So as a single woman in her mid-twenties with an affinity for fashion, I have two soapboxes that have developed over the years: marital status and modesty. Both are sparked around this time of year because of the number of weddings that occur in May and June and the avalanche of articles addressing the appropriateness of bikinis. These soapboxes seem disconnected, but actually have the same foundation: the way you dress and where you fall on the relationship scale don’t have a thing to do with anything.
In a nutshell, these soapboxes are as follows:
– I am not less of a person because I’m single. (Words also written by Emily Maynard, one of my favorite voices regarding both of these issues.) My life, though not shared intimately with another, is in progress. I’m learning things and struggling with other things. Both good things and bad things happen to me. I celebrate successes and deal with failures. Bottom line: My singleness doesn’t affect my ability to empathize with and relate to others. My experience is just as valid as any other’s.
–My clothing choices do not make me responsible for others’ sin. It is impossible to set one standard for modesty and expect it to apply to every shape, size, and comfort level. Blanket statements about swimwear, length of shorts, or the cut of a top can’t work, y’all; chalking it up to men being visual won’t work either. Why? Read this article and this response. I know my own clothing boundaries, and I bet you know yours, and I bet they aren’t the same. Bottom line: Chill out with the judgment. Stop making others feel shame over their bodies just because you have a different comfort level, and be responsible for you and not for others.
These are just rants. I’ve got a few more up my sleeve, like how we only acknowledge God’s goodness when life is good and how the rush hour traffic jam at I-235 and I-44 is absolute bollocks and how basketball players have absolutely no excuse for not making 95% of their free throws and how I’ll elope before ever planning a wedding. Sure, I’d love to see less of those condemnationful articles passive-aggressively shared on facebook. It’d be pretty nice if my (lack of a) relationship status didn’t invalidate my experiences in the eyes of others in a ‘more advanced’ status. But in the end, (as much as I would like for people to stop being hurtful and prejudiced and mean) I’m the one that needs to change my perspective. No, not so I agree with every narrowminded crazypant out there. It’s time for me to totally turn my attention away from these issues. It’s time for me to let the annoyances and grievances roll off my back. It’s time for me to put on the identity that God gave me, instead of the one I tried making for myself or the even more ill-fitting version sewn by everyone else. Cause yall don’t know me, and I don’t know you, and I don’t even know me. But He does, so let’s listen to Him.
Bottom line of the bottom line: Let people be. Let God be big, and let his grace be big. You just concern yourself with the math of it all. You know… How you started out good but went bad so fast, and how you try to be so good but it’s so hard, and how your efforts and thoughts and rants don’t really matter cause HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH. And there is SO MUCH LOVE that you can’t contain it in yourself but have to let it spill over to others.
I want to stop getting caught up in silly squabbles about silly issues, and I want to do a better job of raining grace on others’ parades. I’ll try my best, but we all know it’s not enough. If only, if only. Good thing it still doesn’t matter, cause we’ve got a real pro who does what I can’t.