Sunday's Microscope

Submitted by Emilee on Fri, 01/01/2016 - 05:36

Stepping into tights.

Thick black fabric hiding my imperfections in their conformist perfection- Scratches and bruises all over my legs, gotten from living with my head in a different galaxy than those around me. The dingy remains of a temporary tattoo- the winged heart the machine spit out at me, like it had no clue my notebooks and hands were always covered in winged hearts. The symbol that means I will cling to my dreams until they take flight and drag me into the sky. That symbol temporarily pressed onto my body, now washed away. Leaving behind adhesive accumulating dirt- all the symbolism I try not to dwell on hiding beneath the blackness. None of the marks daring to peak out through the hole in the fabric that has been hidden, because then people may notice that the girl is unraveling right along with the tights.

Pulling on a lace cami.

One, two, three fingers below my collar bone. Masking cream flesh with black fabric, the only thing that allows me to wear the dress I desire. The neckline of the dress was made to demand attention, I make it meek. I turn stares into glances. I take a step in the odd dance I must know in order to succeed, to perform, to be who I am supposed to be. Attempting to find the person who will be visible in her achievements, not just in her mistakes.

Slipping into a dress.

Letting the gray fabric cascade down around my body. The bottom of the dress touching the floor as I move, attempting to make my height look elegant instead of garish. With the neckline filled-in, the dress is unassuming. The dress that does not ask to be critiqued or judged, nor invites comments or gossip. The dress that may make it possible to fade into the background- even if my name Is yelled across the auditorium by the man in charge.

Running a flat-iron through my hair.

Curls would draw eyes, smoothness only looks nice to those who take a moment to notice. Who look and see that my hair has not been ignored, but that I've fixed it with care so it will look like I have forgotten about it. Like I don't care. Not like I spent 30 minutes trying to get it to lay smooth and acceptably because it's something people judge that I can actually control. Left hanging, moving around my neck, too afraid to pull it up. Not wanting to deal with the man who is entertained by pulling on my hair when I dare to put it up. The man who does not care that when he does this that I am playing piano and he will make me miss at least three notes from the movement, shock, and fake laugh his actions induce. Not caring that I pour my soul into those hymns because it is one of the few things I will do that service that I love and excel at.

Putting on my mask.

Foundation covering the marks and the mole; making me pale, smooth, and untouchable. Blush So I will look modest and sweet, exactly as expected. Mascara so my eyes look awake, hiding the truth that I got only 3 hours of sleep. Eyeliner drawn out in a fan, in the this day of playing their music, watching their children, and acting as they want me too- I allow this darkness that shows a bit of who I am.

Stepping into flats.

Plain and black, fading into my ensemble of neutrals. Not encouraging my height, showing that I don't care enough about my appearance to deal with the sore feet and chorus of comments that heels always bring with them. In these flats I can move to the basement a little faster to be with the children I am in charge of. If I am to stay there I can jump and sing and laugh, trying to make the time the kids are there more fun, more interesting, more "Mom, can I go back?" inducing. Maybe though, just maybe, I'll be told to go upstairs today. To go sit in the sanctuary's stillness and listen. Then I'll be able to move a little faster to the pew near the back that i've practically indented, and be able to catch more of the words being spoken. Words that may remind of why I care, why I keep doing this, why it's worth it. If the words fail to remind me of why I am there, I will bow my head deep and ask the heavens for the reason to be restored amidst the carnival. So I may remember that the back door is not the best option, and that there is a reason that I did not flee this entire scene when Happy Birthday was being sung to me for the 18th time like so many other I
know have.

Walking out the door.

Standing tall, but not too tall. Looking perfectly acceptable, and entirely forgettable. Smiling slightly, just enough to slip past without a murmur of "is something wrong?". Watching my feet, making sure each step is securely planted.

Ready for another Sunday.

Ready for the microscope.

Author's age when written


I love your way of writing. Enjoyable and easy to follow. Great job! I love the symbolism you put into your way of dressing. Very interesting. Modesty in dress is as rare as modesty in behavior these days. Keep it up!

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.

I'm not sure if this is the tone you were going for, but I sort of felt - as I mentally walked into church with you on the Sunday morning you describe so vividly - that dressing modestly was a way of escaping the judgmental, petty, prying eyes of our fellow brothers and sisters and Christ around us. That the goal is to blend into the background, to portray you as who you are "supposed to be," - not necessarily who you are. There are suggestions that this could be due to shyness, but I think the overall tone is concern with what the other people think.

I may be reading this all wrong, but just in case I wanted to remind you of how special you are to your Savior! He isn't sitting in the corner of church scrutinizing your every move, or ever forgetting to notice you! He's always there to ask you "Is something wrong?" and willing to listen . . . I'm sure you already know this, I just read your essay and felt sort of sad! Dressing modestly can be a way of praising Him joyfully, but I know I would feel rather rebellious if I felt I was dressing just to please judgmental Christians rather than Christ, who knows my heart. (That's probably not a very good attitude on my part, though.)

Plus, there's the idea that focusing too much on how we dress puts a lot of emphasis on appearances! Modesty shouldn't take up so much of our time, so much that all we care about is what we look like. But if we are constantly being pressured by a group of people who demand that from us, we may be tempted to overemphasize what we look like, or crave their approval. Like Damari mentioned, there's such thing as a modesty of heart, too.

Your writing is wonderful! As I said above, it really drew me in, almost like a good story draws you into the action. And don't forget - God loves you, and created you to be the exact person you are! He who began a good work in you will continue until you are perfect. It is His opinion that counts, not the opinions of men.