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Take 2: Lady Wrap Star Rivka’s Story!

We’ve already heard her thoughts on the Wrapunzel Fangroup and how it allows her to cope with her job, but Rivka has so much more to say about wrapping.  There are too many good quotes here to pick just one so just… read on… and prepare to be moved ❤

By Rivka Spicer

I guess this post has been a long time coming. It’s something I get asked about frequently and while I’ve explained bits and pieces here and there, I don’t think I’ve ever actually sat down and compiled the whole list of reasons.

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The first thing you should understand about wrapping is that it’s a journey. Everyone has a simple reason for starting. For about half of the women I know, it’s a religious thing. Maybe a quarter are Jewish, the rest are a mixture of Muslim and various Christian denominations. Another quarter do it for health reasons (and in that number I include those whose hair grew back and they carried right on because they enjoy it). The final quarter are like me – those who do it for reasons that don’t fit neatly into a box. Whatever the reason for starting, it soon turns into something that touches many aspects of your life. The reasons I had 18 months ago aren’t the same reasons I have now and probably won’t come close to encompassing the reasons I’ll have 18 months from now.

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When I started it was because I missed my long hair. I’d had it all cut off and donated it to charity and while I like my short hair and think it looks good, I missed the creative outlet of being able to do fun stuff. I tried different things, like synthetic dreadlocks because they were fun and colourful, but I kept coming back to wrapping. I like the aesthetic of it and I see it as an art form. It takes an eye for colour, pattern and design. There’s a skill to it, a learning of layering and knots. It’s a creative outlet that I enjoy because I think it speaks to who I am inside – full of wild colour and fun. I like the challenge and the fabrics and all the fun stuff that goes with it.

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For me, it very quickly became as much about the community as it was about the creativity. The wrapping community I’m in is amazing. My main active group is a spin-off from the company Wrapunzel who supply scarves and accessories. It was a whole new experience for me – I’d never seen that many women in one place just radiating so much positivity and kindness and warmth. It became a big part of my day to go through all the pictures of daily wraps along with snippets of the stories that go with them and tell these women how beautiful and strong and amazing they are. The thing with the wrapping community is that what you put into it comes back to you a hundred-fold. Very quickly, pictures I was posting were garnering 100+ likes with dozens of comments, telling me the same thing as I was telling others. You’re beautiful. You’re strong. You’re so inspiring. You’re valued.

When somebody tells you that enough times, you start to believe it. For the first time in my entire life, I feel beautiful. And strong. And inspiring. And valued. For someone that has struggled for so long with self-esteem issues and body image and self-destructive negativity, it’s a turnaround that’s almost miraculous. I am confident now. I’m learning to love myself. I’m learning to be authentic and true to myself without worrying all the time about how other people are judging me. I wear the clothes I want to wear because I want to wear them. I’m also learning to lead by example. Be kind to others – a few sweet words here and there cost nothing and the cumulative effect of them is staggering. Be bold with your scarves – try fun and new things and maybe inspire someone else to do the same.

The positive reinforcement I receive from within the community has given me a balance I’ve never had before. They’re good people. There are so many of them who work in service to others, who feed and shelter the homeless, who give to charity, and who are literally, every day, being the change they want to see in the world. I don’t talk much about my job but I work in the criminal justice system and sometimes it’s harrowing. I spend all day dealing with darkness and death and the lowest of human nature. It’s easy to believe that everyone is like that, especially when the news is just one long slide into apocalyptic misery these days. Whenever I start to feel like I’m slipping into that negative spiral, I can touch my wrap and think of my wrap sisters and it reminds me that there are so many good people out there. It brings me right back up and the giving of uplifting words is almost as powerful as the receiving of them. There are few things that make me feel as good as making other people feel loved and special and all it takes is a quick comment here and there. I can log in and within a few moments I’m smiling at something or other.

They’ve also been a support system to me. Recently I underwent a couple of minor procedures and then ended up in hospital for a few days. I live a long way away from my family and I was alone and scared and hurting and my wrap sisters did not fail me. Messages poured in as word spread, keeping my spirits up and encouraging me when it seemed like I wanted to die. Even women I didn’t know that well were checking in, telling me they were thinking of me, praying for me, wearing a wrap inspired by me in my honour…you name it, they were there with love and support and it filled my heart to bursting.

