Wednesday, August 29, 2007
You'd have to know my background to know that "fitting in" has never been easy for me. I grew up in an ultra conservative, legalistic Baptist church. I wore split skirts (culottes - they looked like the gouchos we wear today, but much looser and uglier!) to my ankles and a dress for a bathing suit (made out of bathing suit material of course - whew! that thing was dangerous!). And through my entire college career, I wore a skirt every day. My mentor finally convinced me to wear jeans on the last Friday of my internship - I wore jean overalls two sizes too big.
The process of change has been a slow one for me. I was still wearing culottes when I met Corey, although, at that point they were only knee-length.:)
I've always found it frustrating that in conservative circles, most of the time, you'd never know the difference between the men in those circles compared to any other guy; but the woman... just 'cause God made our bodies beautiful and attractive to men means we have to dress frumpy??!!
Now, through most of my childhood, I didn't feel odd. I believed with all my heart that what we did, how we dressed, was the right way - what God wanted. I'm not even sure when I started feeling slightly uncomfortable and out of place. Perhaps it started in college, when I met one of my best friends, who was one of the strongest Christians I'd ever known...and completely "normal." She didn't have to dress weird to live out her faith.
Like I said, the change was VERY slow, VERY gradual for me. And even after I stopped wearing culottes, my jeans were huge, and I still had no style. Now, I may not be trendy, but I think I've finally acquired something close to style. :)
But, I think being a youth leader has been the most helpful, not in my changing, but in feeling like I belong; that I'm not an outsider anymore. As far as youth leaders go, there's only two females right now. So, the girls don't have a whole lot of choice in who they pick to hang out with, but without trying to sound conceited, I at some point became well liked among the girls. And being liked by a bunch of teenage girls has been a huge self-esteem booster for me! The age group that cares most about clothing and coolness and fitting in...and they like and hang out with me!
Phil (he's the guy that rooms with us) told me the other day that I must be pretty cool to get a group of girls to hang out with me on a Friday night. We spent last Friday eating and watching movies - well, I watched one movie and then went to bed; but they had fun without me. So maybe it's not that I'm so cool, but they just enjoy hanging out together...
Anyway, I doubt my girls have any idea how they've helped me- and as selfish as this may be, I'm truly grateful!