Today, I went shopping for a pair of jeans.
This may surprise some of my readers since I have been very open about the fact that I typically only wear skirts. There are a lot of us out there--the skirt-wearing ladies--particularly in religious circles. But, unlike some, I never had any hard-and-fast theological reason for my choice to shun pants. I find skirts attractive, comfortable, and more forgiving in transition from pregnancy. It is difficult to find jeans that fit me, being shorter-than-the-average-American-girl. A lot of jeans aren't particularly modest, which narrowed the already slim pickings. Add to that the fashion trends of the "skinny" or "matchstick" cut and the distressed look, and it's little wonder why I hopped on the skirted bandwagon.
I had been tentatively working my very few pairs of pants back into my wardrobe as I regained my shape after James' birth, but it was in the aftermath of my father's death that I finally switched over to the degree that a shopping trip became necessary.
It wasn't just the brief trip to a colder climate that did me in. I wanted to be inconspicuous. So many things already set me apart: my faith, my accent (or lack thereof), and now the stigma of being the child of a suicide victim (as if the only child stigma wasn't enough). My family already holds hands to pray in restaurants, and I cross myself when an ambulance passes. I was already wearing black. I didn't want people to take notice of my long skirts, as well.
So, I packed jeans. One pair. And I wore sweatpants when I was lounging around my mother's house. And, it felt familiar and comfortable and good and thoroughly inconspicuous. And, it was then that I realized: without the skirts to draw attention, other things became more noticeable:
the crucifix around my neck
the modest neckline of my shirt
even grace in a restaurant
stood out a little more
because everything else about me was so normal. I was in the world, but not of the world. In blue jeans.