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Aside from the community, wrapping has had a profound effect on other areas of my life. For one thing, it helps deal with my anxiety. The last few years have been horrendous for me, both in terms of ill health and financial devastation. Thanks to a house that wouldn’t sell and drained every reserve that I had, I was at rock bottom in monetary terms. There were months I couldn’t afford to pay my rent and only skipped through on the kindness of others. In January I was so sick I was actually feeling suicidal. I was done with hurting all the time. The thought of a future of always feeling like that without any cure or diagnosis was just too horrific to contemplate. I couldn’t face it. I’d decided that if I was still sick in a year I was going to end it. I wasn’t sleeping at night and I was constantly on edge with shredded nerves because even though the house was finally gone, I was still in debt, albeit manageable. I had panic attacks at 3 and 4 in the morning because my brain wouldn’t shut up.

It was around that time that I began wrapping full time in my free time because the sensation of it is both comforting and calming. There’s a massive body of evidence to suggest that it’s great for people who suffer from anxiety. I don’t know the science of it, although I have read articles about how it works on pressure points in the same way that doctors will prescribe heavy blankets for children suffering from anxiety attacks. I’ve also read that it reduces external electromagnetic interference on the brain. If you believe in such things as empathic energy, I have heard it said that it also blocks that. Whatever the reason, I can attest that it works. When I wrap I am calmer, less quick to panic and less easy to anger. Eventually the anxiety faded. I started to sleep properly again. I haven’t had a panic attack for months.

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The more you hang around in the community, the more you learn about why people choose to wrap. For about 1/2 to 3/4 of the community, it’s to do with a concept of modesty. This appeals to me on so many levels. Hair is a powerful symbol in the universal subconscious. We associate long hair with youth and unmarried women. We associate messy hair as a sign of a terrible day. Women are constantly flipping their hair as a sign of attraction and availability in movies and TV shows and adverts. We play with our hair when we’re trying to appear shy and flirtatious. It’s the first thing people notice about me and it’s the first complaint I hear from people who don’t understand why I wrap – “You have such beautiful hair that it’s a shame to cover it”. Shame is an interesting word.

My choice to wrap is a powerful statement about my bodily autonomy. It’s a feminist statement. It’s a big “screw you” to the patriarchy.

We live in a society where men think it’s okay to dictate to women that they can’t cover on beaches, where page 3 glamour models are the norm, where kids are watching porn online as young as 9 years old, all of which is skewed towards the denigration of women. There’s this crazy perception that women who choose to wrap for religious reasons are oppressed somehow, like the covering of their hair reduces their power as a human being. It’s the other way around. We live in a society where we must appear available and beautiful and polished at all times, because the magazines say so, because the news says so, because the films say so, because the television says so.

I say stuff that. I’m never going to be a size 6 with luminous skin and I don’t see why I should follow any societally normative standards of beauty made up by some editor in New York who wouldn’t know me from Eve, because I am more than a pretty hairstyle and a yearning to ‘fit in’. I am a brain and a heart and an explosion of colour and crazy and fun.

You might think that I’m just one of those bra-burning feminist fanatics that spouts these things from a place of idealist fervour but for me it’s a much deeper and more powerful thing. You see, I’m a survivor of domestic abuse. I’m not ashamed of it and I’ve talked openly about it, although more about my recovery than the details of what happened.

I know how it feels to be isolated from my family and friends. I know how it feels to be driven into the ground financially to subsidise a controlling partner’s lifestyle, which he enjoyed without me. I know how it feels to be held down by the throat and violated again and again. I know how it feels to have my own body turned against me and I know how it feels to be broken.

I’ve come a long way since then and I’m one of the success stories. I’m strong and kind and loving and happy and I won’t shy away from saying that I’m a better person for having been through it. I am. That said, there are some scars that can’t be healed by extensive counselling and 700 miles of distance and 6 years of learning to love again.

To me, my wraps are a symbol of my healing, of my bodily autonomy, of my right to decide who has access to my body, even if it’s only visually. It’s part of the process of reclamation that most survivors go through. We take our bodies, these vessels of so much pain, and we try to teach them how to be vessels of pleasure instead because it’s the only way we can be whole again. In the same way that each part of my body has been reclaimed through loving acts, so too will I reclaim my image by crowning it with something beautiful that’s wholly mine. I will take this head that made me think I was worthless and forced me into denial and made excuses for things that were inexcusable and make it a thing of striking beauty, because that is who I am now.

