You are Now Free to Keep Your Eyes To Yourself

I had a job interview today and as I was getting dressed I realized just how much I fear being immodest. First of all, I have gained about 50 or so pounds in the last 3 or 4 years. This is the biggest that I have ever been in my life without being pregnant. I have a closet full of clothes that remind me every day just how much bigger I have gotten. I don’t throw them away because they are my favorite clothes.

About a year ago I bought a pair of nice dress pants that fit me and I’m starting to outgrow them. When I put them on, they might as well be leggings. They are epic tight, even though they technically fit.  Why don’t I buy more you ask? Because shopping for clothes at this size makes me want to hurl myself into traffic. I’m vain, I know. That knowledge does not change how I feel about myself when I look into a dressing room mirror when trying on pants. In fact, I hate pants at the moment.

So, this leaves me in a dilemma every single time that I have to get dressed in something other than stretchy pants and a baggy shirt. The only pair of pants that I own that fit me are jeans with jewels on the back pockets. It terrifies me to wear them in Catholic crowds because of the stuff that I have seen written on Facebook threads about how some people think they are the most immodest pants ever to wear. I used to work at Hooters, so it never occurred to me that wearing country-style jeans with jewels on the back pockets would be considered immodest.

I’ve also seen what women write about all kinds of thing that other women wear to Mass or some other parish event. And it has made me paralyzed to leave the house. It has probably also been a part of the reason I have made sure that there is no way that I look, feel or conduct myself like I’m “pretty”. I have no idea how to be pretty and not attract men.

I bring this up because I think it is finally time to explain to women who like to post “I was at Mass and saw this lady wearing X and couldn’t believe how stupid a person would have to be to NOT know that is immodest” or people who like the modest police signs to be put up outside the parish doors to understand what it is like to be that stupid woman.

I just lived most of my life not being valued for who I am. I was valued because I had a nice body, was half-naked and was a very good lay. That is what I considered to be my value. It was only by the Grace of God that I came into this Church full of crazy people who like to point out other people’s faults instead of working on their own that I learned I am a person who is valuable beyond what I look like or who I’m sleeping with.

When I first became Catholic and I started hearing all the chatter (thanks Facebook, you jerk!) about modesty, I started to think about it and my first instinct (as it is with all things) was to pretend that I knew alllll about modesty. I just blended in to the conversation. I began to go insane about what I was going to wear to Mass and how my kids looked because I didn’t want the so and so’s to see us and think we were not dressed “right”. It was not about Jesus, or God, but about what other people thought about me. I would see people make comments about how “my husband shouldn’t have to look at that kind of stuff (ie: immodest women)” and even though my first thought was “If your husband is looking at other women, you need to discuss the problem that your husband has with keeping his damn eyes to himself”, I wouldn’t say it. I had lost all my energy in fighting these good Catholic women during a debate about holding hands during the Our Father. I thought it was better if I just kept my mouth shut and nodded.

I even got into debates with other women about modesty. ME! The frackin’ girl who walked around Wal-Mart with only a jersey over her Hooter’s uniform. WTF?!  I just wanted to fit in. I always fall for that fitting is BS and it leads me down a very stupid road where I end up going “Who in the holy heck am I?”

It also causes me to hide who I really am from the world. I get a bit neurotic too. My husband and kids start wondering if they need to call the mental hospital or something because I lose it man.

Those modesty signs are not a way to keep people from dressing immodestly, they are only a way for the devil to tell someone “see? You are not welcome here”. The same as if we had signs at the parish doors that said “If you have had an abortion, worked in an abortion clinic, are gay, gamble, are a drunk, lie, are prideful, are fat, or are a sinner of any kind you are not welcome here”, and that is NOT what our Church says. I used to sit in that pew daring someone to tell me to leave because of how I was dressed. I dressed like a hooker on purpose so that when they would do just that, I could give this Catholic Church the finger on my way out. It never happened. Instead a new pastor came and the sign went. Then a priest met me where I was and loved me along the way of my conversion.

