The kara and me

The element on my mind the most right now is - "outsidership." An uncertainty about how to enter in....

Kara1 (42K)The element on my mind the most right now is - "outsidership." An uncertainty about how to enter in. I just recently began wearing the kara, and even that makes me feel so vulnerable, as i spent the week putting it on. Then taking it off. Then putting it on again.

First I would think: ‘Sikhi is primarily about one’s relationship to God, not about appearance or identity, and maybe you aren’t even a Sikh! And do you even need to have a label? And what about histories of colonialism that have made available a panoply of spiritual and cultural traditions for your personal indulgence? And what if... (and this is my greatest fear of all) this feeling of God-connection leaves? What if this is just a passing phase? A stop on my spiritual journey? What if this isn’t real at all? And if I'm not baptized why wear any of the 5 K’s at all?’

But there is something about this hesitation that intrigues me, as well, and I can’t help but wonder - is there something underneath?

And then fears come up like - imposition, taking up space, not belonging, of being exposed, of participating in cultural appropriation, of trying to be something I’m not.

And then I would take it off again.

Then I would think: ‘yes, Sikhi is primarily about my relationship with God, and when I wear the kara, I feel accountable to that relationship in a particular way, like - if I’m going to have the privilege of wearing this, then I better walk the talk (so to speak.)’

And so it has functioned in this way for me; reminding me of God when I look down to see it on my arm, and also motivating me all the more to do my prayers.

So then, i would put it back on.

I must sound so neurotic :)

Well, that was last week. and this week I have worn it almost constantly, still with some discomfort and uncertainty, but only when i get stuck in my mind. for more information about what that’s like, please re-read the preceding paragraphs.

At least four times :)

I am still not convinced that this is essential to my worship of God. but that it is important to understanding more about who I am, and that it may hold an important clue about attachments that i have to being able to "blend" in particular ways, of eliminating as much as possible elements in my physical appearance that would draw attention, or make me feel vulnerable, I think it does help to highlight these things. and that is work that I’m willing to engage with and explore further.


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