Wednesday, September 12, 2007


What does one say when one feels compelled to express a concept that is not quite clear in one's head but that presses tightly against the heart? I've been trying to find the right words to express a growing sense of becoming...of moving from one stage of life to another. My inability to articulate and define this process depresses me. I am stumbling around it and fumbling with it but unable to express it and yet I know that I must continue worrying it, turning it, fermenting it. I am growing into it without words...letting my body tell stories in which my mind cannot share--inarticulating.

I find myself giving away bags and bags of my clothing. First I rid myself of clothes that do not fit and clothes that I never liked. Then one day, I purged my closet of most items with colors and patterns leaving only a few solid colored, plain items and a few old favorites. Later, I began to purge even this remnant. Meanwhile, I began spending time looking at Quaker blogs related to plain dress and seeking expressions of Neo-Pagan plain dress. What would Neo-Pagan plain dress look like? I began to crave practical shoes, long dark skirts and dresses and aprons. I ordered kerchiefs on-line and when they arrived, I wore them with great relief. I keep thinking of myself as marked. What does this mean? I found that when I wear "worldly" or "conventional" clothes, I feel almost panic-stricken.

I can no longer stand to wear short skirts. When I try to wear pants, I feel bizarre and emotionally uncomfortable. I scramble back into long skirts and find that I can breathe again. When I must teach courses at the community college, I do not wear my kerchiefs although my clothes are very drab indeed. I attempt to compromise with clothing that can "pass" as conventional if still rather plain-looking. But, oh, wouldn't it be something to walk into class in a bonnet and apron!

I am a Neo-Pagan and am now attending a Quaker meeting. I am a leftist and a feminist. These things I know how to articulate. But there must be something else that is moving me toward plain dress, something that is of me but which is not yet fully discovered. I feel its pull as a physical sensation, a compulsion, a leading, a passion, a hunger. I do not understand it though I feel it in my gut. "Think with your head, not with your gut," my father always told me....but I feel these irrational things whirling around like sand in a plunge pool, coarse bits of chaos cutting smooth and graceful lines into the rock.

1 comment:

Ravin said...

Just wanted comisserate. I'm gradually finding ways to articulate why, as a neo-Pagan in a tradition that has no, well, tradition for something like plain dress and no modern practice of head covering, I feel called to both.

I try to follow the spirit that leads me. It's the best that any of us can do. I'm really enjoying reading your blog, btw. Since I found your post about plain dress last night I've been reading it all the way through!