Now, here I am, 50 pounds overweight with nothing to wear except a pair of jeans with the ass bedazzled or skin-tight pants, crying because I don’t want to be immodest. I don’t want to represent my Lord while drawing attention to my body. I’m not trying to get YOUR husband to look at me; I’m trying to just be modest. I have no effing idea how to do that when I’m constantly wondering if some lady is going to look at me crazy because of my jeans. Sparky still tries to convince me that I do not belong in this Church, and every single stupid comment about modesty and stupid women who have no idea how to dress “properly” just adds to my insecurity.  It is the same as people valuing me because my boobs are hanging out of my shirt, only the opposite: people placing their value in me for dressing right according to their standard of “right”.

I am trying to do my best to make sure that no man in my parish is scandalized by the fact that I look like a woman and have curves and boobs, all I ask is that every woman stop pointing their finger at their sisters in Christ for what they wear and just think that maybe JUST MAYBE she is doing her best that day. If your husband is looking at her, tell him to keep his damn eyes to himself. Not for my sake, but for the sake of his own soul.

 

 

 

modesty

About these ads

23 thoughts on “You are Now Free to Keep Your Eyes To Yourself

  1. When discussing modesty and appropriate church dress, I’m reminded of a story of my dad’s about a former girlfriend (back in the late 60′s, early 70′s). She was wearing a long tunic top (as long as most mini-skirts at least) and pants combo, when she decided she wanted to enter a church. She strongly felt that pants shouldn’t be worn in church so she removed the pants from her outfit before going in :-). Dad said she was completely bewildered at him finding this funny.

    My own conclusions about modesty is that we shouldn’t dress or act as to draw undue attention to ourselves (or any particular body part). Modest behaviour (and dress) includes not ‘puffing ourselves up’ just as much as behaving chastely.

    • Lol!!! Exactly. Most days I’m good at just knowing that God knows my intentions, but I still feel that it’s important other women (because that’s who I mostly hear talk about this) understand that some of us struggle and those comments and signs don’t help. :)

      • Ha! My sister stole my comment. I love telling that story. :-)
        I think modesty is all about presenting ourselves as what we are–valuable human beings among other valuable human beings. Which means that we shouldn’t deliberately dress so that our sexual features overshadow or distract from the rest of our selves–thus, the typical understanding of modesty–but also that we shouldn’t dress to show off our material wealth or status, which denigrates over-emphasizes material worth over spiritual.

        Or, to put it another way–I don’t think modesty has ANYTHING to do with whether men lust after you. It has something to do with whether you intend to incite lust, but nothing to do with what sins another person commits.

        • Very good point! And lust and attraction are two different things. One can’t help the attraction or even the acknowledgment if beauty but one can take that too far and then lust. Is that right?

  2. Leticia people who judge others from an attitude of pride are not just in one church. They are everywhere! I might be the only guy that leaves a comment so I want to say of course guys should not look. Jesus told us that in the Gospels! People sharing out of love and concern though like phantomdiver did here I really appreciate. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you have people like that in your church? I sure hope so. God bless.

    • I agree!

      Yes! There are actually quite a few. One of my favorite people is a fashionista and has helped me a lot when it comes to this issue. To understand modesty. But one thing about Catholics (and probably other denominations too, I just don’t know) is we are opinionated and certain things start flying around at certain times of the year. Right now it’s this dumb “modesty poster” some parishes put in their narthex. It seems like a great idea once you are in love Witt being Catholic but when you’re like I was, it came off as unwelcoming.

      I’m gonna write another post about the difference between men (and women) being about to look at the opposite sex without lust while acknowledging their beauty. It is possible, God made us capable of that.

      I love being Catholic, but we are human, so there is drama. :)

      Thank you for commenting!!!

