Veiling. I began veiling back in 2008, because Poseidon asked me to. It started while I was still in Philly, and I veiled sporadically. When we moved to Oregon, I began covering full time. I’ve researched veiling as a religious practice in various traditions, I’ve played around with different types of styles and fabrics, I’ve watched pagan veiling grow as a movement, from a handful of pagans talking about it, to seeing hundreds of pagans talking about it.
I point to a number of reasons why I enjoy veiling. Eight years ago, it helped set me apart — and eight years ago or more I was big on being set apart. I envied monastics of various traditions who could don garments to make it obvious to the outside world that they were not like other people, that they were not for the typical, normal life that society ascribes to us. I wanted more than my wedding band, carved with Poseidon’s name (spelled wrong!) to set me apart. I’m no great beauty, but I’m friendly, and I’m short and I’m round and I can be cute, and now and again I do get hit on — and I wanted that to happen less. Wedding rings that don’t look like wedding rings are no discouragement, but veiling is. I look younger than my age, and people discount my life experiences — ageism is a thing, and it’s an annoying thing. It’s never okay to dismiss people because they’ve been alive a shorter amount of time than you have been, but it’s a special kind of galling when your peers do it to you, assuming you are ten or twenty years their junior. Veiling helped with that. I’m short, and people see me as approachable — and veiling helped with that, as well.
It also helped me take myself seriously, as a devotee, as a godspouse, and, sadly, as a woman and not a girl. It made me feel more like an adult than anything else has, and this has me wondering all about a lack of rites of passage in our society.
Veiling has helped me not care whether or not I blend into the crowd. This has been incredibly rewarding. I grew up a jeans and teeshirt sort of person, and it took veiling and a shove toward modest dress to get me to explore skirts and flowy clothing. For a while I wore these things exclusively. I’m back into jeans and tees, but it’s different now. I’m not doing it to hide, I’m doing it because it’s preferable (and I hate the way my sneakers look with skirts, and my gout insists on sneakers). I’m hard on my clothes, I hate shopping, jeans last longer, and I can wear the same pair over and over again. Mostly, I hate shopping.
It has helped me when in crowds. It’s helped me when in the sun. It’s helped me not worry about the fact that my hair is thin, has always been thin, and that female pattern hair loss is in my reality.
A lot of the things veiling has helped with, medication for the depression is also helping with. Crowds don’t bother me like they used to. Random people approaching me does not overwhelm me like it used to. On a practical level, I worry about veiling in our current political climate. People should be able to dress however the fuck they want, and taking off a veil that is tied to my religious experience because I’m intimidated has me wanting to say fuck you to anyone who thinks their opinion on how people dress, and for whatever reasons, matters one bit. I get to veil. Christians get to veil. Muslims get to veil. ANYONE GETS TO VEIL. But I can’t pretend I don’t worry.
On a less practical level: my veiling is so tied up with Poseidon-as-Poseidon, and I wonder/worry, is my associating my veiling for Poseidon tying me too hard to Poseidon-as-I-perceived-Him, and keeping me from going deeper with Him?
On a know-thyself level, I’m a creature of habit trying to become a creature who flows with change. Defaulting to veiling because I’ve done it for eight years, because everyone in my immediate surroundings expect me to do so, makes me want to stop. Or at least, not veil all the time.
On a fuck-vanity, keep it real level, I’m all about owning the fact that hey, I’m losing my hair, and maybe I want to try out some wigs, too. Fuck-vanity maybe should be telling me that I shouldn’t care that my hair is super thin, that you can see my scalp through it, but I’m telling vanity that I am the boss of me and if I want t wear fucking wigs, I can.
No decision happening immediately. Just, playing around with the thought. Mostly, I’m posting to tell my vanity to fuck off. I will not be embarrassed or ashamed that I have female pattern hair loss. I will not pretend it doesn’t exist, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to not talk about it like it’s taboo. My brothers went bald in their late teens/early twenties. I made it to nearly 40, and I can still at least attempt comb-overs. Women have facial hair. Women go bald. It’s not new, and it’s not taboo.