Like a jester serving the king, we are all trying to speak some truth into the world without losing our heads.
A gypsy just walked into Starbucks. A bandana covers his short hair while blue and white jewels line each of his cheeks. Long silver earrings with sparking stones hang from each ear. The front of his blue vest is covered with medals like those a military general might have earned from years on the battlefield. From his shoes to his umbrella, every item is black, white, or blue. A perfectly consistent costume to tell the world who he is and something that he cares about.
All of us have our costumes that declare who we are, or at least who we want others to believe we are. While my gypsy muse steps back out into the rain, I remain seated in my New Balance shoes, “Just one more” tank top, and bright orange Nike long-sleeved running top. I am telling others a story as well. I’m not sure what it is exactly so you will have to read their blogs to find out.
The costume I have always wondered about the most is those worn by women that cover their heads, sometimes their clothes, and sometimes even their eyes are hidden away. These religious pieces are intended to display devotion to god and preservation of virtue. But what does it feel like inside those layers of fabric. Do the women feel separated by the world? Do they feel connected through traditions that cross every country border? Do they fear walking out the door of prejudice assumptions? Do they worry about pursuing perfect? Or is the cloak an easy covering over physical or clothing flaws?
When all you can see is the eyes of another person, there is so much of the story unknown.
Today is World Hijab Day (http://worldhijabday.com). It is the sixth year for this annual event which encourages non-muslim women to wear a hijab for the day as a way “to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other.” Women who wear this covering every day face discrimination for their faith, or because others they are being forced into this dress by men in their country or family. For some women this forced restriction is real. And for some, this piece of clothing is a choice just like my decision to wear a “Forever” bracelet on my left wrist every day. It is part of their identity and has far greater meaning than just a piece of clothing.
#52sparks is my year-long writing series based on an art prompt challenge. The title is inspired by a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron). The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. So just imagine what hundreds of inches and words can do.