A year ago, I lost about 20 pounds. Being a grad student I have not kept all the weight off, but last summer was the summer to show off my accomplishments.
I had not worn shorts in about 8 years until last summer. I felt too heavy for shorts. I liked to hide myself by wearing skirts and pants. But mostly skirts because they covered everything. Most people could not tell I was 30 pounds above my BMI. I hid well. I was certainly not thought of as thin, but I generally kept an OK appearance. I was modest in what I wore. But this was because I hated my body.
Last summer, I started to love my body. And I bought shorts. And mini-skirts. Now, I decided to put the mini-skirts away, for the most part. One time I wore a mini-skirt and spaghetti-strap tank top outside, and drivers who passed by made it very clear I was not modest. Shocked by the avert objectification, I knew I needed to re-learn modesty.
This summer is not a skinny summer for me, like last one. But I still wear shorts. I wore shorts to the gym today, and noticed a guy looking at me. But honestly could not tell if he was thinking I was hot or if I was too fat for them. It didn’t really matter, though. Just my presence at the gym as a woman makes me vulnerable to that, and I do not care to know what he thought either way.
This summer I am in between. I would not call myself hot, and I am not as overweight as I was last May. In this circumstance I am learning to not hate my body.
I look at the imperfections and I embrace them. And I dare wear clothes that I spent years avoiding.
I am also being aware of my heart when I put on clothing. I want to be clothed in dignity. I want others to respect me, and not objectify me.
I do not make rules about what I can or cannot wear. But I also don’t wear spaghetti straps with mini skirts. I am learning that even though I can wear them, does not mean it is beneficial to me.
My body is God’s and my body is my own. No one else owns my body. No one else can tell me what to wear. I will ask trusted friends if my shorts are too short. But mostly, if I feel like my clothing is inappropriate for the context I am in, I won’t wear it. I might wear it in another context and be completely fine.
You will never see me laying out in my bathing suit on the seminary campus I live on. Just would be weird. But I will go to a pool, where everyone has a bathing suit of some kind on. I will pay money to simply go lay down in freedom, because I know it’s not weird or inappropriate in this context to wear a bathing suit.
Use your own judgments. Be discerning. Think contextually.
And be loving.
Be loving to your friends, to your brothers and sisters in Christ, to the people who live around you.
And be loving to yourself.
Because being objectified is never cool. People will do it anyways. They could objectify me if I am wearing a long, covering dress that resembles a trash bag. And women objectify men as well.
Don’t hate your bodies. Even if you’re a bit overweight. Even if you think you’re too skinny, or too pale or too this. God created us beautiful and our bodies are works of art. I work out 4-5 times a week because I love my body and want to keep it healthy and somewhat slim. I have come from being modest out of shame because I hate my body, to seeing what I could get away with a new body. Now even with this little weight, I can love my body, still wear shorts, and still be mindful of others. Modesty is a state of mind.