Divine Masculinity!  Weep now, ye witches, for I am an example of uncompromising female assertiveness, who veils because it is my choice to cover the sacred body that was granted to me, by my Father, Zeus!  Weep!  And behold, as all that you know is torn asunder by the small, unassuming cloth on my head!  Mwahahahahahaha!!!

And… in case you haven’t guessed… that was sarcasm.  Except for the get the fuck out part.  That was real, but only if you think I’m not a “real” feminist because I cover my hair, and body.  Seriously.  GTFO.

Set Apart

I don’t look like the average housewife.  At least, I get that feeling from the people I interact with on a daily basis.  Perhaps it is the modest dress, the covering of the body and hair so as not to reveal the secret, inner beauty.  But then, there are a number of women here who cover, so that alone couldn’t be the reason for the long stares, and the accompanying strange expressions.

I get this everywhere I go.  At least one person has to look and gawk because they’ve never seen me before.  There is a certain something that follows and surrounds me, and that ineffable quality is in part the reason for the veiling itself.  People cover for different reasons, and I cover for a variety of them, but most of all, it is to spare the public from the experience of the fully exposed energies at play in and around my body.

One way to curb that energy, and its way of distracting people nearby, is to act in a way that draws little negative attention.  No attention at all is of course ideal, however, daily errands make it so that staying home to attract zero attention is not always optional.  Acting in this manner, for me, means grace, as I discussed in a previous post, as well as good manners and sociability.  I have to be able to open up to people in order to effectively communicate with them, but when I do, a bit of that secret beauty can be glimpsed.

In these circumstances, being set apart means I must withdraw behind a veil of detachment, in order to dispel any heightened interest.  Truly, my goal is to go out into the world, take care of my business there, and to ultimately be forgotten by those I’ve encountered.  My Work requires that I keep a low profile.  The spirits here are very private beings, who do not seek human attention.  If I am recognized, even remotely, and end up causing an inadvertent second glance from random passersby during an outdoors ritual, it upsets the Nymphs, and in this way hinders my ability to serve.

So, there is isolation inherent in this role.  There has been much recent talk of sacrifice on these varied Paths to the Divine.  One thing which I have consistently sacrificed for this Work, and for the favor of my Gods and spirits, is human companionship.  Sure, I have a human husband, but that arrangement offers only limited companionship, for he is not religious. And I have a child, but anyone who has children knows that they offer a very different type of companionship.  Mostly, motherhood is a job that never ends, and never goes away.

So, for me, there is work, and there is Work.  I have sacrificed all hope of casual friendships.  The few I’ve tried to cultivate over the last ten years all ended up being focused on the Work after only a few months.  All it takes is one request for divination, or Intercession, or some other spiritual activity.  Not that I mind.  I am called to this, but it is a lonely Path.

Something about the role of Queenship either makes people uncomfortable, or the complete opposite.  For example, when a stranger pours themselves out to me (either online, with the full knowledge of my Sacred Queenship duties; or on the street, randomly, with no knowledge whatsoever) in the hopes that I might be able to bridge some gap in their lives.  And they have the right to ask this is of me, for service is my intended role, but they can never, ever get too close.  As captivated as they might be, to know me is to touch my heart, and to touch my heart is to invite the wrath of Apollon into one’s life.  I am set apart, and none may know me. None may touch me, save for my Beloved Prince.

As a Queen, I’ve found that being set apart means two very important things.  The first, being that I am absolutely untouchable by ninety-nine percent of the people I meet.  And the second, is that I am to be seen as such by that very same ninety-nine percent of observers.

Therefore, I remain aloof, which sometimes earns a reputation for being unfriendly, or unneighborly.  But such is the way of things when you are set apart.  At least, such it is for me.  I belong to the Lord Apollon, and though I may be admired briefly, like a dazzling fireworks display, my sparkle is meant to fade from memory.

To Be Graceful…

Some days I wake up and feel so utterly boring and conventional. On such days, I never feel like anything I offer to my Lord is adequate.  I just feel that something is missing.

When I give food, I try to be mindful of the hours of work my husband has put into earning the check that paid for the food. When I give plants and flowers, I keep in mind the energy and time that went into the plant creating the leaves and/or blossoms. These things all have a signature, they were all first touched by other spirits long before coming into my possession.

What claim do I really have to the offering, if I am so far removed from the labor, and thus, the reward of love that is required to create it?  This thought kept bothering me, just nagging like crazy.  I finally had to sit down in a quiet space and really think about my choices.

I, first, must contend with having little free time to spend creating labor intensive votive offerings.  I try to grow what I can with a thumb that, sadly, was never green, but those few plants I do manage pretty much grow themselves, anyway.  So, what could I do?

Well, the number one lesson that Apollon has drilled into me, over and over again, is this:  Waste nothing.  If all I ever seem to have the time and energy (most days) to do is clean my house, balance the finances, educate the child, and cook outstanding meals… then I’d better damn well figure out how to do all of that, while at the same time pushing the limits of my spiritual discipline and dedication.

How many adorations or prayers can I speak out to Him while sweeping?  Can a reach an adequate trance state while washing the dishes?  Can I properly shield myself while out running errands?  Can I do it quickly?  Can I take it down again? Can I be aware of what, and Whom, is surrounding me?  Can I live my mundane life, while taking it a step further, into other Places? Can I cultivate a sense of oneness with my god, from the moment I awaken, to the moment sleep catches me again?

The answer is yes, and I’ve taken it further still, by tailoring every movement of my day (so far as I am able, with my coordination such as it is) toward efficiency and grace.

To me, this means in part, cleaning up in every room I enter into, and never leaving a mess to sit until I “feel like” fixing it. It also means keeping lists.  Lots of lists, so nothing gets forgotten.  But, even more than all of these, grace is the art of being graceful.

It means presenting a flawless curtsy to my Lord when passing by His altar.  It means standing and sitting with the proper posture, and walking lightly, almost delicately.  It means carrying a small, serene smile on my lips when I may be seen by others. Grace is a beautiful mask that hides every secret thought behind a screen of pleasantness. All of this helps me to create that comfortable distance between myself and the fast-paced world of humans.  It is only this veneer of distance, which allows me to fulfill my duties to the spirits, and to my gods.

And, of course, grace is also the knowledge of being in the presence of the Divine, and the feeling of love and warmth that surrounds whenever I don the veil.  Grace is beauty. Grace is efficiency. Grace is modesty. Grace is the naturally flowing course, because my life is so touched by the gods.

But, of course, I know all of this will mean different things to different people, and that my life will never measure up, by some standards. However, it is not my place to care about the biases of others. I will simply do my Work, and in the doing, shall be graceful.