Friday, February 11, 2011

Modesty

7:32 PM

So, a friend of mine (mid-sentence aside that has nothing to do with anything, but I just realized that I start a lot of posts, sentences, emails, and all kinds of semi-important things with the word "so."  It might be annoying, but I'm not sure I'm ready to stop) recently posted on her blog about her experience with high school PE.  It, of course, made me think of my own experiences, some good, some bad.  With the good came thoughts of Miss Buckley (a former weight lifter and Miss Universe [or something equally exciting] contestant, if the stories are true) and water aerobics.  It was my first introduction to the pursuit, so I had no idea of its connection to little old ladies.  Miss Buckley was anything but.  The seventeen girls in the class (and one lone boy who we all thought was strange until we realized maybe he was more wily than strange) were anything but.  The music we aerobic-ed to was for those who were anything but.  I loved me some water aerobics.  I still would, were they an option in my current situation, but there are no instructors here and I don't quite feel up to doing it myself (the instructing or just the aerobics). 

Anyway . . . as I pondered nostalgically the days of the water aerobic, I remembered my awkward attempt at taking a social/political stance.  We all wore swimsuits.  We all showered after class.  Not being in individual stalls, we all wore swimsuits in the shower.  I remember thinking to myself, "Self, this is silliness.  For certain boys don't shower in anything but the nude when in a locker room.  No one here is going to look or care if we just shower how showers are meant to be taken.  This is less comfortable and less effective.  Why are girls so silly?"  The next day in the shower, I proceeded to take my suit off and really shower.  My goodness, the stares of shock and horror were sharp.  I never did it again. I'd like to think today I'd be stronger in my stance against such silliness (which is strange, since in general I support all kinds of silliness; the principle is different, I'm sure).  However, I also realize now that in fighting the silliness, I was making 16 other girls uncomfortable.  At what point would value of their discomfort outweigh my own (as well as the importance of what was actually logical)? 

As I navigate my life now (my goodness, could that have really been half a lifetime ago?), I realize that I have always had a strange relationship with modesty.  I'm all for covering up what should be covered, except for when it's silly.  Back then is was a swimsuit, now it's a nursing cover.  I'll tell you what, the nursing cover (or lack thereof) is an issue that deals with a lot less skin, but seems to provoke even more social dander.  Still, my reasoning is the same.  It's less comfortable, more difficult, and less effective for me to nurse with everything, including Bean, covered up.  The social ire, of course, ruffles my feathers.  Turns out, instead of a nice, obedient (oppositional defiance aside), sweet and appropriate girl, I was meant to be a political activist.  It probably was my life's calling, but I missed it to be a mommy.  Putting it that way, I'm glad I did.  That's not to say a little activism won't creep up now and then, especially as it relates to being a mommy.

Conclusion:  Standing up for what you believe in takes more than gumption.  It takes diplomacy.

2 comments:

Eva said...

I too start sentences with "so," all the time and tell myself I should quit, but don't.
Also, I really miss high school water aerobics. I went to the evening class at Granger pool once and that was ok but not as good. Oh, and there was just one boy in my class too.

Lora said...

I never had access to water aerobics... I bet my high school experience would have been better if it wasn't cofined to the gymn. Huh.