Reclaiming My Garments
Last year, it was a simple decision to stop wearing them – one that caused me very little guilt. I took them off last year at about this time when it became clear that maternity and/or oversized garments were just not going to work with my pregnant body.
And then, finally, after baby came I began breast feeding, and it was easy to justify not wearing them. My orthodox and stalwart LDS sister in law had even whispered to me once when I was pregnant to not even try to wear a garment top while breast feeding. I took her at her word and never looked back.
Taking off the garments was surprisingly easy for me, but deciding to put the garments back on has been more complicated… I had given myself permission to take this break from them because of my physical condition. And because I wanted some time and space to figure out my relationship with the Church. I had been wearing my garments out of habit for years, and I wanted to make sure that the next time I put them on, it would mean something to me. It would symbolize something. A renewed dedication perhaps. A newfound loyalty maybe.
After spending the last few months evaluating my future in this Church, I have decided that I can, with peace of mind, reclaim my garments as a symbol of my faith and dedication and loyalty.
Not loyalty towards Church policies about women that I find troubling. But instead loyalty towards a religion that helped form the best, most ethical, kindest man I have ever known. To a religion that has gifted me with this man for eternity.
Not loyalty towards an overwhelmingly patriarchal Church structure that I desperately plead with God to change. But towards a Savior who exemplified radical egalitarianism as he worked to lift up and empower all human beings, regardless of race, class, age, or gender. To a Savior whose ideals of kindness and service I often see reflected in the faces of my fellow ward members.
Not loyalty towards the angst-inducing portrayal of women in the temple. But instead towards Heavenly Parents who I now believe cry when I cry, suffer over the same things that I suffer over, and hope for change as I hope for change.
Wearing my garments again wasn’t a difficult adjustment physically. I had never struggled too much with them before – I kind of liked the fact that women were wearing ‘garments of the priesthood’ just as men were. And I had always allowed myself to tug and pull and adjust as I saw fit. So putting them back on again was kind of like returning to a comfortable old sweater – not all that attractive or exciting, but warm, reassuring, and familiar.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I doubt I’ll ever be the type to cling fastidiously to my garments. If I have some clean ones, great. If not, I’ll shrug my shoulders and find other underwear.