Are we dressing a certain way to prove something? I know I used to.
When I was nine I was a tomboy – I had three brothers and that year my little sister was just born. I was rough and tumble; I ran around and skateboarded (though I dreamed of being a ballet dancer). I wore boys shoes, socks and t-shirts… and skirts. But only skirts that were as “boyish” and “non-feminine” as possible!
Being a child, I guess I can’t really blame myself for too much, but I know that I WAS dressing to prove something… that I was “tough”, and I wasn’t a “girly-girl”. (Thank GOD my parents had common sense and didn’t think that I was “gay” or “transgender”)
At the age of eleven my best friend and I discovered the Canadian punk rocker, Avril Lavigne, who had the same style as I – boyish. This led me down the path of adoring the punk scene. Avril turned into Green Day, Green Day turned to My Chemical Romance… oh this part of my life can be for another time BUT – my point is – I was always dressing a certain way to prove that I was something. A punk, an Emo, a Goth… a witch at one point. DON’T MESS WITH ME, I AM DIFFERENT, I AM NOT LIKE YOU, NOTICE ME – screamed out (I suppose this was part of growing up.) It was always about how I was perceived – and the weird looks were the best! Growing up, this was how I dressed – this was how I lived to dress. Being the different one always gave such a rush! It almost felt as if dressing darker (though never as dark as I wanted) gave me a power over people; though this couldn’t be further from the truth.
This attitude put me at odds with most people around me; family members, and my dear mom, who most of all tried her best to steer me through the fog. I always fought her to dress more “dark”, I was never happy with how dark I looked, I wanted to look more tough, more scary. It was never enough.
Even most pictures of myself at these stages don’t do the darkness in my heart credit. I was always unhappy, always searching, never at peace. I was anxious and nervous around people because of the wall I put between myself and them.
This changed only when I spent three months at a Catholic monastery of sorts; the rosary was said every day, as well as Mass, and I had to make many sacrifices and fasts. Even though that place isn’t a place I’d go back to, for many reasons, God still used it to open my heart, and purge the darkness out of me.
Today, at twenty-six I still struggle with dressing more feminine – I am the worst at matching outfits, and I can’t stand dressing up, I’m just not comfortable with it. But thankfully God is more of the focus of my life, rather than obscene rock stars and fashion. I no longer have the great desire to dress to scare, or show off how dark and evil I “might” be. I’m just, me.
I found that plunging myself into Catholicism, not a rock band, not one person, not a fashion staple….gave me freedom. True freedom.
A problem that I still have to deal with is …. am I dressing to prove something to others? OR; am I dressing to point to God? With modesty, sobriety, prettiness, you get the point I hope. Am I constantly thinking, “Ooo, these really short sleeves will really stick it to that person who is really scrupulous about modesty!” or “I should wear this maxi skirt, then so and so, who also wears them might like me more!”. Like it or not, regardless, this is how we think! At least .. I do.. tell me I’m not alone in this ?
So, are you wearing that skirt to prove to others that you disapprove of pants? Or are you wearing it because that is what you believe what is modest. Nothing more nothing less?
Are you wearing those jeans to prove to that “skirt wearing gal” that you disagree and think that wearing skirts all the time is dumb? Or do you just like jeans and feel comfortable in them?
Is what you are wearing, or putting on … secretly because of how you think others will react?
Seriously I am writing the article to myself firstly!
I know that personally, it’s not my first thought; that I dress to impress. But if I think about it for a moment… yes! I did paint my nails black for that family party just to spite the relatives that think it’s “of the devil“. I don’t even like black nail polish any more! What in the name of Pride is wrong with me?
So tomorrow, as I pick my outfit for the day, I should not pick my favorite skirt to spite those who disagree with my skirt-wearing ideas… I should pick my favorite skirt because… hey! It’s my favorite skirt! Its comfortable! But first and foremost… I should wear it, for love of God.
I have spent so much of my life trying to “prove” this or that, until I went down a dark hole that almost ruined my life – it’s time to turn over a new leaf…
I am going to prove to God each and every day, every moment how much I love him!
After all … that is what is important. Is it not?