Starting a marriage is all about taking a relationship to the next level and with that comes a lot of adjustments. For me, the most remarkable adjustment of all didn't have a thing to do with the exciting new relationship I was in. No, my biggest adjustment occurred on my head. Navigating the new world of hair covering was quite the adventure and today I'm going to share what I wish someone had told me when I started covering my hair.
Dear Newlywed Self,
1. Sheitels get more comfortable
I promise. Just give it time, lots and lots of time. I know it looks like everyone else is carelessly, comfortably wearing a sheitel 24 hours a day without giving it a second thought. I know how lame you feel because sheitels aren't the comfiest things in the world. I know you think the problem is you. It isn't you, it's the second head of hair clipped onto your head. You'll get used to it, it'll become second nature and occasionally you'll even forget about the second head of hair covering your own. This is one of those areas where practice makes perfect, so keep up the fabulous work!
2. But not that comfortanble
Wearing a sheitel will never be as comfortable as going bareheaded and you're no worse than anyone else for feeling that way. EVERYONE FEELS THAT WAY! Sometimes you'll take comfort in the knowledge that part of why you cover your hair and cover it with a sheitel is that... you don't stop noticing the thing on your head. It keeps you aware of your marital status, the centrality of marriage in Jewish life and the importance of prioritizing and protecting your marriage.* Sometimes you'll take no comfort and cry about it instead. Do what you gotta do. Sometimes you'll just wear a tichel and that will be that and that is fine too.
3. Nobody's looking at your sheitel
Okay, maybe some people are, because they think it's a fabulous sheitel or because they're trying to figure out if it is a sheitel, because it's just so darned natural. Heck, some people just think you have amazing hair! And anyone who's looking for any other reason? Their opinion doesn't really count. Forget the haters. But for real? Most of that is in your head, because most people seriously do not even care what's on your head or even spend time thinking about your "hair". They don't care if it looks good, they certainly aren't obsessed with the "fact" that it looks terrible. Who do you think you are? Kate Middleton? Rachel Green? Hilary Clinton? People love to talk about how their hair looks, but you're the only one even thinking that much about your own. Get over yourself, kay? Kay.
4. Don't be so afraid to mess it up
Remember Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus? Take chances, make mistakes and get messy! Life is way more fun that way. You know you feel better about yourself in a sheitel than in a tichel, so why let a little precipitation rain on your parade? Hashem made umbrellas for a reason, right? Wear the sheitel, feel fabulous and chill -- it won't get ruined, promise. You wanna put that thing up in a ponytail? Try it. Add a headband, barrettes, a big bow? Go for it. Pigtails? Knock yourself out. Try curling it, straightening it, letting it air dry. Style it however you want and wear it as often as you like. Worst comes to worst? It'll need a wash and set a little sooner than usual. But really? It won't make much of a difference. Except for Curly, the long one that gets frizzy in a second. She's a handful.
5. No one cares what you cover your hair with or how much hair you show
You know that point about people not caring what your sheitel looks like? They also don't much care whether it's a sheitel or a tichel. I know, what you cover your hair with feels like a huge deal because you put love and care and time and effort into it, but no one else thinks twice about it. If some days you want to forgo the sheitel for a comfy tichel? Go for it. I know, other Lubavitch women only wear sheitels out but the only person you have to account to for your standards is you. You feel better in a sheitel, so it's great that you wear one, but if today a tichel's striking your fancy? Go for it. You don't have to answer to anybody. Same with whether or not you decide to show a few strands of hair. You are an adult, you make your own decisions, this is between you and G-d.
6. Have fun with it!
You couldn't wait to have fun covering your hair. You had no idea it would be so hard or how difficult you would make it for yourself by getting stuck in your head. But of all the mitzvos you have to keep, this is a FUN one. You have a bunch of different sheitels and a whole drawer full of scarves. You have hair accessories covering your dresser. You value the halacha and know your spiritual boundaries, but within them, the possibilities are endless!
*I want to emphasize that men and women should ideally both maintain this awareness, as men are equally responsible for prioritizing and protecting their marriages, but this post is directed towards women, so...