Hair covering butterfly

In thinking about my new (sometimes) practice of covering my hair:

I’m comparing it to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. It has to cover itself up in order to transform.

The funniest thing is that it is the easiest way to color my hair. I can have blue or purple hair quite easily and change it very simply. No chemicals, no risk.

I’m of mixed opinions as to people commenting on it. Most people say that they like it and I like to think that what they see is not the covering or the color but they like the fact that I am transforming myself and trying to make myself better than I am. I like to think that what they’re noticing is my practice of self-improvement rather than my fashion sense.

I’m being transferred to a small library in a very close community. I feel that it is very conservative. I’ll be under the microscope for a bit, from the staff as well as the patrons. They are very protective and proud of their library, and they don’t want some stranger in there. I’ll have to let them know early on that I’m OK. Sticking out isn’t going to work.

Nothing sticks out more than covering your head, but it is for religious and modesty reasons. Thus, even though it is unusual, it is unusual in a very conservative way.

I have to work every Saturday now, unless I ask off. That will be tricky, because there are only three people in the branch. There isn’t any wiggle room. Sure, they can borrow from another library in the cluster if needed. I hear it is slow enough that two people can run the library with no problems. This is amazing to me since having just two people in my department was an emergency in my previous library. My department was one of three in that branch.

I’d started covering my head at the library on the Saturdays I work about four months ago. It was my way of remembering that Saturday was the Sabbath, and keeping it different and special. I’d cover at home on my weekends off. I worked every other Saturday on average. It was awkward when I was at work. I got asked questions, people would comment. Generally they liked it. They didn’t really understand, but they were kind. Explaining something as personal as a religious conviction is hard. I had to explain it and get it approved by the branch manager because there is a library policy against head covering (except for religious reasons). I only stuck out at work 26 days a year because I only covered at work every other week on Saturday. Working every Saturday at the new place, I’m going to stick out more.

I remember Jesus says that we should not make our piety obvious. We should pray in private, and not show others our religious acts. They are to be seen by God, not others. Jesus also worked on the Sabbath, and said that the Sabbath was made for us, not the other way around. Jesus also reminds us of the words from the prophet Hosea – “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

So should I worry about working every Saturday? Is Saturday the Sabbath, or is Sunday? Do I have to take a full day off from work to rest, or am I covered if I’m doing God’s work? Should I cover my head or not?

This is all a work in progress.

I think like Jacob, we are praised for wrestling with God. God wants us to actively engage with our faith and our practices. God wants us to be mindful and fully alive. Our practices should draw us closer to God and to other humans. If they put up walls, then we have to stop.

For now, I’m going to modify how I do it. I have seen that opinions vary as to if women are to cover all their hair, or just their head. It is not a commandment to cover – just a tradition, inferred from a story in the Hebrew Bible. In the Christian texts, Paul has his own things to say about it, but Jesus is silent on the matter. So I see it as optional – if it draws me closer to God and reminds me to be kinder to others, then it is good. Since I can’t see my headcovering, it is the pressure of it that reminds me to modify my actions. I can achieve that pressure by tying the tichel like a headband. I’ll be covering my head, getting the pressure as a reminder, but my hair will be exposed as it falls from the back.

I’ll see how this works out. Hopefully it will be seen as a fashion statement and not a religious one. I’m not doing this to make other people change their ways. I’m doing it to change my own.

Library rules are for everybody.

Yes, that sign applies to you. Yes, that rule is for you. You aren’t above it.

Don’t park in a no parking zone, even if it is for “just a minute.”

Don’t use your cell phone in the library. In fact, don’t use it in
any business. They don’t want to hear what you are going to do this weekend or what you did last night, and with who.

The overdue fees apply to you, the same as everybody else. Really. I know it is hard to believe. You aren’t special. Well, you are special, just like everybody else.

Asking for special favors or an exemption is really rude. It draws negative attention.

You may think it can’t hurt to ask, but it can. It can make people resent you.

It says that you think you are special, that you are above the rules.

Recently there was a patron who bought some earrings from me, so she had my card. My card has my email address and my personal phone number on it. She turned some books in late and wanted me to “take care of it” She said I should do it “because we are friends.”

Now, I don’t know what her definition of “friend” means, but if all the interaction we have had is over some jewelry, we aren’t friends. If we’ve never hung out or been over to each other’s house, we aren’t friends. We don’t even exchange Christmas cards.

If she had a legitimate reason for wanting the fines waived I would have done it, and not because we are “friends”. You know, something big that would have prevented her from returning or renewing her books on time – like she was in the hospital. Or a car crash. Something unavoidable. But just couldn’t be bothered to bring them back on time, no. That isn’t a valid reason for waiving fines.

Not only did she call me, she emailed me about this. I said I couldn’t do it and gave her the customer service number for the main library. If they want to do it, fine. As for me, I think it sets a bad precedent. Do whatever you want and have no repercussions. Get someone else to clean up your mess. Don’t be accountable for your actions.

That isn’t the mark of an adult.

Now, while the library doesn’t actually keep any of the money it makes
from fines, that isn’t the point. If we are going to waive fines for everybody who asks us to, then what is the point of having fines? What is the point of having due dates then? People can keep a book out for as long as they want and anybody else who wants it can just wait until they bother to bring it back.

Rules are good, and rules are for a reason.

People don’t like rules when they stop them from doing whatever they want.

Yes, you have to have your library card or your ID to check out. It doesn’t matter that you have been in every week since the library opened. It ensures that we are in the correct account. Rules keep us safe. The same person who gripes that he can’t just tell you his name instead of showing his card will raise holy hell if something, or worse, a hundred somethings, are checked out on his account that he didn’t check out.

That is why we have rules, and why we apply them equally to everybody. Otherwise, we are being discriminating, and that is illegal.

Losing my job is not worth coddling people.