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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Modest Adjustments

In 1977, I left home wearing a long-line bra, brief style panties, undershirt, panty hose, panty girdle, slip, and a dress with fitted bodice (tie in back), Peter Pan collar, and three-quarter length sleeves (cuffed) that covered my body from suprasternal notch to eight inches below my knees. Not quite midi and far from maxi. Because that was the prevailing style in my wardrobe and because I had only five dollars a month to cover necessities, and because that was the way I was raised, I was modest.
Various styles of modesty from religious perspective
 One day I got a job, and bought some clothes. While away from home, I wore tight, form-fitting, figure flattering jeans and tops. I worked out. I learned to swim (in my homemade suit of polyester knit lined with a poly-cotton blend and measured below my knees). I ran, with a man, for the first time in my life. "Ran" as in both feet off the ground, not "floozie".

When I returned home, I covered up. Turns out if your bra is visible, you are naked. If your legs are bare, you are naked. If you're not wearing a slip, you are a tramp - just asking for it. I bought a half slip, and a jacket. My legs stayed bare. I had given up pantyhose.

As the years progressed, I gave up more and more clothing, until I was running through the woods hollering, "Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!" After a bold taste of freedom, it is a rough road to confinement.

Yet, here I am. Rethinking modesty. Noticing a delight in being covered, protected. I have the image of the tents and cloths we lay over food at a picnic to keep the flies out. Years ago, I decided my deepest desire was to be a bearer of the light and to attract other light bearers into my life. I have gathered a lot of moths around. They are charmed by the light even if it leads to their ultimate demise.

My closet is filled with clothes that are less supportive of my rethinking than I had hoped. I have three long shirts with three-quarter length cuffed sleeves, a couple of knit tops that will work with a scarf at the neck, and a shrug. I need more choices, especially since I splurged and bought this most fab open neck, chest, back tunic that I have wanted for years.

Watching All American Muslim clips, I saw one woman wearing a shirt like mine with a pullover underneath. That could work. I get to wear the bright flowing colors and maintain my level of modesty. This is an interesting take on the various choices of practicing modesty, or not. The stories on Breaking Amish as just as diverse and varied. One of the interesting factors is that in Breaking Amish, even as the characters travel they are connected to other Amish from all over the country. I understand the feeling that you can't get away from the "opinions" of those who know where you come from.

I am finding my way. My own way. I bought three thin long sleeve tops and another pair of leggings. I already own long silk and rayon flowing skirts. I have wandered the streets with my skirts rising and falling in the breeze, brushing against my naked skin. It will be strange as I miss that sensation.

What does it matter?

We come into the world naked. When we are left to choose, we cover to the level of our comfort. When rules are imposed, we long to rebel. There comes a day when we can choose again. I can choose to run nekkid in the woods, sun freely on the cliffs, share with all creation what G-d gave me. Having walked that path and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I choose to cover. Today I choose modesty.

Modesty is always beautiful. - G.K. Chesterton

I am taking back what's mine from the fantasy of being yours.

Still on the journey...


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