Thursday, March 24, 2016


This week, my head is doing things with layers. And it’s the layers of my geekdom intersecting for some interesting theology going on.

Part the first: My Hebrew Scriptures professor had a thing about emphasizing the Covenant. (This is unsurprising if you know she’s a Presbyterian pastor – they have a thing about the Covenant.) The ancient contracts between God and Noah, God and Abraham, God and Moses, and the ancillary implied and explicit contracts of God with their descendants and peoples fuel so much of the history of Israel as people and nation. Our God is a God of relationships, and many of those historical relationships are defined in terms of abiding by or breaking the contracts formed on an individual and corporate basis.

Part the second: English Common Law enshrines the Quarter Days, those days when people are hired and fired, when contracts start and end, debts settled, and rural courts are in session. Lady Day (Mar 25), Midsummer (June 22), Michelmas (Sept 29), and Christmas (Dec 25) marked transitional days from roughly the 12th century onward. Yearlong contracts, multiyear contracts, purchases/sales, real estate contracts and leases tended to begin on Lady Day, to the point that it was the beginning of the English fiscal year.* This makes sense, because it’s just before planting, travel is relatively easy, and everything else is starting to grow. So, traditionally (in the sense of Good Anglican Tradition, or the similar one that lives in my head as a medievalist) contracts, especially long term contracts, are supposed to start and end on March 25.

 There is a strong conservative theological tradition of Christ being the fulfilment of the covenant – neither we nor God can make a larger sacrifice or pay the contracted price in a more significant manner than what happened/will happen on Good Friday, and this year, that happens on Lady Day. So my layers really involve the beginning and ending and rewriting of the long term contract on the day that all contracts begin, end, or when the terms are rewritten. Christ’s death stamps a giant PAID IN FULL on the bottom of the covenantal contract between God and Israel…and also begins a different contract, terms spelled out previous to payment by payee (Christ) on behalf of mortal parties to contract, by and between said mortal parties and God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, etc. (God). Said terms and provisions to be held as contract in perpetuity by all parties, the participatory involvement of mortal parties being a matter of Free Will, predestination, or none of the above, case to be adjucated at a later future date to be determined.

 *Is still kinda the beginning of the English fiscal year. When the calendar shifted from Greogorian to Julian, the date shifted to April 6. However, the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary stayed on March 25.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Having a discussion via twitter sparked something in my head today. It might be the pain meds talking, we’ll see.

A few years ago, I wouldn’t have been on the pain meds. Despite the steady worsening of the auto-immune issues, I relied on naproxen and tylenol when things hurt…which was more and more frequently. I started with a new primary care doctor, who said, “Wait. How much are you taking? How often? Here, please go see the lab, because your poor, poor liver.”

I knew I hurt. I knew I hurt worse and worse, but I didn’t realize just how much I’d given up and pulled into a shell because of the pain until we tried some new therapies. And while the pain didn’t go away, it did get drastically better. I am incredibly lucky in my medical team, in that they listen, they hear my concerns, and try to address them.

Even so, I’m only “passing” as able bodied, in the language of the queer community, and I’m passing less and less. I don’t even bother to try in airports – flying takes it out of me in very bad ways, but for less duration than driving. I have what is called an invisible disability; unless it’s a really bad day, I try not to use assistive devices. That doesn’t mean what I can do isn’t curbed by the inability of my body to function. Also, I’m really good at concealing the braces – being a girl means I can get away with long skirts, and winter means long sleeves that come down over my knuckles.

All this means I now identify as disabled, just like I identify as female. While my life looks relatively “normal”, with job and hobbies and partner, my energy reserves are carefully allocated because so much goes towards dealing with my chronic illness and managing to function despite pain, rather than without pain. I have to make choices every morning, and every afternoon, and every evening – what needs to be done, what can I do, what can be put off until tomorrow.

I might get cranky when I am told that I’m not actually disabled or disabled “enough”. I’ve heard it from employers, coworkers, acquaintances, disability advocates, and other, more seriously disabled individuals.
No, I don’t get the same level of blatant discrimination – doors slammed in my face, slurs and derogatory language, my access to services denied because I am unable to walk in the door or converse intelligently with service providers.  I can hold down a “real job”.