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Now that there’s a man in my life again, choosing to unwrap around him is a powerful thing. It’s a statement of trust, something that’s both intimate and fun. We’ve made a game of it – I come up with something fiendishly clever and he tries to figure out how to undo it. He gets tangled up and we laugh about it. There’s really something to be said for keeping something aside just for the person you care about. It becomes a special thing between you. Because he is the only one that I voluntarily let stroke my hair, it can at times feel like an intimate gesture akin to a kiss or similar. I’m lucky in that he loves my wraps and thinks I’m as beautiful in them as I am without, but I feel in many ways that his is really the only opinion I should care about because outside of my family and closest friends he’s the only one that sees my vulnerabilities and cares about me anyway.

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Finally, I adore the classic and retro aspect of it. There’s a common misconception that only religious women from the far or middle east wrap and I don’t really understand it. Head and hair wrapping is universal to every culture worldwide at some point in history, including western culture. Between the 20s and 60s, the turban was the ultimate in Hollywood glamour. There are amazing photos of film stars from the silver screen swanning around looking gorgeous in their sleek headcoverings, all jazzed up to the nines with accessories and pins. Probably the most universally recognised “wrapper” is Rosie the Riveter with her red and white turban. British women have been wrapping since the dawn of our civilisation, from simple cloth bonnets to the elaborate wimples and structural coverings of the Tudor era, through the hats and into the wraps of the 20th century. American women have been on the same journey. Right up until the 1950s, “proper” women still covered their hair when they went out. In choosing to cover my hair, I’m not doing anything groundbreaking or new. There’s no cultural appropriation here. In my favoured turban style, I’m just making a small nod to all the millions of women that have gone before me.

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I think it’s easy to be scared in this world. I think it’s easy to shy away from the choices that we make about our appearance for the sake of avoiding confrontation and going with the flow. It’s easy to let everything and everyone instil a fear of persecution out of misunderstanding and misguided hate. But we can’t let a world of hate dictate to us who we should be. We can’t make our choices to compensate for the ignorance of others. What kind of message is that to send to our daughters and nieces and granddaughters and friends? You will never be an individual because you should try and fit in, just in case someone takes issue with what is unusual about you? No. Being authentic isn’t an easy choice. Letting your outsides match your insides isn’t an easy choice. Being different isn’t an easy choice, but it’s how we’re made – all of us. Different. I have never been a “normal” girl. It may have been quiet and unseen, but I have always danced to my own beat.

When I look in the mirror, I see radiance. I see positivity. I see a sisterhood of good and kind women. I see a powerful statement about my healing and recovery. I see my ancestors. I see the best of my creative flair and style.

I see me.

World Wrapunzel! Hebrew & Spanish Tutorials!

Have you met Liona?  If you are a part of the Wrapunzel community and have been keeping up with our challenge posts, you’ve definitely seen her beautiful face!  Here’s what you didn’t know about her:

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This is Liona!  Drumroll….

Liona is Wrapunzel’s official Spanish and Hebrew tutorial contributor!  She has been making tutorials so we can reach even more women across the world!  WOohoo!  We are crazy about her beautiful voice, language skills, and caring touch that she brings to her teaching – check it out!  (Even if you don’t understand, you will fall in love with how she speaks.)  This is something that has been requested over and over, and we are so happy to finally be able to provide you with this amazing resource!  Spread the word!  Yay Liona!

Hebrew Tutorials:

Spanish Tutorials:

Check out our youtube channel regularly for more tutorials!  WOohooo!!  Welcome to the Wrapunzel Team, Liona!

Lady Wrap Star Stephanie!

Now THIS is a story that will make your jaw drop.  A story of coincidence (or how nothing is a coincidence), of the miracle of social media, and how you never know what your actions will mean for someone else, even years down the road.  There are people that you meet, even if it’s briefly, that can have an impact on your life that is ever reverberating.  I will let Stephanie’s poignant writing tell you the story of how we met, but let’s just say that it was a decade ago, back when I was Jew-“ish” with a capital “ISH”, wearing jeans, being a hair model (ironic, I know), and didn’t even know what a tichel was.  Our in-person friendship was brief, taking place in the confines of this crazy elective that I decided to take, and while I had always remembered her warmth and laugh, I mostly remembered her thick, gorgeous hair.  Here she is!

~*~

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Stephanie!

“First things first, I just want to say how much an honor it is for me to write this and be featured as a Lady Wrap Star. I have been ‘lurking’ in the community pretty much since the beginning of Andrea’s blog and if you told me years ago I would be writing a post, I wouldn’t have believed it! So thank you to the Wrapunzel team and Andrea for having me.

