I have for years and this is my story:
Those of you that know me live and in person know I am a rawther large person of size. And by that I mean I make Melissa McCarthy look malnourished. This is not a slight or a dig at myself, it is just a fact.
I wear them because I have tried so. very. many. other ways to not wear them (skirts with nylons, tights, leggings, spanx-type shorts, etc.) and nothing, NOTHING prevents chafing. Chafing so painful and severe that I am thinking everything BUT holy thoughts.
I thought and prayed about it and decided that Heavenly Father would much rather have me at church in my slacks than not at all.
For the most part, I’ve been right.
A few years back in our other ward the RS president took me aside and asked me about it and I explained myself to her. There had been some talk about me, apparently, and she was wondering if a skirt was not in the budget because they would like to help me if that was the case. I thanked her for her concern and assured her it wasn’t.
That seemed to satisfy her for awhile but she brought it up again a few months later, this time asking what I do when I go to the temple.
I told her that I wear pants while I drive, I change into a skirt in the parking lot, and I change back into pants when I come out. This time she told me that I was being a bad example for the YW, and she pointed out to me that there was another “sister of size” (who was/is not as big as I am) who seemed to not have a problem wearing dresses to church. I said I was happy for her and that maybe her body type was a little different from mine and she didn’t experience the kind of pain that I do.
That was the first, last, and only time I have felt judged for the way I look at church. When we bought our house and moved into our current ward not one person said “boo” or even looked at me funny for wearing pants. I feel loved and accepted for who I am, warts and all.
I don’t enjoy being the odd one out. As someone who is so very self-conscious about how I look, the last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself. I have been in self-imposed exile from the chapel because I didn’t want to offend anybody.
Lately, I have felt that that was wrong.
Sitting in the foyer I am not able to concentrate on the speakers as well. There are friends to visit with, and noisy children that make it impossible to hear anything over the loudspeaker. Sitting in the foyer I am not getting the full spiritual feast being offered, and my testimony has been suffering because of it.
Beginning this Sunday I’m going to start arriving early enough to sit in the pews (the overflow chairs are too uncomfortable) and become a fully participating member of the ward again.
Because I wear slacks I am not:
- less holy
I am just as important to Father as his children who dress to the cultural norm. I am perfectly capable of holding callings, giving talks, and teaching doctrinally correct lessons when asked to.
If I had to hazard a guess, I think the real reason that people are upset about the pants at church thing is not because these sisters are dressing differently, but rather their reasons for doing so may seem less “legitimate” than mine.
Let’s be real. We aren’t taught not to judge, we’re taught to not judge unrighteously. Our whole lives are one judgement call after another. Some of those judgements have more importance than others, but all of them require us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Whatever the reason, I suspect that wherever you are you may begin to notice the group culture start to change. People will dress differently for a multitude of reasons. It’s winter in most places. Many of my sisters have or work with small children they must chase around on the floor. They might have medical reasons like me. Perhaps it doesn’t fit in their budget. Maybe they came straight from work.
Regardless, it doesn’t really matter what we wear. It matters that we’re THERE.