I spent a long time using the way I looked to get what I wanted. It was exhausting and I have apologized to my body on several occasions for the things I put it through in our younger years. I didn’t know better, I was young and stupid, way too curious before my time and I didn’t have the strongest of morals growing up. Sure, I made a pact to myself to never get in the car with someone who had been drinking … and I stayed true to that. But I never bothered to convince myself that I should probably cover up a bit more; I was after all, only a child. It surprises me that no one ever mentioned to me that perhaps I should keep things a little more under control (by things I mean boobs) but given that I was living on my own at 17 … parental guidance wasn’t very important to me.
I’m working on striking a very delicate balance of self expression and self control with Addie. If I could pick five virtues for Addie to carry with her forever, modesty would be in the top three. Not only in appearance, but in demeanor — while working daily with Addie on staying modest and humble in heart, what’s even more important to me given the current state of things is that she remain modest in appearance, specifically clothing.
I’ve been trying to think all day about one really valid reason for bikinis to exist.
I can’t think of one.
Ease of movement in certain athletics perhaps (volleyball or surfing), but for average everyday girls? Nope. Especially little girls. Addie’s main swimsuit is a UPF 50 t-shirt top and skirted bottom. While I may not understand bikinis, I totally understand tankinis, especially when it comes time to go potty or fitting a unique body shape. Addie has mentioned here and there that she really wants a bikini because her friends have them but she knows I won’t allow it. She understands keeping her body covered is important but the real selling point on her current swimsuit was that I have to spend that much less time applying sunscreen to her since so much of her was already covered.
I spent summers in one piece swimsuits and summers in bikinis. I always had so much more fun when I was covered because I wasn’t constantly worried about falling out or it falling off.
Without focusing on the exploitation of children I’ve really tried to guide Addie towards making her own modest clothing choices. It’s easier to play on the monkey bars when you have shorts under your skirt and you don’t run the risk of burning your butt on the slide when your shorts go down to your knees. It’s harder to get a sunburn when your shoulders are covered and you’re less likely to drip ice cream on your belly if your neckline comes up high enough and your shirt low enough.
I’m willing to spend a little more or look a little harder for cute modest clothing rather than getting what’s readily available and attempting to “make it work.” Addie has seen me dress modestly her whole life. I’ve never gone out with my shoulders uncovered or with shorts or a skirt above my knees. Yes, part of it is our religious beliefs, but even if I were given the chance to wear whatever I wanted? I would still dress the way I do because it is how I feel most comfortable (besides, my knees are goofy looking and my shoulders burn way too easily.)
Seeing her follow my example and find her own sense of style within the realms of modesty and comfort makes me really proud of who she’s turning into.