To tell you about myself, is actually to tell you the story of my journey into wrapping seven months ago. I currently reside in British Columbia, Canada but I am originally from Ontario. I moved across the country in January for my dream job: Curator and Director of the Nisga’a Museum. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist and one day, work in a museum. I grew up in the world of books, studying history, archaeology, science (eating up all of the fantasy and sci-fi literature I could get – Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars and Horror movies are still my life), mummifying Barbie’s in my back yard, and going to every museum I could convince my parents to take me to. It was the fall of my second semester of Near Eastern Archaeology in 2007 that I sat down in Biblical Hebrew 101 beside this really awesome, sunny and cheerful women named Andrea. At the time Andrea was at Wilfrid Laurier for music and taking the language as an elective (which I thought was crazy); it turns out we had a ton in common and before we knew it, we were study buddies and fast friends! She also went as Darth Maul for Halloween that year and won my admiration forever.

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Beautiful British Columbia

After Andrea and I graduated we moved away and fell out of touch, but I still had her as a Facebook Friend. I lurked on her blog for years, reading her posts about her conversion and enjoying her journey. Her posts were always inspiring and I found the content really interesting so I kept reading. Time went on and there were suddenly beautiful videos about scarves and interesting wraps . . . and then a whole company, tutorials and an entire world of tichels I knew nothing about! I watched avidly through Andrea’s social media as Wrapunzel and the community surrounding it grew. I remember admiring the tichels and elaborate wraps and thinking of how much I enjoyed covering my hair for function when I was in the Middle East (for archaeology). But I told myself that I couldn’t do that, it would be disrespectful, I’m not religious, I’m not that talented or creative. I am not.

I am not. Until I moved across the country, until I was challenged to be my best self, to be successful and confident in my work and personal life, and then I suddenly couldn’t be ‘not’ anymore. It was also around this time that hormone changes from PCOS and the lack of my trusted stylist started to wreak havoc on my hair (and growing it out of a super short cut). My once thick curly hair was usually a frizzy, thin mess and I felt absolutely terrible about it, at a time that I had to feel amazing and confident every time I left the house. I was tired of fighting my hair every morning, I had disposable income for the first time and I just wanted to feel beautiful again.

So I signed onto to Wrapunzel and thought enough is enough. I re-watched a ton of video tutorials over and over. I watched the video about wearing a tichel ever if you are not Jewish and felt a resolve that had previously been buried in insecurity and self-doubt. I can and I will! There is no more can’t in my life. I made an account on the website and put in my first order: a Wendy, several THE Shimmery’s and 2 in 1’s. I obsessively tracked it and waited for it to arrive. When it did, I used my Emerald Green Shimmery/Wendy and did a Waterfall Twist, the very first video I had watched. Suddenly…
. . . .
I could breathe again. I felt beautiful. I felt in control of my femininity. I felt regal and confident and everything that I was hoping for and more. It was only a piece of material on my head, but it changed how I moved through the world. Though I only cover part time, I find myself reaching for my tichels more and more. I started with 5 and now I have close to 40 and an ever growing wish list. That first wrap was such a memorable moment for me because it reaffirmed everything I was feeling and I have only grown to love my tichels in ways I can’t describe. What inspired me to cover, was the desire to feel beautiful and it delivered that and so, so much more.

I have always been pretty picky with my personal style and colour choices. This has proven true for me in my tichel wearing life as well. I don’t consider myself super creative in my wraps or colour choices because I am still a beginner and am only just starting to ‘mess around’ and discover my own new wraps. All of my favorite wraps include tails. I love tails! They feel like having long luxurious hair all day and I love to play with them. I also love braids and crowns, because they make me feel like royalty. I am discovering angles are my friend and I am starting to love any sort of zig zag, incorporating that into wraps whenever I can. Colour wise I mostly stick to the greens, purples and blues mostly because I love them and how they make me feel. The more I do wrap though, the more I want to experiment and find a way to make every colour in the rainbow work! I usually pick a scarf before the outfit, but I have a lot of dark colours and blacks, so the majority of my clothes work with all of my scarves. I don’t really have a favorite scarf because I love them all (though make me choose and it would likely be my Emerald Green Shimmery because of that first wrap).

I’m still learning a bunch of tricks when it comes to tying, the longer I wear tichels the longer I learn there is ALWAYS something to new to discover. I will however, pass along something that has helped a lot as a beginner. I always take my scarves out the night before, lay them on my bedside table with all of my accessories. If it is a wrap I am not familiar with, then I will practice the night before as well. I find if you leave everything to the morning and it doesn’t want to work out, then you are on a time schedule and stressed. It makes the whole process seem very discouraging. If you are just learning, stick with it! Check out the most popular category on the Wrapunzel store, stock up on some basis, watch the tutorials over and over and just keep on trying!

