A long time ago, I wrote about how a random comment about my shoes took my down a rabbit trail of thoughts and assertions surrounding the topic of fashion/appearance within a physical church.
What I did not include at the time were a few surrounding details.
See, I had a pair of flats in my hand as I was walking up to the group of ladies. It’s reasonable to assume maybe I had them because my heels were uncomfortable. Like, I can see that being something i’d do, or something a person would expect/accept from me. It’s ACTUALLY because I’d just seen my mom (we attend the same church service sometimes) and she brought a pair to me that had been left in her car. Since she’d JUST handed them to me and I hadn’t made it to my car to put them down, I get what it could have looked like.
So i get why one of the women listening leaned in and said “If you can’t wear your heels the whole time, maybe you just shouldn’t wear them at all.”
Okay. Well. I can’t have it both ways and I’m aware of that, so I have to say that I’m glad she told me that I was doing something (from her perspective) I shouldn’t be doing (wearing those shoes).
Because I value accountability and I do, in fact, want it even from people who have no place in my life(I maybe hadn’t spoken to her in a year and we had never hung out, but we’d been in the same place a lot).
I’m not famous and my friends are all UBER-permissive of my explorations of life, so i try to see it as a blessing when people will step in and take a risk on telling me I’m doing something they think is wrong (I’m looking at you with love, Daddio). Because then at least it’s something to think about ( i realize, now that i’m typing, that for many people in many situations, that’s just too much to think about, but i like/need to hear the experience of others).
But I was also like “SISTA SAID WHAT?!” Because if it wasn’t clear enough already in her first statement (and mama used tone and facial features to nail it home) I clarified a few weeks later.
“I really appreciate you taking the time to comment on something. It is a blessing that you care about me. But (i know i shouldn’t have said ‘but’) it sounded as though you thought those shoes were just inapppropriate to wear at all.”
“Yeah, well I did.”
And y’all, sometimes understanding a thing don’t make it any prettier.
I have NO idea what I replied to her because there is this voice inside me,when people comment like that, that thinks “I’m probably wrong, at least on some level, so let me take this and think and pray over it and see where I can be better.” so I usually just thank the person, no matter how much like a bozo’s i see their actions to be.
ANYWAY, it’s been a year since this happened, and I’m STILL pissed that homegirl hated on my shoes. Cause my heart
a) still doesn’t rest in the peace of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf and
b) wants approval more than almost anything. (it’s sinful and bountifully unproductive)
But all of this has lead me to another place. I’ve been kicking around some thoughts lately/again/now that my body is a bit different, necessitating different styling, about dress, modesty, expression, and double standards. You know, the you-zuh (uze? ushe? usual. whatever). And so has Jami Nato.
but i swear by my pretty floral bonnet, if this ends up interference with my sunshine intake, we’re gonna see a whole notha level of ungodliness up in here.