Contributing Guest Host Miss Ruth has some thoughts to share on modesty and a culture that accepts everything… except high standards.
Spend five minutes with me and you’ll figure out quickly I hold myself to a fairly high set of standards, at least compared to general culture and society. Shoot, glance at me from across a room and you can see I adhere to a level of modesty that prevents my breasts from busting out randomly in public and my clothes aren’t stretched across my body so tight it looks like the threads of the fabric are yawning into an abyss, about to break. I maintain standards for every aspect of my life just like the majority of humanity. I don’t expect everyone else to hold themselves to my specific standards, but – call me crazy – I do presume to expect those who claim to care/love/respect me to not ridicule or degrade me for having set a high bar by which I live my life. It is MY life after all. Every day I remind myself I have to be – I WANT to be – right in God’s eyes. Not because I fear a vengeful, angry, wrathful God, but because I seek to commune with a holy, righteous, just Savior who has my best interests before Him.
I’ve put up with a great deal of disparagement from others over how I dress (skirts, modest necklines, no makeup or jewelry) because it’s really not worth it to fight with someone over their preconceived ideas of how people who dress like me should act, think, speak, or what we should know. Apparently the next worse thing for a person to find out is I don’t drink. Cue the, “How do you even have fun??” and “Wow, you must be so boring,” and “You can have just one drink, right? You MUST have at least one drink with me.” And LAWD help us when the trifecta is completed and they realize I don’t use profanity.
I’m 33 years old and, at this stage in life, it’s no longer shocking (but still hurtful) when the negative criticism comes from those whom I love. For the most part, my response toward all this is: if someone pulls out a disparaging remark against my modesty or standards, they automatically lose their footing in the discussion, have lost my respect on the topic, and they chip away at the overall respect and trust between us. What the person is telling me when they call me a “prude” or “too picky” or “wound too tight” or “you need to get laid” or whatever-it-is, is that they don’t like an integral part of what makes me, me. Now, not everyone I’ve met or spent/spend time with has/does this, but it’s been enough of an issue to cause an internal struggle of who I am and if I’m “good enough”. And that’s a problem; a very big problem.
What these individuals are doing is drawing a deep line across who I am and telling me everything before the line is SUPER GREAT, but everything after it is bad and a flaw and makes me less than feminine or empowered or good enough. What they’re saying to me by their words and through their actions is, because I choose to live up to a higher or different standard, I’m less than they are. And frankly, I’m sick of being pushed down bit by bit, because someone else who claims to love/care about me wants to pick apart my chosen standards. If it’s such a problem, why stick around?
Yes, I’m a nerd. Yes, I own approximately 30 fandom shirts (and counting) and look forward to Fandom Friday every week. Yes, I appreciate and use correct grammar. Yes, I’m loud. Yes, I’m passionate. Yes, I own more pairs of flip flops than actual shoes. Heavens yes, I’m expressive. And a roaming spirit. And weird. And I dress modestly. No, I don’t use profanity. Yes, I think it’s cool to read my Bible every night before I go to sleep and I pray every day. No, I don’t have it all together. Yes, I love singing in the choir. Yes, I’m klutzy. No, I’m not perfect. Yes, I enjoy going to church. Yes, I really enjoy my coffee. No, I don’t sleep or date around. Yes, I believe God has the right man out there for me and I don’t need to lower myself to get him.
I’ve kept quiet for so long because I didn’t want to hurt or upset those who criticize my choices, but something had to give at some point. If it’s okay for others to boast and brag about getting drunk and all their skeezy hook-ups or relationships, then it’s ok for me to be content not to do all that mess. It’s exhausting trying to fit myself into everyone else’s cookie cutters. Trying to fit into someone else’s cookie cutter is cutting up who I am and who God made me to be…and that simply doesn’t fit with me.