I also get slammed with “but you don’t look disabled!” as I try to explain my limitations or take advantages of services I need. My language is policed and my concerns dismissed by people who should really know better, because I’m really an able-bodied person who is just playing for the sympathy.

I wish.

One of the side effects of chronic pain is depression – watching as your world narrows, frustration that your body won’t let you be normal, and the wearing, draining nature of the pain itself as it always is eating at the back of your mind, taking processing power. This is my world, and I have to fight on days like today not to let the pain define it, from waking to sleeping. I am not just a disabled person, a sick person – I am a seamstress and a jeweler and a maker of things, a realtor and a researcher, a friend and a partner.

It’s really hard to remember those other things I am, and it gets even worse when I’m told the piece I’m fighting against, that I’m struggling to not let take over my world? That piece, is illegitimate, fake, not really that bad.

Don't do that.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

For the love of Pete

As a culture, we're back to talking about forgiveness, who should forgive and when and why and oh boy.

This has been a hard week. It has been a week of shock and pain and tears, and also a continuation of the horrors of white privilege and entitlement perpetuated upon people of color. Being a bleeding heart liberal, my heart has not stopped bleeding since Mike Brown’s body was left in the street as every week has brought new horror, and I am not a member of the community being attacked. I can only imagine the lives of people of color, living with this reality every single day, for experiencing 300 years of this country’s hate and superiority complex.

Listening to the families of Charleston explain to the shooter that they forgive him - that’s powerful grace. It’s not going to be that simple, because they have only started to process the events at Mother Emmanuel. But it is a statement of intent, of a goal. It is a grace that is deeply rooted in our shared faith, and I can only admire them for it.

The statement of some of the families that they forgive what has been done to them and to their loved ones is their choice. They have listened to the words of Christ, and refuse to hold hatred. Not everyone can make that decision. If the anger is too deep, the hurt still too strong, and all of it too closely held, then that’s not a viable choice. Saying the words won’t make it so. It shouldn't be delayed forever, though.

Forgiveness is fucking hard. It’s a process - every time the event is triggered in memory, you need to make that choice again. Again and again and again. Sometimes you can only remember that it hurts, can only remember what it feels like to be a victim, to shudder as the event rips through your heart, opening all the scars to bleed. It’s going to happen.

You think Christ didn’t know this anger, the feeling of betrayal by the world? Did you read all the crap that goes down in Holy Week? How could people he knew and loved do these things? How could people say it was their faith in God that lead them to perpetrate crimes against his friends, family, himself? From the Temple to Judas to Peter to the Cross, he found persecution, betrayal, and death. He was wounded, by lashes, nails, and feeling totally, achingly alone in the world, all others lost. It’s part of the theology of the cross that Jesus didn’t, doesn’t, forget, but forgives, constantly, the wounds inflicted.

These are real wounds, even if they’re unseen. They should be acknowledged as such. And I can assure you that these families will never forget getting that phone call on Wed night, the feelings of helplessness and loss.

One of our titles for Christ is the Great Physician. These invisible wounds are where the healing balm of our faith is greatest. It takes (or makes) a deep faith to remember even as we are bleeding on the floor that we are called to forgive our enemies and those who persecute us. When these families reached for God this week, they remembered this call to forgive as the love of God held them, gave them hope, and started their healing.

I see people on twitter saying “I’m a Christian and I’m not ready to forgive and forget, so while these families are admirable, they’re not me.” No, they’re not you. Everyone’s timeline is different. Good on you for realizing that you can’t even consider it...yet. Point one: I might argue that forgiveness at this point is aspirational: see above that forgiveness is hard and ongoing, a process.  Point two: who said anything about forgetting? Forgiveness without the memory of why is worthless. Mother Emmanuel is never going to forget the hole that has been ripped in their lives. We shouldn’t forget the feelings of horror and violation as the news broke. Our culture keeps forgetting, and that’s a serious problem - it means that this keeps happening. We don’t take the steps we are spurred to by our conscience and our faith, we let the anger and determination fade, and go back to business as usual. The problem comes in if that forgiveness is delayed too long, and the hate eats away self, damages faith.

