Thursday, January 23, 2014

Socially Acceptable

The past couple days I've been thinking about social conventions-- things that we do or ways that we dress that are not necessarily for ourselves but for the benefit and comfortability of others.

I'm not talking about streaking or anything.  I like clothes and think that there is importance in being modest.

I am talking about things even more subtle than that.

Let me give you a couple examples:

A few years ago I went deaf in one of my ears.  I've learned to live with it and it's not that big of a deal to me now most days, but I still wear two headphones when I listen to music in them.

Think about that for a second.... Why would a person who cannot hear AT ALL in her left ear wear two headphones?  I'll give you a few reasons.  First, it's more comfortable, especially if I'm going for a run or working out.  Second, and primary, it's so that people won't think I'm rude when I don't answer them.  If I'm sitting in the library and working and someone comes up and starts talking to me and I don't have a headphone in... they're gonna think I'm aloof and rude.  That's not how I choose to present myself.

My second example is a little different...

I had surgery on my head a little over a month ago.  Since then I have been wearing headbands everyday to help hide my scar and my hair loss.  However, lately I have really just not wanted to worry about it and to wear my hair down.  That won't do though...

There is something unforeseen in society about seeing the little imperfections.  We want to ignore these things... in the case of my scar, someone may find it gross, or in the case of my hearing, it's inconvenient.

This morning I got up, took a shower, and began to do my hair.  I looked at myself in the mirror.  Although it didn't match up to what I would necessarily want for my hair, it is who I am right now.  It won't always be that way, but right now it is.  I looked at myself and what I saw was beautiful.  It was a girl who has been through so much lately, and working through it day to day.  It was a girl who has been struggling with body image her entire life, like most people, but learns to see herself through the eyes of Christ.  I just wanted to braid my hair right then or to wear it down and proud... because I am proud of who I am.  I've fought long and hard to become that person.

... but then I remembered other people.  With work, meetings, hanging out with friends, and other responsibilities today, I knew that the right thing would be to be "socially acceptable".

How much do we let others define who we are and what we think of ourselves?

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