I’m not even a grad student and this was so refreshing to me. I have a feeling some people need to hear this….
Okay, so I know that people feel really bad about asking me why I do what I do. It’s awkward, I know, because you don’t want to offend me or make me feel uncomfortable, etc. And when you do get courage enough to ask, you can’t really retain my explanantion. No problem. I’m just gonna save us all a bunch of headache and awkwardness by writing it all down here for you. You can come back to it whenever you want or just browse to get the gist or whatever. This is for your convenience and my comfort. 😉
1.) The Whole headcovering thing….Why?
~Okay, this is such a controversial issue, I’m going make it brief and simple here. You see, I’m a christian, and there’s this little passage in the Bible (1Corinthians 11:1-16) that speaks on head coverings for men and women (that men aren’t to have one when they pray/prophesy and women are to have one when they pray/prophesy). I believe this is speaking of a literal covering, contrary to popular modern belief. Why I believe that is far too complex for right here, so, I’m sorry–you’ll just have to ask me that, if you’re interested. But be prepared to spend a while listening….
Now, that’s not actually why I do what I do–it’s only part of it. In order to not have to worry with the question of “when” and all that, I wanted to wear a covering full time. When I looked at our sister religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all Abrahamic religions), I noticed that both orthodox jewish women and orthodox muslim women have head coverings that completely cover their hair. I was intrigued. I admired it for some time until I decided to imitate it. You see, I find that my primary beauty lies in my hair. It is possibly the very first thing you notice on a girl, and this may be the most true for me. So, I decided to save it–tuck it away and bury it like hidden treasure–for my husband one day, when I get married. It can be just one of those things that is his and only his. If he asks me not to wear the covering like I do, I’ll listen. It’s for him, afterall. But, for now, this is what I do. It saves me the hastle of worrying about 1Cor. 11 while simultaneously giving a small offering of love to my husband, among other things. ^~^
I chose this particular style of head covering because it seemed to make me and the people around me most comfortable and because I liked it. 🙂
2.) So, what’s with the way you dress??…
~This is fairly simple. I can summarize it in one word: comfort. I am simply WAY more comfortable wearing pants underneath skirts/dresses. It makes me feel secure, sure, comfortable, covered, and flexable. I can sit however I want whenever I want without worry of immodesty or discomfort. I can cartwheel, run, jump, wrestle, or whatever without any cares or worries. I also feel prettier when I dress this way. I think it suits me….
This style was inspired by muslim women. I remember wrestling with the tension between modesty and comfort–What is modesty? And how far do I have to go/what do I need to do to be comfortably modest? These were the questions I wrestled with. Being from a conservative Free Will Baptist background (with a conservative grandmother as my role model) I was just wearing long skirts at the time. But I was so miserable and kept wrestling with the worries of falling over or being active, etc. Then, one day, while mulling over muslim women styles and such like them, it suddenly dawned on me that I could wear shorts/pants UNDER my skirts/dresses! This may seem odd to you (and for good reason), but it was a revelation to me. I have no idea why it took me so long to come up with this simple solution, yet I have never looked back since….
3.) Ummm….You’re missing an earring, sweetie….
~You have no idea how many times I’ve been told this. The truth is, I only wear one–one in my left ear. Why? Well, this is a little complex, but stay with me, okay?
It’s another one of those Bible things, but not a command or even a suggestion–it’s just a story that I imitated.
I wear one earring as a symbol that I chose to stay with my Master (God), like the jewish servants in the Old Testament who chose to stay with their masters instead of being sent free; servants who were then taken aside in a ceremony and an aul driven through their ear as a sign of their free-willed servanthood (Exo. 21:1-6; Deu. 15:12-18).
If that hebrew slave said, “Wait a minute! I love it here. I don’t want to leave!” then you were supposed to go through this whole ceremony and pierce his ear. Building upon this passage with jewish traditions and histories I’ve picked up, if you saw a servant with his ear pierced, you would think, “Oh. He chose to stay here. He loves his master.”
In the same mindset, when I was bought by Christ’s blood and He set me free from sin, I chose to stay with Him and serve Him, because where else would I go? So I wear an earring in my left ear to symbolize that I chose to stay with my master. I love Him. 🙂
The passage doesn’t specify a particular ear to pierce, but I chose my left one in order to not be confused with another popular symbol/sign….
4.) …and the backpack?
~One word: utility. Guys, I’m not joking: I have electrical tape, an umbrella, a small pair of sewing scissors, a miniature sewing kit, a pair of tweezers, a coin case, a pocket knife, napkins, hand mirrors (one more magnified for difficult situations), a pair of socks, and even a pair of chopsticks in my backpack! Plus other things, like pens (always). I did this because of years of biking and meeting people (or being that person) who needed a specific tool for a job. I helped several people out by having just what was necessary. I broke one of the earpieces off my glasses once and simply taped it back together with the electrical tape until months later when I finally got new glasses. No joke. And safety pins and ponytails! How many times have those come in handy? Not to mention napkins! Yeah. Utility. Strangely, the one thing I haven’t really had to use yet is the umbrella…..?
