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Monday, May 3, 2010

Modesty

My parents have always been into the whole modesty thing. Bathing suits were a necessary evil and utilized in the one-piece with shorts combo. I remember the drama surrounding my first sleeveless dress, was I ten? I wore it maybe twice. I remember my first tank top, measuring the straps with three fingers. Raising my hands over my head for every shirt. Hands by my sides to measure the length my shorts. And despite my ridiculously long arms, some shorts still didn't make the proverbial cut. Things got a little harder after my growth spurt, being just too tall to find skirts and dresses and shorts that were long enough. The stringent measurements ended for the most part when I started dressing solely in boy shorts. Sue me.

But I've been noticing lately that the girls in BrioMag are dressed more modest than I. I'm amused that this is even my comparative measuring stick for how modest I am. I don't read BrioMag. For the record. Just, you know, saying.

It has been hard, guarding against rebellion. Because I'm not surrounded by people who are flagrantly immodest, or people who are troubled by that sort of thing, it's hard to remember why modesty matters. I've used my fair share of safety pins, had my numerous last-minte wardrobe changes, I've been there done that. I'm not sure why I think being older changes anything. I've always preferred to wear what I'm comfortable wearing, and the older I get the fewer layers that entails. I view modesty like I prefer to view everything: in terms of the spirit of the law and not by the letter of the law. I don't judge my wardrobe in terms of inches and centimeters. There are tops I can wear that other girls can't. There are skirts other girls can pull off that I'd never venture out in.

But in being careless over the concrete standards of modesty, I'm forgetting the spirit of the standards, too. I don't feel self-conscious in spaghetti straps anymore. I've never been very aware of my appearance. Still, when I wore my party dress to a banquet last month, I was acutely aware of where the hem fell on my thigh. Especially standing next to my fellow homeschoolers, there was a twinge of shame. No one cared, but, I felt a little like Meg at Sally Moffet's engagement party, playing a part. I can't honestly say I'm a fan of the hem measuring, but I'm remembering that the rules and standards exist to remind me of the principles behind them. That's how I deal with my authority problem, kids.

I just keep waking up and realizing somewhere along the line I stopped thinking.

2 comments:

Michael said...

"The stringent measurements ended for the most part when I started dressing solely in boy shorts. "
I will sue you.

"I've never been very aware of my appearance."

Says the girl who is constantly wishing she had different hair, wasn't so tall etc. etc.

"but I'm remembering that the rules and standards exist to remind me of the principles behind them. That's how I deal with my authority problem, kids."

and sometimes you gotta see what those principles are in order to see if following the rules is correct. And sometimes you just gotta suck it up and hope that the people who made the rules see why :P

"I just keep waking up and realizing somewhere along the line I stopped thinking."

Huh . . . I can relate to that. The last couple of days have been like that for me as well, in different areas. Vigilance, it's hard.

Kara B. said...

Hey thanks for this, it's a good reminder. For me, modesty has/had always been an important value to me, but here at school, it definitely feels like no one else shares the same values. It's easy for me to forget my own standards. Stick to it, Hayley, it'll pay off. (Though I agree with the 'spirit of the law' thing-- a little too much haha).