Hate, as we evidence for in front of us, is destructive. Hating this one man is counterproductive - it will damage the soul, even as he is damaged and broken. Hate, the obsessive, consuming anger-that-blames, destroys.

Anger, on the other hand -  righteous, focused, channeled and leashed anger? Has its place, and I’d argue that its place is here. Fighting the system, the culture that produced this man, and all those people who are defending him, or even condemning these actions. Fighting those who won’t acknowledge that the shooter was acting out a hate that he had been taught. There is no more prevalent form of persecution in the United States than the ingrained racism against people of color. We as a culture must take our shock and horror and anger and use it to talk about and dismantle the systems of hate and oppression that lead to this week. But we run a risk, being only human, of letting that anger rule us.

Christians are called to not let this happen.

It’s our job to fight the oppressor, even when the oppressor is us, and the systems that enable oppression. It is also our call to forgive, to not let ourselves be ruled by hate or fear but to be ruled by love, to be the evidence of Grace in the world. That’s fucking hard. But! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even forgive the unforgivable. It’s just a matter of faith.

The families of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson are working so hard to remember love and grace, to demonstrate the effects of this community of faith even as it mourns. Let us hold them in prayer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Here I Stand

I am a geek.

It's right there in the subtitle of the blog. This simple statement, a matter of self-identity, has become actively dangerous for women, PoC, queers, and allies. Anyone who challenges the old status quo of the internet (made by and for the straight, white, cis, male) risks having their lives ruined by systematic harassment online and off, with higher profile incidents exposing home addresses and conning police into sending SWAT teams to those homes. So far, the "only" death has been a family dog, but that is likely not to last, given the nature of the threats.

I am a geek. In addition to my nerdery about church, history, textiles, and food, I am a gamer, science fiction fan, conrunner, and a web developer.

Part of the reason i started this blog was to be a voice, a liberal, devout, queer, disabled, and geeky voice, because I didn't see me out there. I now have found other women with similar interests, and found a community. I am not a particularly brave person, but I have come to believe that unless more people speak out against what is happening and for a more civil internet, our collective voice will be crushed by the weight of the juggernaut. So this is me putting my shoulder under a corner and taking a little of the burden, even if only by declaring my existence, my right to that existence, and my support of those who find themselves victims of these disgusting trolls.

I am a geek.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Storm Shelter

Sometimes, the lectionary just *nails it*.
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?'
 And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'  (
Matthew 25:34-40)

 It's time.

 Just as churches and charities open up as shelters for natural disasters, it is equally our right and bounden duty to be a shelter for more man-made calamities. This post has been sitting here, half-written for two days, as I tried to frame what it should mean to be a church and a people who live out the principles in this passage. To be a home for the hopeless, a safe space among the chaos of the world, where one can find food, water, care, and a helping hand in the midst of everything coming apart.I just received word that the grand jury decision has been made, and the announcement of what it is will be soon. St. John's is a designated sanctuary, with supplies and professionals in place to help with the physical and mental needs of the protesters and the community surrounding us. It's all hands on deck time, the waiting is almost over.

My city, my people, the Lord is always with us. Therefore, let us pray.

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Storm coming in.

This is going to be a post in two parts.

One of the things about growing up in the Midwest is that you learn about the faces of storms. The patterns of sky, the taste of wind, the colors of clouds tell us if this is a storm to play in or to take shelter from. As the line comes towards us, how bad is it going to be?

These last couple of weeks have felt like the leading edge of the storm is looming at the horizon. The clouds of the indictment decision for Darren Wilson are black and heavy, with the tinge of olive that means this storm could go from bad to deadly. What will happen when the grand jury rules?

The first spits of rain are happening. This week: declaration of the State of Emergency and the doxxing of policemen, some of whom are just trying to do their job. This week in Ferguson, arrests of media, legal, & clergy. The brief spots of struggling light, too: open churches, prayer vigils, the appointment of the Ferguson Commission.