If you keep trying, keep ‘tying’ and are thinking about taking up wearing a head scarf, do it! I am more confident, more self-actualized and more considerate of myself and my appearance. I take pride in my wraps and have upped my make-up and clothes to match them. Wrapping has given me control of my femininity; I decide what is beautiful and how I want to present that beauty to the world. It’s a powerful feeling to be in the driver’s seat again and it has ramifications throughout all of the areas of my life. Though I haven’t been covering that long, I do see how it has changed how I present myself and how confident I feel. Having that confidence to be my best self is helping me kick my job’s butt, helping me plan for a wedding and generally adding to the contentment and well-being of my day to day.

It sounds corny to say but I am very grateful for the entirety of my life right now. I am grateful for the peace I get from wrapping, the challenges of my career and the support and love of my fiancé. I truly do think that things happen for a reason, religious beliefs aside, and sometimes the path is so simple in hindsight (even if you can’t see it at the time). I didn’t know that Hebrew 101 would lead me to a wonderful woman, whose passion/calling in life would in turn change mine through the wonderful art of hair wrapping. I think my story and why I wrap, is one of those things that make you pause and really be grateful for the twists and turns on our path in life and the uncertainty, changes, and surprises that crop up while we walk through this world. Though it might be painful or not have an obvious benefit in the moment, those twists often lead to something wonderful. In the end, through Andrea, I have a wonderful community to share wraps with, have made amazing friends and tackled the upheaval of my life with a confidence I didn’t think I had in me. I might not remember any Hebrew, but I am super thankful for the path that class took me on and the wonderful, inspiring women I have met in turn. So Wrapunzel-Nation go forth and wrap boldly, because the world is only better when we all dare to be bold 😉

Lady Wrap Star: Rivka!

Meet Rivka S., British tichel maven. She not only wears incredible wraps, but is a beautifully eloquent writer, too! Recently, we were privilaged enough to read about her love of Wrapunzel’s incredibly diverse Facebook fangroup and just knew that we had to share it with YOU.

Enjoy, ladies!

Rivka 5“It’s hard to encompass what wrapping means to me in mere words, but it’s fair to say that the community aspect of it has altered my life profoundly. It is a very real sisterhood that provides comfort and support in even the most trying of times under the careful stewardship and guidance of the moderators, who work really hard to make sure it stays relevant and true to its focus of wrapping.

I have worked in the Criminal Justice System for nearly a decade now and, apart from a brief stint as a dispatcher, all of that has been spent working in major crimes. I deal with the worst of the worst – the murderers, the sex offenders, the fraudsters and the child abusers. My days are spent wading through the deepest, darkest depravities that humanity is capable of. It’s very difficult to do a job like this and not become jaded with cynicism and I see it all around me every day in the faces of my colleagues. When you only see the underbelly of civilisation, it becomes easy to always assume the worst of mankind as a species. While I believe with all my heart that justice is always, ALWAYS worth chasing, it’s fair to say that sometimes it can feel a little hollow. A guilty verdict and sentencing might satisfy our moral needs or desire for vengeance, but they don’t bring the dead back to life or unmake an event that derailed a survivor’s existence. There is always loss in our triumph, something worth grieving for even while we celebrate.

It crosses over into our personal lives too. I don’t think I’ll ever forget holding my nephew for the first time and feeling a gaping abyss of terror looming before me at the thought that the world was a horrible place and I would never be able to keep him safe from everything. Every horror story I’d worked through involving children cycled through my mind in that moment and it wasn’t a good feeling.

Before Wrapunzel, I tried to counteract the negativity of my professional life with little random acts of kindness, but the law enforcement community is small and tightly-knit and we’re all moving in the same circles, the same fish-eye view of the world. Small smiles change moments, not world views. Negative reinforcement is a powerful thing.

When I started wrapping, it was about my confidence. I’d donated all my hair to charity and was struggling with my shorter locks. I felt like I’d lost some feminine part of me. I had no idea that it would be a gateway to one of the most awe-inspiring and loving communities that I will ever experience in my life. 

The women of the Wrapunzel fangroup are diverse. We come from hundreds of different cultures, faiths, backgrounds and walks of life, and if you think that a fondness for pretty scarves is all we have in common…well, you’d be wrong.

