Pinheaded me

365 366 Day 51

Nobody has that much hair, right?

When I was wearing Plain dress and had long hair, I had a whole big pot of hairpins (still have them, not quite sure what to do with them; these ones were still new enough to go to the charity shop), both to do up my hair and to keep my kapps in place.  

I liked the appearance of Plain dress, its beautiful modesty and gracefulness, but I found it not simple.  The dresses, aprons, kapps and petticoats all needed ironing and took up a lot of space to store (and bag space when travelling).  The outer garments (cloaks, appropriate woollies etc) were relatively bulky.    

Washing and drying my hair (which is very thick) had to be planned and considered, especially if it all had to be pinned up again by the time I went out.  In short, I found Plain occupied more space in my life than I felt it should.  And it attracted attention constantly – everywhere I went people stared at me in the street.  

The way I dress now follows the same principles of modesty, humility, quietness, plainness, utility and simplicity; but more effectively (for me; others may find differently).  My short hair is quick and easy to wash and dry.  My clothes are fewer and occupy a small space.  I no longer own an ironing board and rarely use an iron.  Travelling is easy and light.  I’ve got rid of the big mirror for checking all was well.  I can walk through the world with the invisibility that comes naturally to me; no-one sees me any more. 

And, which is important to me, how I dress now doesn’t take up any head-space.  I was startled, dressing Plain, to discover how much time I and other ladies devoted to thinking about headgear and underwear, skirt length and fabric composition, sourcing bobby pins and sewing modesty panels on petticoats, Quaker styles and Amish styles and Mennonite styles &c.  I felt it was not really what I came here to do.  I also didn’t enjoy the put-downs and value judgements among modest-dressing women regarding other ladies dressing differently (in short skirts, short hair, leggings, skimpy tops and high heels).  Personally I don’t mind if people walk the world naked – I really do believe it is the heart that is the issue and the seat of holiness, and that dress codes do not reveal it. 

Having said that, if I had not dressed Plain awhile I would not be where I am now because this is where the path led me, and I would not have met some dear and interesting and in some cases admirable people.  I’m not anti-Plain now; I still find it attractive and still find it speaks to me.  I miss the way it admonished me every day, reminding me of gentleness, the teachable and submissive spirit, especially in relation to my husband.  I love the other aspects of Plain life - the candour, the frugality, the prayer, the implicit unity, the closeness to the land, the gelassenheit, kindness and humility, faith as the determining principle in all decisions, the rootedness in the holy Bible.  I think too, if someone is raised Plain it’s obvious and natural they dress to fit in.  And if someone feels called Plain, it’s right they submit to the heart’s call.   

Be all that as it may, obviously I no longer need the hairpins.