In some ways, we've been waiting for this to break for 105 days. But really, it's only been imminent since the election. And that looming imminence is wearing. The city and county are holding our collective breath, waiting. Praying. Praying for justice, for an end to injustice. Praying that the looming storm will dissipate. The anger and hopelessness against an unjust system will still be there, but without the destructive nature of riots. Without the destruction of the flood. That would be best, that the fuel of the movement find a different channel to effect change, because the storm goes. It often happens that way in St. Louis, that something furious and murderous...gentles into the power to create the different world we desperately need. But right now, we're preparing for the storm. If it breaks, this is going to be one to shelter from...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Erasing a community

I was standing at coffee hour, drinking my tea, and chatting with a fellow parishioner, a sweet lady. As we were watching the two guys up front clean up the worship space, she turned to me and said, “Why do those people have to come here? I understand they can't help being gay, but can't they go find their own space?”

I found out what mug handles are really for, that morning. They're to prevent you dropping hot liquids when you're so shocked you forget to hold on.

“Would it be fair,” I said, “if they said the same thing about people who didn't like them? That people like you who didn't like gays needed to go find their own church and weren't welcome here, in the place you've made your home?”

“Well, no, but that's not the point. They're the ones who are different!”

I backed up and found an excuse to get out of that conversation, reeling. Because I knew she was more conservative than I am, that she and her husband belong to one of the more 'evangelical' groups in the Episcopal Church, but it still hit me like a ton of bricks that she would rather “they” would just go away, and leave her the territory of her church undisturbed. Erase them.

About a year earlier, when we were talking about our participation in Pride events, another older woman said, “Gays and lesbians I'm ok with, but I don't agree with this affirmation of Bi-people. They should just pick one!” I looked at her daughter, who was very carefully not making eye contact with anyone, embarrassed. I wondered how many people in the room knew that before the daughter's marriage, at one point she'd identified as bi. From the tone, her mother wasn't one of them.

These were both in a parish, in a community, that explicitly identifies as LGBT-friendly, with signs and rainbows and affiliations. All I could think was, “but this is supposed to be a safe space!”

Both of these women, who I believe try their very best to be the best people they can be, the most Godly people they can be, want 'those people' to stop making them uncomfortable, because the existence of the LGBT community inside the church challenges ideas and biases long held.

Erasure is a topic frequently covered by social justice activists of all stripes. What can be erased from view, what can be glossed over or excused as a one-time or not that bad or not really that good? Make that which challenges drop from view to maintain the status quo.

It's something I've been pondering for the last couple of months and esp this week, listening to people, allies and advocates and activists, celebrating the progression of same sex marriage across the country. I'm very happy for my friends, that they are no longer denied a basic civil right, that in 30 states (and possibly more this week, depending on what happens with the 9th circuit) they can marry their partner. But what about the people who can't? Or who won't?

There's an entire community of people for whom marriage is not the answer, or even an answer, at least in it's current configuration, and we in the church are particularly guilty of focusing on marriage as the Big Thing, forgetting, ignoring, erasing a large portion of the congregation and their equality.

Half of LGBT people identify as Bisexual*. A couple of different places I've heard disparaging remarks from gay or allied clergy, not just laity, about how bi people should just choose one, or that they're just confused, or it's a stage. That people who are "actively bisexual" are hurting the cause of gay rights. How it's not fair that they can "pass" in either community, with the implication that they're no better than double agents.

The comment about being "actively bi" made me angriest. That it came from clergy in the community was the worst. What does that even mean? Does it mean that someone can't date a guy, then a girl, then another guy, if they're out in the dating pool? Or that they can't have a boyfriend *and* a girlfriend at the same time? That they have to get married to one or the other, sooner rather than later, and ignore the fact that they might like both? That they have to "make a choice"? What happens if they don't, if they chose to not get married, or if they choose to acknowledge that men and women are both attractive, that restricting themselves to one or the other is a denial of who they are, who they were made to be?

Will the church still support the right to not choose then?

Bi people exist, they exist in our communities, and yes, they may be "passing", but if these are the attitudes in evidence when they do come out, is it any wonder the closet is still full?

This is destructive of lives and relationships, esp in places that are otherwise open and affirming to the queer communities. And while I know how lucky I am to be in a denomination that has stated full equality of all persons regardless of sexual orientation as a goal, this isn't how we do it, telling people that to be a Christian, they must hide their orientation (and possibly their partners) under a basket. We learned that already, with our gay and lesbian clergy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

oh my city...