I have never met such an incredible group of warm, loving, broad-minded and beautiful people. They stagger me on a daily basis with their openness, generosity and capacity for love. I share things with my Wrapunzel sisters that I don’t share with anyone outside of the group because it’s the only place I know where I can express who I am and all my fears and sorrows without any fear of judgement. The group is carefully moderated to ensure that all posts relate to head wrapping, but that can encompass why you chose a certain style, colour or scarf, such as when I had surgery recently and needed something that would stand up to an hour flat on my back. I asked for practical advice and received it in spades, along with an outpouring of love and well wishes. When I shared a wrap that had three generations of love in it – a pin from my grandmother, a sash from my mother and a scarf of my own – it opened a discussion on how the people we love share in our wrapping. The small kindnesses, the comments on a daily wrap to say it’s pretty or how it suits the wearer, have a cumulative power. 

To me, the Wrapunzelistas represent everything that is the best of humanity. As I said recently in the group, there’s a quiet, indomitable goodness here that transcends any differences (of culture) we may have. Their willingness to send prayer or kind wishes in a thousand tongues and a hundred faiths to anyone that needs comforting is astonishing, if only for its ordinariness in the community. All are welcome. All are lifted up in the radiance of their positivity. Every day I see these small kindnesses, I can see that we are united in our hope for a better world. There are hundreds of volunteers, people who give to charity, those who care for the sick and needy. Every day there’s a tale of selflessness or altruism caught up in a swathe of fabric, a sweet story that we can all relate to on some level.

For me, joining the group was the balance that was sorely needed in my life. I no longer view humanity as broken beyond repair because I know now that there are a huge number of good, kind and wonderful people out there. They are the yang to the yin of humanity, the visible proof of light in the darkness. I feel honoured to be a part of this community and it has changed me. It’s one of the joys of my day to look at everyone’s wraps and hear about their day and tell them that I’m thinking of them and wish them well, as well as how beautiful I think they are, as I am told by them. 

When I wrap, I feel surrounded by the love of my Wrapunzel sisters. It gives me strength and confidence and I think it makes me better at my job. The daily positive reinforcement is a reminder that what I do has purpose, that justice isn’t a losing battle. There are people, good people, all over the globe that rely on us to make the world a safer place.

My job may lead me through the darkest of times, but, with the love of my sisters, my head and heart will always be wreathed with light.”

 

Atalanta’s Inspiring Story!

The Wrapunzelution has the power to change lives and nothing warms our hearts more than hearing about this process first hand, from the women positively affected by our message to “Inspire Happiness”. This movement brings together a diverse group of women from all over the globe and many have truly incredible stories to share! Meet Atalanta- Wrapunzelista and blogger, who’s life has truly been impacted by wearing tichels. She recently shared this incredibly inspiring post from her blog with us and we just HAD to share it with you all!

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“This is what I wore today.

I’ve been extremely reclusive for the past few years, but last year it got a lot worse. A bout with severe anemia had me feeling too sick and weak to leave the house, which reinforced my agoraphobia. From late spring of 2015 to late November 2015, I did not venture further than my mailbox. From November 2015 until today, I did not go out for more than a hurried visit to the convenience store.

In addition to weakness, fatigue, and severe anxiety, my hair (always fine and wispy) thinned to the point where my scalp was clearly visible. I’ve always had a lot of identity issues with my hair. As a child I had frequent struggles with my mother over being allowed to grow it long. As a teenager, an abusive boyfriend threatened to shave my head if I dyed my hair a color he didn’t like.

In early November 2015, I decided to start wearing a headcovering. While not observant, I am Jewish, so I went in search of tichel resources. I found Wrapunzel, a blog/community online store. A friend suggested I check out their tutorial videos. Many of them seemed impossibly complex, but I kept trying, and experimenting on my own. I bought scarves from Wrapunzel, eBay, and Amazon, and friends sent me some as gifts. I took awkward selfies with my phone and posted them, here on Tumblr and then on my Instagram as well.

I started building a collection of scarves, and slowly gained skill using them. My selfies got likes and compliments, first from friends, and then from strangers as well. I even had a couple of friends tell me I looked confident!

Well, I didn’t feel very confident in general, but I was developing confidence in my tichel-tying skills! The tutorials that baffled me at first became easier to understand. I gained a little familiarity with some of the techniques, and kept trying more. For May, Wrapunzel posted a challenge to try a different style for every day.and I decided giving it a shot. Not all the styles would work on me (many of them really need a volumizer and I don’t have one, at least, not yet – not only are they a little pricy, but since my hair’s always been pretty scanty, a look with a lot of volume just wouldn’t seem like me, and identity is a big issue!), but I’ve been giving each one a try, and gaining a little skill with styles I hadn’t tried before.

