I feel like I’ve been a bit scarce recently. September is currently a really hectic time, Jewish holidays are literally taking up half almost half my week – every week. It’s a period of the High Holy days. Lots of time in shul, lots of introspection, and well, lots of eating too.
So you may or may not know, that for religious reasons I cover my hair (one day, I really think I’m going to write a blog post about it. It could be a long one though). Anyway. In South African Jewish society, most religious women who do cover their hair, do so with human hair wigs called Sheitels (I’m sure it’s Yiddish for something). Me, I can’t afford one of those, so I cover with beautiful scarves.
It’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but over time I’ve come to really appreciate what I do, and I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it. It’s not easy going from having long, curly, brown locks to seeing a colourful mound on you head, but I think I’m doing my best with the cards I’ve been drawn (or well, that I’ve chosen). Either way, I kind of stick out sometimes, even in shul – because most women either don’t cover their hair, or do so with these sheitels. While 95% of the time, I still think I look beautiful, there are the odd moments when I miss my hair and looking “normal”.
So we’ve been spending a lot of time in shul recently. We’ve been at a different one to our usual, as Greg kind of freelances with his fancy Torah-reading-and-shofar-blowing-skills which are in high demand at this time of year. So because I don’t have any friends (or people my age) at this community, I kinda sat in my assigned seat, doing my own thing, minding my own business.
And then one night after the service, an older lady told me how much she loved how I did my scarves. She loved how I matched them to my outfits, and the colours. I felt a bit proud of myself. And then the next night – another lady commented. She loved the height, the colours, asked me where I got it all from (the answer was Israel, of course). I felt like I didn’t stand out like a sore thumb. I felt like any other girl with a beautiful hairstyle or item of clothing.
This got me thinking about paying people compliments. So many times I see people, friends or even strangers, wearing something beautiful, wearing a great perfume or with a beautiful hairstyle. I might think to myself, or even comment to someone who I’m with how beautiful their clothes/perfume/whatever it is. Once at shul I absolutely loved a girl’s dress. I didn’t know her, but my friend said I should just tell her, she’d appreciate the compliment. I never did, I was far too shy and thought it was far too random and awkward. But I kind of wish I did, and I kind of wish I did this and paid compliments to people out of the blue more often.
It really could just make their day, and everyone deserves to smile.