I live about 10 miles south of a really sleepy little suburb. Over the last 15 years, it's been hit by the auto plant closing, and then the recession & foreclosures. But through it all, it has maintained a sense of community and of shared values - education, church, family.

They're not so trusting of their government.

Unlike most of the surrounding communities, in Ferguson, (as someone quipped recently) the only people in the region who weren't aware of the culture of corruption were (some of the) white people in Ferguson. And the corruption of government in that part of the metro area, esp in the police forces, is legendary enough that we tell stories about it.*

Watching my town come apart at the seams, the racial/ethnic divides become stark, clear lines, watching everyone have an opinion on it, and finding that sometimes, people I otherwise like and respect could not conceive of the cops being anything but justified, even as we all *know* that there is a problem 'up there' with honest policemen,** made me sick. I was scared, and ashamed. It felt like the only thing I could do was pray. Praying that it would end peacefully, praying that no one else would get hurt, praying that grief would not turn to anger, that people would listen to each other.

The whole first week, I had no time. I followed what I could via Twitter, but I support four mammals in my household and had too much that had to be done, obligations that meant that I couldn't take time 'off' to go north, and that I really couldn't afford to get arrested, issues that mean that more stress, and more stress on my body, from walking, from running, from tear gas, would compromise my ability to provide food and housing to those in my care. And that makes me feel guilty, and incredibly aware of my own privilege, that I could choose not to be a part of the protests. That I could choose to put the phone down, and not live in that world, and deal with problems "closer to home."

One of the things that gave me hope, though? Was seeing pictures of my bishop, my priest, and a not-small segment of the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, as white-bread as we tend to be, walking in Ferguson. Watching them, and huge numbers of other people associated with MCU unite behind the people of Ferguson, walking in search of justice. They have a thing, now. It's called Praying with Our Feet.

And it gave me hope, and confirmed to me that I hang out with the right people. People who would walk for me, be the presence I could not be. Be the presence of Christ in a tense, ugly situation, working, walking for both peace and justice. Organizing for people in need, asking the community what was wanted, listing, trying to supply it, listening again.

That's the church I joined. I am so very, very grateful.

*It is illegal to cause a stoplight to change from green to red without a yellow light. It is especially illegal to do so if you're a cop waiting to write a ticket to someone for running a red light. As it happens, it is also illegal to halve the period of a yellow light for the same purposes. You know what? No, the cops don't get to have control of the stoplights any more. Seriously. No, really. No, you too. All of you, stop that.

**there are good cops, honest men and women on the police forces in the municipalities of North County, who are trying their level best to create good, solid communities and be good solid role models for young men and women who may or may not have many options. I am honored to know several, and weep for them in this situation, torn by conflicting forces pulling in a lot of directions, telling them conflicting definitions of 'right'. I pray that they discern well.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

the theology of breads

At Easter, my congregation started using loaf bread for Communion, as is the preference of our bishop. Being lazy, I would bake up a double batch, which would give us 4-5 loaves and freeze most of them.
Unfortunately, rapid defrosting did Bad Things to the internal structure, making it a mass of glue. My priest objected, parishioners objected, and I went back to the drawing board.

Communion bread is elemental, and it's ingredients and making are matters of long tradition. Wheat, water, salt, oil. Simple bread. But what to do when members of your congregation can't do the wheat?
Last time, I started with someone else's recipe, handed to me with a "let's try this!" This time, I needed to think both about the theology and the requirements of my community, as well as the structure of the bread itself.

Loaf breads with yeast are...theologically problematic. The original one was Passover-bread, specifically enjoined from having contact with yeast. (There's a reason a lot of churches use wafers. They're just pretty matzah.) They are also time-eating, between proof and rising. No making it in the hour before church. But if I must make loaves, then why not look for something that embraces our modernity? Cue all the bakers "there are two types of bread: yeast breads & quick breads." So- modern, artificial leavening agent.