I recently started travelling with both the backpack and a purse so that I would have the utility stuff with me but would not necessarily have to lug it around in the mall or wherever. So my shoulder doesn’t kill me in my sleep for abuse. XP
5.) I’m almost afraid to ask this, but why do you move your hands like that when you talk?
~This is a fairly recent tag-on, so you may not have noticed it yet.
Believe it or not, it’s sign language (ASL, with some Shuwa, which is Japanese Sign Language)! This was spawned by my watching a Japanese anime (Koe no Katachi, or as it’s translated: “A Silent Voice” or “The Shape of Voice”) about a deaf girl. I was deeply moved by her always having to ask what others were talking about and wanting them to write it down so she could know and/or join in. It made me think about how left out deaf people must often feel. So, I figured: if I’m already talking with my hands anyway (seriously, I move my hands a LOT when I talk), I might as well be actually communicating something with it. That way, if any deaf person is watching, they can at least get half the conversation. ^~^ It also helps me learn the language, and I’m a linguist–language learning is top priority. Not only that, but I also get the added benefit of thinking before I speak. It takes me a pretty minute to think about how to sign what I’m trying to say. In that time, I can think carefully about what it is I’m saying and how that may be received and whether it is worth saying at all. It may save my social neck someday…. 🙂
I can’t “speak” sign language too well yet, so I don’t do it all the time right now. But I’m trying to build that and be able to verbally communicate swiftly while signing at the same time….
I think that just about covers it. If you have any other questions about my quirkiness, go ahead and comment below! I’ll address them there and maybe in another article (or I’ll edit this one later). I hope this helped some people out. ^~^ Thank you for your time and patience. They are deeply appreciated….
Please have a pleasant day! ~♪
I used to think that the godliest thing I could do was to express my opinions in relaxed ways and show everyone how gracious, Christ-like, and wise I was. Stupid idea, I know, but I thought it. Unfortunately, I employed this tactic many times and was flabbergasted to find that no one ever bowed down in awe and reverance at my immense understanding and grace. Haha. I never understood at all. Now I know that my first and foremost concern shouldn’t be to express my opinions at all, but rather to listen to others and have a heart for them. Not to speak, but to listen. It’s funny. My parents have been telling me that for years and I always thought it was a dumb idea. How can you win people without words? Now I realize that we don’t win people– God does–and we definitely don’t win them with many words and no concern for listening. We are simply to be living examples of Him to others, to walk with them through their struggles and triumphs, or as some people say: “to do life with them’. People are His passion. We are called to live that passion out.
It’s interesting to me that I never seem to grow out of some of my immature views of God and His will. Like how I somehow still often employ that holier-than-thou tactic as if it’s worth something. Sometimes, this really stresses me out. I look back on my actions, slap my hand to my forehead (ow), and say, “Kegan, you idiot! What were you thinking?!” Of myself, honestly. I start stressing over what those people must think of me now or how what I said came across to them or about how I could make amends. But you know what? It doesnt matter. It’s okay. ‘Cuz I’m a mess. We all are. And sometimes, people are going to permanently etch the holier-than-thou sentiment or some other broken impression of me into their minds as their thought of who I am. And I’m sorry for that, but there’s nothing I can do but love them imperfectly. I’ll never be Jesus, but I can sure keep training my heart to see others as He does. So, do I have ulterior motives? Often, yes. But you’ll need to forgive me. I’m a young fool whose a bit hard-headed with much to learn. Do I love you? Always. And you know what? I think that’s kind of how it’s meant to be until we’re made perfect. Every little time we forgive someone, we experience Christ, and as we grow deeper in love with others, we get to know Him better. So, it’s okay. I’ve learned that the heroes in my life don’t really have capes or super powers, and they’re not all that I thought they were. They let me down. We disagree. They hurt me. Again and again. And you know what? That’s okay. Cuz they love me imperfectly. And I’m enjoying that. In the end, we can laugh about it, and experience more of Christ together. Is it always easy? God knows, no. But it is what it is, and there’s something freeing about that….
My family has been going through the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series for family night. It’s been really fun, but more than that–it’s been very enlightening. And I’m not talking eastern mysticism. I mean truth. We recently finished the series, and this article is about a specific scene on the very last disc, so–I’ll only say this once–SPOILER ALERT!!!
Zuko was an amazing character. He was really childish at first. I didn’t like him–he didn’t even look cool with that ridiculous ponytail making his scar stick out like a sore thumb. But as the series went on, I grew to appreciate his pain and struggle, because it was relatable. He was meant to represent the very essence of the struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil. And, honestly, I think the writer(s) did a pretty good job with that. There’s not always an easy answer or a clear path. And we all have scars from past wounds. Usually from someone with our last name….The madness and mental instability, the pain and struggle–that’s relateable. Now, this story was made for children, so we can scream out the obvious right answer from the sidelines (like he can really hear us) and think of him as an idiot for choosing darkness–AGAIN. But, when we take a look at our own lives, when it is us on stage with everyone else on the sidelines, we realize that it’s not so easy to see the big picture. All we can see is what’s right in front of us. Everything else gets lost in the moment. We choose the dark far more often than Zuko, honestly. We are far more dual than we care to admit….
