(of a woman or her behavior) reserved, modest, and shy.-(of clothing) lending a modest appearance.
I’ve been working on this for some time now. Truthfully, it’s been a goal of mine I have yet to put into real practice. Outwardly, though, I have come a long way. Once you realize it, it’s such a beautiful thing, change. It creeps up on you, slowly melting away the old paradigms and forming new ones; ones that you would never have thought could permeate your psyche, commanding your limbs and coloring your thoughts. Looking back on my former self, I laugh bitterly feeling twinges of shame for the girl who suppressed what was staring her in the face in favor of what was “trendy”. The foolhardiness of mainstream fashion leaves nothing to be desired, and it’s grip can be hard to wrestle free from. Yet, by the grace of the Creator, I have finally submitted to what already was and can accept, prefer even, a more muted form of outward expression.
If only I could say the same for my inward state. I talk way too loud on the phone. I talk too much. Sometimes my laugh resembles an obnoxious guffaw. My hands have a tendency to flail recklessly during a conversation. I make weird noises for no reason at all. My voice reaches a grating pitch when I get a little too excited, which makes me wince. It’s not my fault, really. My family is Southern, deep Southern, so being a little uncouth doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. However, in an effort to cultivate a more subtle, soft and restrained personality, these traits have proven difficult to reign in.
I recently read a book called Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer Scott. It’s basically a manual on etiquette and living well, concepts that were once expected norms and are now archaic anomalies, at least in American society. It’s unfortunate, really, because the information gleaned from this book is so needed nowadays. One of my favorite tips the author shares is to maintain an air of mystery, or in other words, drop the shameless prattle. I find this particular point to be of supreme importance, given our tendency to share needlessly and indiscreetly; our most intimate details make Facebook headlines, few realizing that this is not only tacky, but also demoralizing. Being an open book is somewhat of a virtue and to be the opposite can come off as aloof and taciturn. However, when one can’t help but ramble about private matters, it shows a lack of good taste and a preoccupation with one’s self.
How to be demure? Learn to keep quiet. A brash and outspoken personality is more of an indicator of a sense of lack, of not feeling inner fulfillment or contentedness with oneself. To speak with a quiet coolness is something I endeavor to master; to embrace moments of silence and keep my sins between God an I; to communicate modestly without pomp. Role models are far and few, but I’ve managed to find an unlikely inspiration:
Photo Credit: here