I skipped ahead this morning to practice tomorrow’s style, The Gigi Knot. I’d experimented with it before, but never really been satistfied with the results. This time I tried it with one of my favorite scarves from Wrapunzel, The Duchess, and one of the lovely scarves I got as a gift from @thestarstone. I really liked how it turned out.

I mean, really liked it. I didn’t want to waste this gorgeous tichel on just sitting home with my cats.

This morning, I went out to a nearby restaurant for breakfast. I ate from a plate, sitting at a table, not from a delivery container sitting cross-legged on my bed. A polite and pleasant waitress brought me coffee, took my order, checked to see if my food was ok. As I ate, I could hear snippets of other diner’s conversations. When I paid for my meal, the waitress thanked me for coming.

Simple, everyday things, that I hadn’t experienced all year. Because I wanted to take that nice tichel out into the world, even if I had to go with it.”

Lady Wrap Star: Meira!

Every once in a while in our Wrapunzel universe, we come across a woman with a really amazing perspective, one who inspires us with her stories. Everyone has a different journey toward hair-covering, and hearing someone else’s journey is both fascinating to read and comforting – often, we find something that reminds us of what we ourselves have gone through. And that’s why we’re so excited to introduce you to our latest Lady Wrap Star, Meira – this is her story. We hope it will enlighten and inspire you as much as it did for us!

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“When I was growing up, our neighborhood was “ultra-Orthodox” Jewish, and in that world, I did get to see some hair covering. At that time, and in that place, the women who covered their hair outside of shul had only two options. They wore shaytls (wigs) whenever they needed to look good and they wore tichels whenever they didn’t need to look good. Those tichels were kerchiefs- small triangles of fabric tied around the head. They weren’t ugly, but they certainly weren’t pretty.

However, I grew up in a “Modern Orthodox” Jewish household. My mom never covered her hair outside of shul (synagogue). Neither did my grandmothers, my aunts, or my married cousins. So with the exception of the Rebbetzins I knew who wore shaytls, hair covering was off my radar. I never really considered it as something relevant in my world. And that led to some confusion. My teacher for Jewish studies in 1st and 2nd grade would show up in school with dark brown hair in a shoulder-length heavily layered hairstyle. It was very flattering on her. But this teacher also lived in my neighborhood and I would see her in shul on Shabbat. Same face, but here, her hair was gray, straight, and worn in a beehive updo. Naturally, I was a little shy about saying Shabbat Shalom to this person who had the same face as my teacher but who might be a totally different person.

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Only when I was 12 did the concept really enter my consciousness. My cousin got married and covered her hair. She has a small head and thin hair so she could wear department-store hats which are usually too small for full hair covering. To this day, she is the best hat-wearer I know. Several months later, a young woman from my shul got married and she too started covering her hair with structured hats. But I saw her show up in shul a few times with what looked like nothing on her head and that left me wondering ‘aren’t married women supposed to wear something on their heads?’ It wasn’t long before I figured out that she was wearing a shaytl.

Finally, when I was 16, I attended a shiur (lecture, class) in my shul and the rabbi was discussing hair covering. He went through the sources and his take was that covering the hair was simply a custom, not law. As it was, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of wearing a shaytl and having people wonder if I was covering my hair or not. Plus, I imagined that many coverings would be hot or otherwise uncomfortable. So I figured that if it’s not law, then why bother?

The good news was that I was already active in NCSY (a Jewish outreach group for teens and tweens). I had a lot of friends and a lot of leaders whom I admired and respected and I wanted to emulate them. The married women all covered their hair. That made me more comfortable with the idea. But I still couldn’t stomach the idea of a shaytl. At that time, if you covered your hair, you had many more options than just the tichel and the shaytl. But you still had to wear a shaytl for work and for special events- you’d look weird otherwise.

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Two weddings changed everything. I went to a wedding in New York where the bride’s sister walked down the aisle wearing a beautiful hat that matched her gown. Then I spent a year studying in Israel and while I was there, I attended a wedding in which the only women wearing shaytls were the kallah’s (bride’s) mother and a few of her American relatives. All the other married women were wearing hats, berets, or mitpachot (Israeli scarves) and they all looked beautiful.

For me, that was it. I decided that once I got married, I would cover my hair but that I would not wear a shaytl. More good news: when my husband and I were dating, the subject came up in conversation and I found out that he didn’t prefer shaytls either, nor did his mother who favored hats, berets, and snoods. For our wedding, my mother-in-law wore a hat made to match her gown and she looked wonderful.

