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, Now That I'm Older

A letter to the woman who made me the woman I am today.
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Dear Mom,

Now that I'm older, I definitely appreciate you a lot more than I did as a kid. I appreciate the little things, from the random text messages to constantly tagging me on Facebook in your "funny" photos and sending me pins of stuff I like on Pinterest. Now that I'm older, I can look back and realize that everything I am is all because of you. You've made me strong but realize it's okay to cry. You've shown me how a mother gives everything to her children to give them a better life than she had, even when she's left with nothing. And, most importantly you've taught me to never give up and without this, I would not be where I am today.

Mom, now that I'm older, I realize that you're the best friend I'm ever going to have. You cheer me on when I try new things and support me in deciding to be whatever person I want to be. Thank you for never telling me I can't do something and helping me figure out ways to be the best woman I can be. Your love for me is unconditional. They say true, unconditional love can only come from God, but mom, I think you're a pretty close second.

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Now that I'm older, I don't get to see you as much. But not seeing you as much just makes the times I do get to see you the absolute best, and I look forward to it every time. Now that I'm older, I'm not going to live at home. But, I promise to always come back because I know the door is always open. Your house is always going to be my home, and no other place is going to be the same.

Now that I'm older, I realize how much I miss you taking care of me. I miss you making me dinner, making sure I was doing well in school, and taking me to endless appointments. I miss you waking me up for school and then waking me up again because I didn't listen the first time.

But, Mom, now that I'm older, I can see all that you've done for me. I can look back and see how big of a brat I was but you still loved me (and let me live) anyways. I can understand why you did certain things and frankly, you're one bada** of a woman.

To have you as my mom and my best friend has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. So, Mom, now that I'm older, thank you, for everything.

Love,

Your Daughter

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To The Mom I Appreciated Back Then, But Appreciate So Much More NOW

I hope you're proud.

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I started writing this articles about three to four months ago when I told my Mom how excited I was for this new opportunity before "I am proud of you" was said she screamed, "when do I get an article??"

Well, Mom, I told you never so you would get off my back, but here I am - writing you the article you deserve.

Mom,

I wrote about this in my letter to you and dad about your divorce but it reigns true, going to college showed me so much. I found people cursing their mother on the phone, never wanting to go home to see their mom and hating their mother with everything they had. I sat there in disbelief. How can you hate someone who did everything they could to give you the life you live? Who got you to where you are now.

I appreciated you before, but college made me realize how incredible you are.

Mom, thank you for raising me as a single parent - I know that Dad was always a big part of my life too but you did so much for me. Thank you for understanding me and what I needed even when I was not vocal about it. I never told you what I was feeling but you always seemed to know when something was off. Thank you for giving the best hugs, every time something is going wrong or I am missing home all I can picture an image is coming home to hug you.

That warm embrace that through everything was always there. Thank you for encouraging me, pushing me and never letting me give up. Thank you for showing me a strong woman, one that refuses to accept the glass ceiling, one who refused to let anyone get in the way of her and her goals. Thank you for loving me, supporting me and believing in me when I refused to do so for myself.

I know there have been times when we get rocky and our relationship was not perfect, it is a mother-daughter thing for sure, but thank you for showing me every time that your love, care, and devotion to who I am is unwavering.

Your taco chicken will forever be my least favorite meal and your singing will always be the last thing I want to hear. Yet I would not trade those for the world, I would not trade your crazy outlook and insistent ways for anything else.

I will never be able to repay you for what you did for me, but I will forever be so thankful and appreciative of it, I hope I make you proud.

Love you most,

Your Daughter

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