It’s no secret that girls are subject to an obscene number of opinions on how we clothe ourselves.

That’s too slutty, boys don’t like that, I can see your bra, I can see your stomach, God doesn’t like that, you shouldn’t cover up, you should cover up"

Especially in the heart of the Bible belt, “modest is hottest” was repeated as though it was a life mantra that everyone had to have embroidered on their pillows. I felt like I had to be careful of what I wore as to avoid being talked about by other people’s parents and getting a room full of disapproving stares saying “God will smite you for wearing that.” I was told, as many young girls were, that we had to dress in what was considered "modest" so we didn’t distract our brothers in Christ. So here’s my perhaps controversial opinion, do with it what you will, this is one girl talking---buckle up.

Many young girls, and women in general, struggle with their body image. We’re expected to be skinny, but curvy, in shape but still feminine, and a host of other things. I’ve never been someone who felt entirely comfortable showing a lot of skin or wearing super tight fitting clothing to school or even on special occasions. I didn’t feel confident enough to wear them without wondering all night what are people thinking, do I look fat in this, are people judging me.

These are genuinely things I worried about and felt burdened by. This year, and especially recently I have felt very beautiful in my own skin and with the size, shape, and imperfections of my body. When I see myself in a crop top for once I feel beautiful embracing my body. I feel proud embracing myself and wearing something not for anyone else, or for anyone else’s eyes to be impressed or tempted by, but because I feel beautiful amazing confident UNSTOPPABLE.

So modesty I believe is a relative term. I was always given the impression modesty was to honor God with your body. So what does that mean exactly? To me, honoring my body is loving my body. Loving the body God gave me means wearing what makes me feel like the beautiful person I was intended to always feel like. I feel good in my skin. I don’t feel that God looks down on me and thinks, “How could she wear that?”

I’ve been living in fear of other’s opinions of me and being judged by them—but so what? I am the same person in a turtle neck that I am in a crop top. It’s time to stop shaming women for what we wear or for embracing the bodies we were given. If my crop top offends you or tempts you, then here’s an idea—stop sexualizing my belly button. We all know the basic human anatomy, sorry but the secret's already out; it is what you make of it. Thank you.