I have acted in plays before. I can tell you that there’s this funny feeling I get when I’m up on stage. It’s like my mind goes completely blank, and it’s only because I’ve carved my lines into my mind that I can remember them at all. Everything feels kinda hazy–like I’m doing everything on-the-fly. No practice, no prep, it’s all me in my bare nakedness, just winging it and hoping I don’t ruin everything. I can sit back and laugh at that now, because I’m not standing on a stage. Or, rather, because I don’t see the stage I’m standing on. Yet aren’t I doing the same exact thing every day of my life? I’m just flailing around, trying to get my lines right, messing things up A LOT, and just hoping that, in the end, it’ll all come together and touch the audience somehow. The world is my stage, and I’m a character in this play whether I want to be or not. If you watched my life, you could sit back and yell at me from the sidelines about what an idiotic decision I’m making and how it’s so obvious I should be doing something else (and, believe me, you’d be doing that a lot), but, like Zuko, I get lost in it all and I’m just trying to make it, struggling between the darkness and the light, never really understanding which one is going to satisfy me, even though the answer is obvious. In the end, though, like Zuko, I choose the light. But not before a lot of scars are made and a lot of people are hurt….
Despite Zuko’s folly, I grew to love him as a character. Sure, he WAS pretty childish, but remember he was still basically a child. He was terribly sorry for all he had done, but there was nothing he could do to make it right. His suffering would not make it right. Good works would not make it right. Correct philosophy could not fix the damage. What does one do when they kneel before the one they’ve hurt and there is nothing–NOTHING–they can do to fix it?
The answer is only that mercy is necessary. Because vengeance, violence, suffering–these things will not heal. They will only worsen the pain. So, the answer is obvious. You are at the victim’s mercy. Literally. You must be at their mercy. They have to let go of the past and grow something new in its place….
And that moment, when Zuko knelt before his uncle, tears streaming down his face, begging Iroh to forgive him for all his foolishness–that moment as Iroh clutched Zuko tightly in his arms, tears streaming down his own face–that moment when Zuko was unworthy but found grace–it struck a chord with me. It resonated with my own heart. Because, there I was, kneeling before the One I had betrayed, the One who had loved me, cherished me, grown me, cared for me–I was kneeling before the One whom I had hurt the most, tears streaming down my face, begging for forgiveness–and I found grace. I could have wept. The moment was moving for me. It touched me deeply. This was no children’s tale. It is the story of every prodigal son who ever knelt before their Father figure and found grace. Countless lives, innumerable souls, all finding the same grace He extends freely to everyone who will take it. Because, like Uncle Iroh with Zuko, God loves us deeply and only wants what is best for us. He sits there by our side while we drive around madly on a wild goose chase, going a 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction, and He sighs, trying to steer us the other way. But we don’t listen. He stays with us as, time after time, we fail in our endeavors to bring satisfaction to our souls and honour to our name, and He tries to tell us the answer. But we don’t listen. He leaves us in silence as we fume and rage, trying to find our own way. He weeps with our weeping, rejoices for our small gains, and ever watches, heavily, as we choose darkness over and over again, betraying Him with our every step….And, after we have run our last mile, worn out all our efforts, and come to our wits’ end, He whispers to us softly the hard truth. It is then that the paths diverge….
Some of us, as Zuko did, will ultimately choose the light, and will come weeping before Him with all our shattered pieces, expecting all the well-deserved wrath to be poured out on us. But, instead, He wraps us up in His arms, weeping for our ultimate return to Him, cherishing our very being, though we’ve hurt Him more than we’ve hurt anyone else. He gives grace, and, ultimately, He will let us rule with Him in a new kingdom of prosperity and peace and love….
Yet others will be Azula, choosing the maddening darkness until their very last breath, and meeting the ultimate ruin of their own selves, because they would not heed the light. For all my lack of care for Azula throughout the series, in that last moment, when she is wailing and squalling like a small child, trapped and helpless, at her literal wits’ end, I had nothing but pity for her. I wanted to help her, but there was nothing left to help….
As for the Fire Lord, well….We know his end. His power will ultimately be taken away, to do no more harm to anyone ever again….
For now, I’m still on the stage. I’m still flailing and wandering. I’m still being clutched in my adoptive Father’s arms, still weeping because the pain is yet too near, the struggle yet too real. I am still often betraying Him, yet I find a neverending supply of grace. He has every right to be angry–to eliminate me–but He chooses to love and forgive me instead. And that brings healing. That brings redemption. Because of that, I am being made new. And this, my friend, is the greatest redemption story ever. 🙂
***DISCLAIMER: Images used in this article are not mine! They are strictly the porperty of their original poster….***