About Me · Community · Religious life

Blending In (or Passing)

I wear a hat whenever I am out my house—to show that I am married.

Yeah, I’m kind of ‘religious’—too much by the standards of some, yet not enough for some others. Honestly, I don’t give a damn. I do what I want because it has meaning for me. Although whether I can articulated that “meaning” is unclear. ;)

I was once asked why I wear a hat at all times. I think it sometimes freaks people out a little because I seem too laid back to be ‘religious’—at least, that’s my take. The questioner offered a speculation perhaps to help me start answering the question: Did I do that, at least partially, to “blend in” to the community I was a part of? Perhaps it was not too nice, but I laughed at the suggestion. That would never really be a reason for me. At this point in my life, I would never take on something just because I wanted to blend in. Besides the fact that it seems totally impossible for me to do in either Japanese or Jewish circles, I already had the experience of trying to pass my entire adolescence in Japan and coming to understand its futility.

When I went to college and saw these girls trying so hard to blend into the orthodox community by wearing these long, flared, denim skirts, polo shirts that just covered their elbows, and baseball hats, I thought to myself “Oooohhh, I couldn’t do that anymore…. ” For me, it turned out to be the right thing to do—or not to do. Otherwise, I would’ve been disillusioned again and somehow would have felt betrayed again. By whom? Well, I guess that’s the question.

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