Monday, June 27, 2011

Wild Woman... Saintly Saint

As a believing and practicing LDS woman, many would assume that I am conservative in a lot of ways. Perhaps not necessarily politically or socially, but on a more superficial scale. I'm talking conservative in appearance. We Mormons espouse principles and guidelines pertaining to modesty and comeliness in both dress and manner. Of course, this would lead many to believe that we all look like strait laced, side-part, drones. And if one takes a walk around BYU campus, it's very easy to make that assumption. And no, that actually wasn't a BYU slight (Wha?!?!??!), but merely an acknowledgement of the Honor Code students are required to adhere to while studying there. This Honor Code isn't something I would call strict or "uniform" pertaining to appearance standards, however, it does tend to make those attending said institution look very similar; particularly the men. When I spent a year there, working on campus, churching on campus, exercising on campus, basically spending alot of time on campus, I can not TELL you how frustrating it was (not to mention making me question my state of mind daily) thinking I saw "this guy" or "that guy" I knew only to find that ONCE AGAIN, the fellow I had been walking towards readying my happy salutation was a complete stranger who now was looking at me with both confusion and fear. It's sort of amazing how much side burn length and 5:00 shadows actually help differentiate one male from the other. Yet another reason I support the stubble.


Point is...

There's a conceptual acknowledgement that because of the LDS Church's guidelines on appearance, many of us LDS folks MUST look very alike.

And some of us do...

But mainly, this is not so.Sure there is a culture propagated through religious precepts that at times blurs the line between what is and is not indicative of "must be a Mormon" attire. EXAMPLE! And you know how much I LOVE this example... the white t-shirt under EVERYTHING. This is women-specific. Can I tell you right this moment that I do not even OWN a cap-sleeved crewneck close fitting white t-shirt. WHY? Because it is NOT the "cure-all" for what would otherwise be considered "immodest" attire! No; it does not "cure" the tube top... the spaghetti strap tank... or the low cut v-neck. It merely looks like an attempt to serve both "God and mammon" - and is generally stylistically gag-worthy.  Has no one heard of the cardigan? Or even more horrible... accepting the fact that maybe you just can't WEAR SOME THINGS! The white tee can work sometimes, but mostly.... no. NO! No.

Repetitive rant and cultural manifestations aside, I feel my religion gives me a good many liberties in choosing how I present myself and furthermore, acknowledges that there is great diversity within the church and no one particular cultural "norm" (the white tee, married by 19, those stupid little "people" stickers on the back of Escalades that show two parents and their 24 offspring) one must accommodate to still be religiously strait and narrow. These guidelines also help me keep that wild woman that likes to swing on vines through my circulatory system in check. We all have a wild side, don't we? I can feel mine peaking PARTICULARLY when it comes to my appearance. My wild streak doesn't really run deeply as far as such things as alcohol consumption or sketchy moral dilemmas (though I'm no stone cold prude... wink nudge). Naw. It basically stops at piercings, tattoos, and short skirts. It's not even wild... just a little crazy-eyed.

Example: I really REALLY really want a nose ring. I've wanted one for sometime and think that my features would compliment a little diamond stud in my nose quite well. I'd like you to know that there have been a few times when I've seriously SERIOUSLY considered doing it. Religiously, it's more "frowned upon" than necessarily shunned. ;) Ya know... more like guidelines than actual rules. BUT, I also work in a government setting and if I'd like to be taken seriously in any way (particularly being young and short... and also young), I don't think a nose stud is the way to cultivate said respect or legitimacy. So, I will keep wanting one, but not getting one, based on religious and professional guidelines I hold in higher regard than nose studs. But only just.

Tats. Can I tell you how sexy I think it looks when women have tattoo sleeves? Serious! Generally, I'm not a fan of most tattoos and have a hard time understanding why people get the same variation of the same ugly skull and roses... "thing". Makes no sense. But man, chicks with tat sleeves? That's bad-ass! And would possibly cause me a lot of regret later. Yet another reason my religious adherence's must be given kudos - it keeps me from regrets. (I also feel they photo-shopped this woman's boob... right? I mean she's missing a little something... OR! Perhaps she has a nicely rounded smooth wrist covering said boob because that boob is weird looking... anyway)

Lastly, because I want to maintain my individuality but still feel it important to adhere to religious precepts and professional expectations I believe are meant for my good and progress, I choose to do thinks like chop off all my hair and put feathers in it instead. Yes, THAT is the wild woman in me! And yes, I've used 6 paragraphs to build up to the fact I got a super short haircut this weekend!! I feel it gives the wild woman inside me a bone and still helps me maintain those things that are more important than modern stylings or the fact my nose would rock a stud. And I mean totally rock it.

So tell me, what's your wild woman (or man) always urging YOU to do? This blog is respectively PG-13 so keep that in mind. Though, some PG-13's I've seen lately are sure getting fast and loose with the F word. Have you noticed? I'm just sayin. Times is changin.


Jaime Van Hoose Steele said...

I just love you!! I totally agree with you and am so conflicted about wanting things I know I shouldn't! I've been dying to get a sleeve and I keep planning it out, but alas working for the church and believing in the church make it hard for me to actually take that step in getting it. Also, I think a bit of bling on your nose would be so hot!! You have your masters and are an official adult so just do it!!

Ps- You're hair is hot!

dre said...

Looks like you passed all the tests cuz you look great!

I know where you are coming from, I kept chopping my hair so I could have a mo-hawk. Now onto the epic adventure of super long bohemian curly hair for me.

Marisa Jean said...

LOVE the hair! You totally pull it off. But I can't see the feathers.