This is part 2 of my modesty journey.
As I mentioned in my last post, I grew up with strictly enforced rules about modest dressing. All that changed the year I turned 14. I started high school and my family went through some very difficult times when my dad decided he didn’t want to stay married to my mom. I can’t say for sure if the new public school environment and my family situation led me to rebel against my parent’s dress code, but I’m sure it didn’t help. I found myself surrounded my peers who showed so much skin it made me uncomfortable. But at the same time it was intriguing and seemed harmless, so I tested it out. Not right away though. I was still dressing kind of blah, with no real effort put into it.
Eventually I started wearing tighter shirts, shorter shorts and experimented with make up. My poor mom was so busy working at her 3 jobs so I doubt she even noticed my new outfits right away. And if she did, the way her daughter was dressing was the least of her concerns. After years of feeling ashamed of how I looked I was finally getting attention and I liked it.
Looking back now I think I dressed that way because I felt ugly…I had bad skin, bad teeth, my hair was out of control, my eyebrows were thick and wild and I wore glasses. Calling attention to my body with tight clothes drew the focus off the parts of myself I hated, which made me feel a little better. I think the turning point was when I got a mini makeover before starting grade 10. I had my hair cut in a way that was easy to maintain, my skin cleared up a little, I had my eyebrows waxed and got new glasses. My new look was something I was proud of and I started dressing in a way that made me feel comfortable. I can’t remember what sort of clothes I wore, but they were less revealing that’s for sure! My personal style changed over the next few years in high school and while modesty was not something I was focused on the clothing I wore was not very revealing.
When I was around 16 I started going to the youth group at my church (my family had not been regulars on Sunday for a few years but my mom pushed for me to go to the weekly youth service). I made some great friends there, had a lot of fun and reaffirmed my love of God. I became a peer leader and enjoyed all the responsibility that came with it. I was still dressing fairly modestly, but my reason had changed. We were taught that showing too much skin can cause our brothers in Christ to stumble and that was not something I wanted. To me dressing modestly meant no short shorts, no tank tops and not showing too much skin on top.
As I finished high school and started college clothes became something that I didn’t focus too much attention on. Jeans and sweaters became staples in college since a lot of what we did in class involved dirt, mud, water, etc. After college my clothing needs changed as I entered the adult workforce. I knew what I was comfortable in and what types of clothing to stay away from. I don’t think I consciously chose to dress modestly but by that point it was just something I did sort of out of habit.
Fast forward a few years and now I’m a married woman. My views of modesty have changed over the past few months and I’d like to share them with you in the next post.