I needed something designed for tearing & dipping, without disintegrating, and not tasting like crap. Not nut-based. Every culture has it's version of trencher-bread, something that serves as eating utensil or plates. Pita or naan or focaccia or tortilla or injeria. I also wanted something easy, with readily available ingredients within walking distance of the church. My condition for the flour was that it be something people actually make bread from. There are a lot of 'weird flours' out there for gluten free baking. I didn't want those. Looking at my books, I realized most of the quick breads were using a high protein flour. That makes sense, given that quick breads don't have to accommodate the stretching associated with yeast-based rising or shaping.

One of my books had a nut-free focaccia bread, using brown rice flour and baking soda/vinegar. Meh, rice is not really a good bread flour, as the texture isn’t ever quite right. Our modern, western thinking sees bread as having to be wheat-based, but in 1st c. Palestine, there were several options for flour - millet, chickpeas, lentils, wheat, spelt, and barley. Wheat, spelt, and barley all contain similar gluten proteins, so they’re out for this project. So, noodling around the flours available from our last foray into GF communion bread and what was still in my stock, I decided to try chickpea flour as an alternative. Taking chickpea flour, olive oil, egg whites, salt, sugar, baking soda, vinegar, and xanthan gum, throwing them in a bowl, mixing, and baking took about 30 min total, and came out a dense bread, tasty, that holds together well when dipped and also absorbs liquid into its crumb. I get two loaves a batch, and we’ll see how well it does defrosted this week.

 Now the only problem are those pesky egg whites, and I have some ideas there...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Clothing and covering

I've spent the last two weeks at a campground in western Pennsylvania, and coming back to the 'modern world' has not been fun.

Me and ten thousand of my closest friends spend this time pretending to be part of different worlds, re-enacting to a greater or lesser extent aspects of life in the 6th to 16th c. The only requirement, other than your entrance fee, is to make an attempt (and not necessarily a good one!) at pre-1600 clothing.

Yes, I really am a geek.

Because this isn't the real world, it's a fantasy creation, people are free to choose what they consider "appropriate" and "comfortable" clothing. Given the temperature shifts that usually happen (we can range from about 40-100 deg F over the course of the two weeks), most people bring a variety of styles, winter and summer appropriate. Cultures & materials shift based on need. But for most women, in most times of the period, coverage is the rule, not the exception. If you're "home," some of the rules get relaxed a bit, like how many layers and the visibility of hair. And a lot of women are content with the attempt at period clothing and don't worry about some of those rules.

My camp/crowd is slightly different, being a bunch of tailors/seamstresses *and* trained historians. The rules apply, and we're usually well covered in our clothing - but we've all chosen times and places where coverage is the rule, where the clothing may be form fitting or form shaping...but skin is from the neck up. Medieval women had a lot of strictures about modesty, and this crowd tries it's best to adhere to them in public spaces, just as proper medieval women would.

This means that when I come back to the modern world and start wearing modern dress, it feels funny-as-in-wrong. Women's clothing has a lot to do with the male gaze - it always has. Making ourselves attractive, making choices in order to make statements about who and what we are, class, power, wealth, status...

But the fact you can see my hair this week makes me profoundly uncomfortable.

Other items which I have to transition back into slowly: Pants. Skirts where my ankles are exposed. Skirts where my calves are exposed. Shoes. Visible elbows.

And when I have to work the day after I get back, it's like being dropped into cold water. I feel naked, because my modern work clothing conforms to modern standards of 'professional' and 'appropriate for summer'. I feel every look of every guy, assessing me for my attractiveness. I am merely meat on the market, subject to the whim of the men around me, and I hate it. I am reminded, viscerally, that it is historically my 'job' to let men look at me, because they're the ones with power, and my best bet is to stay home.

It's the week when casual street harassment hits me the hardest. Because I want to be back in enveloping fabric, where my shape is not up for debate, where I can shield my scars and my injuries from casual sight. Where I'm not 'the redhead', because you can't tell what color my hair is under linen. "Nice legs!" is never shouted at me, as my skirts are long.

And overwhelmingly, the ten thousand people I camp with? I walk around a city of friends and strangers, in funny clothing, and feel attractive but not harassed, because harassment is seen by the community as a violation of the unwritten rules, and grounds for a good, long...discussion of proper behavior from both friends and strangers.

Keeping my hair bound, though, like a proper woman? That carries over.