  3. haha, I wear Jeans with crystals on the pockets, prefer slim cut pants, and am “somewhat” overweight. I dress for myself without considering what others think of my clothing. I hadn’t really thought about others judging me. And if their husbands are looking at me, this 60 year old Catholic is going to feel flattered. :) Great post, and very on target!

    • “I’m not as far progressed spiritually as you” just made my angel snort-laugh!!

      I love your post!!! YES, you are so right. And you’re funny! Thank you for sharing that.

  4. {{{{Leticia}}}} I’d give you a big hug in person if I knew you’d like it. Because you’re so right, men definitely ought to keep their eyes to themselves.

    And I am NOT blaming you for anything. Nor am I telling you that you are eeeeeevil. You are a beloved child of God, and I know that you are trying really hard to do what God wants. The trouble is that just one quick glance at somebody might take them into a lustful thought, and we really don’t want to make life more difficult for anybody if they’re trying to be holy. Men tend to be different from women. They are a whole lot more visually stimulated than women are. I didn’t always believe this, but I do now.

    This video might help you see what I mean: http://youtu.be/w58Es_f0PRA Yeah, it’s long, but you can listen to it while you do other things. The speaker (my daughter!) is in fact pretty darn covered up, but I don’t think she looks like a shapeless, sexless adolescent.

    If you feel as I’m beating up on you, please say so. Let’s talk about it. It really isn’t my intent. I’m trying to do a Titus 2 on you, being an older woman who is helping a younger woman. God bless you!

    • Hey there! No, I don’t feel you are beating up on me. I can handle people commenting on my posts.

      You have a very valid point and I understand all of that stuff about modesty. My point though is when a woman is doing everything she can to do her best to be modest then it is no longer on her if men can’t control their lusts. Their lusts stand on their own and their own sin. Now, if I was wearing low cut tops and leggings, then the sin of immodesty would be mine and it would stand alone on it’s own. The idea that one causes the other and therefore one is less of a sin because of the other is wrong. If a woman is not willfully acting or dressing in a way to sexually entice a man, then she is not at fault if he lusts after her. It’s hard for people to get that.

      Also, there are men who get turned on by all kinds of weird things, I’ve slept with some of them. I had one guy who would just ask to look at my feet while he masturbated, so what am I supposed to do? Not wear flip flops for men like him? Ummm, no, men are capable of treating women with dignity and respect, regardless of what they are wearing. Treating them like they are brainless animals that have no control of themselves does nothing to help them and puts all the responsibility on women. Kind of how birth control and abortion make the woman solely responsible for the consequences of sexual contact.

      We are brothers and sisters and we should act like it. And women should stop worrying about what every other woman is wearing and worry about ourselves more often.

      Thank you for your comment, and for considering my feelings. :) I hope that I didn’t say anything rude.

      ~Leticia

      • You are so right. And I love that third paragraph, especially about covering your feet! LOL!!!

        I was trying to be careful of your feelings because it’s difficult to make sure that stuff comes off right in writing. Also, I tend to look like the kind of person who is judging others and thinks that people who are less than perfect are bad. I was that kind of person once, and God has been working on me.

        We’re on the same page. Go you! And I’m glad your interview went well!

        • I became like that too! For about a year I just walked around judging people. It was like a sport and then one day God reminded me of my past and told me that I would be telling people ALL about it so I wouldn’t forget it. LOL!

          It’s so easy to do. It takes all the attention off our own soul.

          Writing is a hard way to get tone across, it’s another lesson that I’ve learned: How to think the best of people when I read them.

          God has done a lot of work in me. I used to not even care. “You’re a pansy, go suck an egg” was my motto for a very long time. Now, I try my best to explain myself and read people with charity.

          God Bless!!

  5. YES. To all of this. Thank you for sharing your insights Leticia. So I have to ask, what did you wear to the interview? I hope it went well, I just said a quick prayer for you – God is out of time after all right? :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s