The “Weird” Category

This is a paper that I wrote for my Writing 121 class during Fall term. The assignment was to write a critical narrative talking about the way you dress or a uniform you have, and how other people perceive you when you wear it. I’ve decided to dig my paper up again and post it on this blog.


The “Weird” Category”

For many years I was embarrassed about the way I dressed. In my mind, it wasn’t trendy or fashionable, and I always got the feeling that other people were placing me in the “weird” category because of the how I dressed. However, I’ve come to realize that for the most part, that wasn’t true.

I’ve been dressing modestly for as long as I can remember. I’m a Christian, and of the Mennonite denomination, and one of the things that Mennonites value is modest dress as an outward expression of a modest spirit. I’ve always worn skirts or dresses that were at least knee length, my tops have never been tight or revealing, and my hair has always been long.

When I was 12 years old, I added one more element to this ensemble; I started wearing a prayer veil. Every morning I twisted my hair into a bun at the nape of my neck, and placed the veil on top of it all as a symbol of submission to God.  It was at this time in my life that I began to dress the way I did because of a personal conviction, and not because it was what my parents told me to do.

Even so,  I hated the way I dressed. While I liked the idea of modesty, I didn’t like putting it into practice. I felt like people looked at me and immediately assumed that I wasn’t cool, or that I was just weird.

Everything changed after a fight with my mom. I remember sitting in the kitchen on a sunny Fall afternoon arguing with her about the length of a skirt. She wanted me to add a few extra inches of fabric to the hem of a bright yellow skirt that I had sewn myself. I was refusing to, because I was sure that a few extra inches, obviously tacked on to the bottom of a skirt, would make me look the the weirdest kid on the planet. I hated fighting with my mom, and by the end we were both in tears, and I had a lot of thinking to do. Even though I didn’t like the things she said, there was a lot of truth to them. It was then that I realized, it doesn’t matter if I look weird, this is how I want the world to see me, because this is me.

Crazily enough, when my perspective on myself and the way I dressed changed, so did everyone else’s. Suddenly, I no longer felt like everyone was categorizing me as “the kid who dresses weird,” I was just “Jenny,” a regular person who happened to dress a little differently.

Looking back on it now, I don’t believe that people’s opinions of me changed at all, and if they did, it was mostly likely very little. What did change was my opinion of myself. When I considered myself to be “the weird kid” and “uncool,” I assumed that that was how everyone around me perceived me, but as I began to embrace the way I dressed, I stopped assuming people thought I was weird, and started realizing that nobody else cared how I dressed.

Now, I love dressing modestly, because it’s a reflection of who I am. And when I’m confident about who I am, I know that no one’s placing me in the “weird” category because of the way I dress, and most likely no one ever did.


This post was Day 27 of the April Blogging Challenge. You can find Day 26 over on “Life in the Shoe”, and Day 25 on “The Girl in the Red Rubber Boots”.

That’s it for today folks.


5 thoughts on “The “Weird” Category

  1. Isn’t it funny how our perspective changes? 🙂 You’re a fine young lady, and i’ve never thought you were weird, other than in the wonderful Smucker way that everyone wished they were like. 😉

  2. I enjoyed this. When we are living in love and obedience to Christ in any area of our lives, we are not “different,” It is the people who aren’t, who are different–different from what God wants them to be. This is not to say that we should have an air of superiority, but that we should walk in confidence with God.
    Consider the apostle Paul. He was considered “weird” and different both by a lot of Jews and Gentiles, but we do not detect that he ever for a moment felt “different.” He had found THE WAY. And his burning desire was that others should find the joy of that WAY also.

  3. I really liked this post! Our family was mennonite (with a non-mennonite heritage/extended family) for most of my childhood and we left when I was about twelve, and went on to get involved in a ministry for bikers. Clothes were a huge issue for me at the time, because of all that and because I was twelve.

    My extended family and my new biker friends seemed somewhat judged/intimidated by my conservative clothing and it was getting in the way of building relationships and just plain witnessing and ministering. But on the other hand, I’d already heard a million sermons and audio books on modesty and cape dresses and not wearing printed fabric, and my mennonite friends were giving me feedback about my clothing changes from a perspective that seemed to present; dressing less conservatively = being rebellious/being a poor witness/having spiritual problems.

    Eventually, I realized that there is SO MUCH FREEDOM in Christ and we screw that up when we start making additional rules for ourselves and giving them too much priority. What matters is not how anybody sees me but how God sees me and what He wants to use me for, because things like clothes can be adjusted for whatever task He wants me to be involved in. It solidified my faith a lot because I had to stand on my own two feet, confident in what I thought the Holy Spirit wanted me to do/be. It also made me a little less snobby because I was no longer any form of put-together in any circle and I had to learn to be ok with that and it gave me perspective that I didn’t have before in that I honestly thought for most of my childhood that if someone became a Christian and was REALLY seeking God, they would end up Mennonite and would definitely not wear leather jackets or have tattoos. Alas, I was very wrong. I know a guy called Bones who is one of the most Godly men I have ever met and he’s not what you’d call inconspicuous.

    Also, my mom thought it was pretty interesting that I learned so much through this because she says she learned much of the same stuff when she started dressing more conservatively when our family started going to mennonite churches after being baptist her whole life.

    This is a super long comment, sorry. Last thing: This is a story fragment that some preacher used once that sticks in my head and makes me laugh-

    “And we’re all Christians, in the trenches, fighting for God, against a fallen world full of problems and sickness and death and a cavernous lack of love and one Christian turns to the other Christian there in the trench and says, ‘well, my socks are blacker than your socks.’ ”


    Anyway, it’s cool to see your perspective. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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