You’ve probably all seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to leggings. I love the look of leggings paired with a longer, chunky knit sweater or leggings under a shirt that’s almost long enough to be a dress. Leggings look great on a tall, thin, well-proportioned woman. But here’s the thing. As much as I envy the legging look and the apparent comfort it offers, there’s no way I’m putting this short, plus-sized body into leggings and appearing in public. Granted, there are plus-size leggings available for purchase. But as a wise friend often says, just because something is available in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it!
Then there’s hair. I’ve always embraced my naturally curly hair. Why fight it? But I know plenty of women who try to straighten their curly locks. And there’s a whole industry built on making straight hair curly. Perms and body waves anyone? Don’t get me started on hair coloring!
I have long envied contemplatives. I’ve assembled beautiful prayer beads to aid in my prayers. I’ve walked labyrinths. I’ve tried examen at the end of the day. I’ve explored lectio divina. The truth? My mind wanders. I construct grocery lists, pull together the to-do list for the next day. I focus on the beads or the outfit the woman next to me is wearing. As much as I want the calm and centeredness I’ve seen in contemplatives, it’s just not me. I express my piety by working my hands. I center myself at the keyboard, in knitting or quilting, in the soil.
When you do a personality instrument like Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram, you learn that we all have preferences, ways in which we engage the world where we are most comfortable. It’s not that we can’t engage the world in a different way, it’s just that we have preferred ways.
Think of it like this: if you are right-handed and injure your right hand, you could probably get by with using your left hand for a while. Your writing might be less than legible and you might spill some soup, but you’ll get by. There’s definitely something to be said, however, for engaging the world in a way that is most comfortable for you.
Another way of stating it? Don’t try to be someone you’re not. For me, that’s a non-leggings wearing, curly-headed woman who expresses her faith in writing, fiber arts and the garden.
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA.
Photo by Gerard Stolk, Creative Commons