What is modesty?

What My Modesty Means To Me

Be comfortable in your own skin.

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Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was go shopping. Like many other little girls, one of the things I looked forward to the most was spending Saturday afternoons with my mother perusing the racks of department stores looking for cute outfits. However, my shopping trip wouldn't be complete without me picking out something that had spaghetti straps or was "too short" and my mom telling me to put it back.

At eight years old, I knew that my parents had certain rules about what I could and could not wear. While I knew it had something to do with our South Asian culture and Christianity, I wasn't exactly sure why I couldn't wear whatever I wanted or how what I wore affected anyone else.

As I grew older, I began receiving religious books that emphasized the importance of preserving my purity and how dressing modestly was supposed to help avert the dreaded unwanted male gaze.

All I could think about, though, was how my friends were able to wear whatever they wanted and look amazing, while I had to dress according to my parents' expectations and, in my opinion, look like a grandma. I started folding up my shorts and hiking up my skirts when I left the house in order to fit in with other girls my age. I would wear a tank top under my sweater and then take the sweater off when I was sure my mom wouldn't see me.

I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated every time I went to the mall, because every time I found an outfit I thought I liked, it didn't fall into the realm of what my parents deemed "acceptable". Everything I wanted was either too short, too fitted, or had too low of a neckline. It was a constant struggle and point of contention in my house throughout all of high school.

But things started changing when I started college. Suddenly I was allowed to wear shorts that were slightly shorter and tank tops that had wide straps. For the entirety of my freshman year, I took full advantage of my newfound freedom. I was wearing shorts and tank tops and for the first time in my life, I felt like I looked like every other girl my age.

It was during this past summer that I started questioning my own clothing choices. While I certainly felt like I fit in better, I began to realize that I didn't want to wear more revealing clothes because of comfort, but rather, because of my lack of self-esteem. I was under the assumption that what I wore would determine whether or not people would like me. I also realized that I wasn't even entirely comfortable wearing revealing clothes.

I've since come to the conclusion that I prefer being more covered up, not because I'm worried about unwanted attention or distracting others, but rather because I simply feel more at ease wearing clothes that aren't as revealing. In this way, I hope that I can show that I have more to offer than just my physical appearance. My modesty isn't something that is restricting or oppressive, but instead, I feel more confident about myself and, in a way, freer.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Am Who I Am Today Because Of These People, And I Can't Thank Them Enough For Everything

Thank you.

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This is to all the people in my life that have helped me become the person I am today. You deserve more than just a "Thank you" from me, but I want to let you all know that I appreciate every single one of you.

To my parents,

I can't thank you guys enough for teaching me so much about life. Throughout my life, you've guided me through most things that I haven't even discovered on my own yet. You have taught me that I need help with money even though I continue to spoil myself. You have taught me to continue to believe in myself regardless of how difficult it can be at times. Thank you for everything that you have always done for me.

To my sisters,

You may constantly make fun of me for everything that I do — I do deserve it most of the times — you mean the world to me. You have taught me and showed me to be kind to everyone. Isn't that ironic? All jokes aside, you are the best sister I could ever ask for!

To my best friend,

The one who knows absolutely everything about me. The one who I FaceTime every single day. The one who has proven to me that I belong on this planet. The one who has helped me realize that I can do an endless amount of things with my life. Thank you for all the continuous support that you give me. You truly are the most thoughtful and encouraging best friend.

To my ex-best friend,

Even though you aren't really in my life anymore, I can't thank you enough for all the lessons I learned from you about myself. You encouraged me through tough times, reassuring me that I can do anything. You showed me that I have such a big heart. You taught me that I can dream with my eyes wide open. You taught me that I have such a gift — and I need to share it. Thank you for a solid friendship even if it was just for a little while.

To my coworkers,

You are the only reason why I'm still working. Our work environment is so amazing because of you. I look forward to coming to work because you have become my other family. Thank you for allowing me to have fun and be myself while at work.

To my roommates,

I know you have to deal with me constantly getting new pets or doing something stupid. I am shocked but thankful (of course) that put up with me. You are always so supportive of everything that I do. I could never thank you guys enough for all that you do. I hope you never get too tired of me!

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