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I started covering with hats and berets, but something about mitpachot appealed to me and I tried them, but I had trouble finding wraps that I liked. The first wrap I discovered was the basic crown wrap. I liked it, but I wasn’t excited about it. Then, my husband and I went to Yerushalayim for our cousin’s bar-mitzvah and it was there that I saw a wrap that I loved. One of the relatives at the bar-mitzvah graciously showed me how to do the Yerushalmi twist. That wrap became a signature look for me for a long time. After a few years, I even took the plunge and began wearing mitpachot for special events. I felt more elegant and beautiful than I ever did before.

About 2 ½ years ago, a friend directed me to Wrapunzel. That was a watershed for me. Not only did I discover a plethora of scarves and wrap styles, but I found a whole community of women who love scarves as much as I do. That community has given me so much encouragement and support in so many ways.

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Along the way, I’ve learned two important things involving hair covering:

  • Hair covering is a very deeply personal mitzvah. Therefore, every woman needs to find the method of covering that works well for her and leaves her looking and feeling her best. Otherwise, she’ll resent it. Some women are more comfortable wearing hats in shul and that’s it. Others are more comfortable wearing hats or berets and showing their own hair underneath. Still others wear shaytls. To be clear, I have nothing against shaytls on other women as long as the shaytl flatters the woman wearing it. I just don’t like them on me.
  • As Jews, we have to live within Halacha (Jewish law), but within that realm, there are so many options. No one should feel that hair covering or modest dress has to look frumpy or unattractive. Yes, married women have to wear hair coverings, but we can look wonderful in our hats, berets, shaytls, or wraps. And when we look that good, it makes for a wonderful Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name).

As I wear my mitpachot, whether they’re Israeli square scarves, 2-in-1s, pashminas, and all the variations, I feel that they express my creativity and individuality in ways that I never experienced before. And I’ve found that when I express myself that way, it draws people in and commands respect.

I am so proud to be a part of the Wrapunzelution. Thank you to Andrea Grinberg and to all my wonderful friends for giving me a place to really express myself and feel good about it.”

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Rivka Writes!

We all have ladies in our lives that we admire – who have such bright, positive, determined attitudes, and inspire us to be better versions of ourselves! Rivka is one of these ladies. A veteran Wrapunzelista, this Lady Wrap Star has helped so many women to feel and look beautiful. She has helped at our shows, made tutorials, and is an active poster on the Fangroup, where her gentle smile is completely contagious!! She sent us this beautiful essay on how wrapping has impacted her spiritual life and actions. Enjoy!!!

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I love my tichels! I love playing around with all the different styles, colors and textures. It is an amazing creative outlet for me. On a day to day basis, I don’t have too many opportunities to play around, have fun and express myself. My office job doesn’t involve much creativity for me. Maybe if I wasn’t on such a tight schedule, the kitchen would be my creative outlet. But anyway, “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve” will never get you anywhere. The gift Hashem gave me now is the ability and resources to be creative with the mitzva of covering my hair. But more then that, what I love more is how differently carrying out this mitzva in a tichel versus a sheitel (wig) makes me feel.

When I wear my tichels, I feel like Hashem is wrapping me and embracing me. He is telling me He is right there with me, holding my hand. Providing me with strength to do what is right, and giving me the direct telephone line to speak with Him.

I know that my hair was covered when I wore my sheitels too. It’s not as if I have taken on a completely new thing. I have just been continuing to do what I’ve always done since I wed. So why, then, this change? Why does wrapping my hair with tichels give me all these added bonuses?

(click the pictures to view them in a larger size!)

I think it is this: Since wrapping my hair, I am much more conscious of what I am doing. I don’t just throw on a sheitel. First, I put on a no-slip band, checking  – is all my hair secure? Am I tznius (modest, inward-focused)? This is “Step 1” – I need to be conscious that I am doing this for other reasons than just looking pretty. Then I add my tichel shaper, Step 2. Finally I wrap around my crown, my symbol, saying “Yes, I am royalty. I am the daughter of the King of all kings.” I add on my jeweled accessories and finishing touches making sure I am presentable enough to represent my Father the King.

Throughout the day I feel my crown laying on my head and I remember; Hashem is with me, I am representing Him with my crown. Representing Him causes me to be extremely aware of how I must conduct myself and strengthens me to do what is right. Furthermore it is known the more you give the more you love. The Hebrew word for love, ‘ahavah,’ comes from the word ‘hav,’ to give. The effort I give to this mitzva increases my love for Hashem and others. The more effort I put into my tichel wrapping, the more I love Hashem, the more I feel so close, the more I call out to Him from my heart to hold my hand and carry me through my struggles.