What My Modesty Means To Me

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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Dear Mom, From Your Daughter In College

Here are all the things our phone calls aren't long enough to say.
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Dear Mom,

Do you remember when I was three and we would play together?

It was the age of princesses and carpet that was actually lava, and you were the prettiest woman in the whole wide world. Do you remember when I was in high school and the world seemed too big and scary? You would know exactly when to take me on a mother-daughter date and have me laughing about anything and everything, and you were the smartest woman in the whole wide world.

Now, I'm buried in homework and deadlines hours away from you and we don't get to talk as much you want, but you're still the prettiest, smartest woman in the whole wide world.

I'm sorry that I don't call you as much as I should, and you know a lot of what goes on in my world via posts and pictures. Our schedules just seem to never line up so we can have the three-hour conversations about everything like I want to. I know we don't agree on absolutely everything, but I cherish every piece of advice you give me, even though it probably seems like I'm hardly listening.

I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves, but thank you for putting up with me for all of these years. Thank you for listening to me cry, complain, question things and go on and on about how everything in college is. I know I don't come home as much as I used to, but I think about you all the time. After all, you're my first friend, and therefore, my best friend.

Thank you for celebrating my successes with me, and not downing me too hard for my failures. Thank you for knowing what mistakes I shouldn't make, but letting me make them anyway because you want me to live my life and be my own person. Thank you for knowing when to ask about the boy I've been talking about, and when to stop without any questions. Thank you for letting me be my crazy, weird, sometimes know-it-all self.

Thank you for sitting back and watching me spread my wings and fly. There is no way I could have known how to grow into the woman I am today if I hadn't watched you while I was growing up so I would know what kind of person I should aspire to be. Thank you for being the first (and the best) role model I ever had. You continue to inspire and amaze me every day with all that you do, and all that you are.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have a person in my life like you, but I thank the Lord every night for blessing me with the smartest, prettiest person to be my best friend, my role model, my confidant, my person and most importantly, my mother.

Love,

Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Your Relationship With Your Parents Changes Over Time, Here's Why

Four ways in which your relationship with your parents change from age eighteen to twenty-two.

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Over spring break I had time to think about all the different ways in which my relationship with my parents has changed throughout college. We've definitely had our ups and downs, but as graduation grows closer, I take time to note how far we have come. From freshman to senior year of college I have undergone a drastic change in how I appreciate my parents.

At eighteen, I wanted to get as far away from my parents as possible. I was going to college in order to be independent, study, and hopefully make a career for myself. Nothing could stop me and no one could give me advice. I was stubborn and hungry to explore the new life that awaited me. I didn't realize how hard it would be being on my own for the first time ever. I had never even been to camp let alone moved to a different state not knowing a single soul. I was happy for the new opportunities but quickly realized how much I had been sheltered. Initially, I resented my parents for my little life experience going into college but as the years have passed I realized I can't be so immature to put my lack of knowledge on them. As an adult I now make things work and advocate for myself. Your struggles as an individual humble you so you can come back together better and stronger than before.

Here are some ways in which the relationship between you and your parents change:

1. You don't live together 24/7, so you appreciate time spent with them.

When you're not sharing a space with your parents and they are not there to nag at you about chores, you finally get to know them as people. As an adult yourself you begin to relate to them in ways that weren't possible in childhood.

2. You realize what is worth fighting over and what is not.

You have learned how to live on your own and set boundaries. As an adult, you come back home knowing what can be improved upon within the relationship and what are things you can let go.

3. You have experience with adulthood now and can understand how really great they are.

Adult struggles are real and now as someone older and wiser, you have experienced a great many. You then begin to realize how your parents took on all these responsibilities plus the responsibility of raising/providing for you. You don't know how they did it, but suddenly you're mad at sixteen-year-old you who fought them on everything.

4. They are your biggest support system in wanting you to achieve your dreams.

There is no one quite as invested in your dreams like your parents. When you have no one to turn to and nothing to give you that extra boost of motivation, parents are there. They may not be perfect but they love you more than anyone so call your parents.

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