Another instance in which Sarah is made very self-aware

by Sarah Luna

About a week ago, I wrote about the odd effects winter is having on my sense of self. My body is, to use an adage, out of sight and out of mind. I feel so caught up in the pressures of this semester and the excitement of this summer that I simply don’t think about what I look like.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. Since becoming a fancy-pants graduate student, I’ve made an effort to dress on the more everyday side of business-casual. I’m trying to dress like a woman. Today, I wore light brown slacks and a dark purple long-sleeved top that peaked out from beneath my maroon trenchcoat. My only thought about this outfit was that it needed to be church-appropriate and warm.

I had to return a few books to the library today, so I set out on a brisk walk downtown. My boots clopped hollowly on the sidewalk drawing the attention of the man walking in front of me. He turned around and looked at me, and I briefly apologized (I thought that perhaps he thought I was being rude or impatient for walking quickly and “tailgating” him). He started muttering to himself in a way that made me question his mental health:

Look at her. Why can’t I have a girlfriend? I wish she could be my girlfriend. Gorgeous. I want a girlfriend like her.

This really should have been an interior monologue. I became self-conscious immediately. I was not showing any part of my body–why would he say such things? I mean, I guess I should be flattered, but I was kind of creeped out. I wondered how I would feel if I could hear the workings of all men’s brains. (which reminded me of Drew wondering what he would find if the government were more transparent)

Anyways, this incident only reaffirms my belief in and commitment to modesty. But it raises some questions. How do I not provoke this response? How can I be anonymous? How can I not attract attention? Here in Ithaca, these questions are more pedantic in nature, but in India there is a real safety concern if I stand out too much as either a woman or a foreigner (and especially both). I need to practice this skill.

Completely unrelated: my friend Lara is asking for prayers for all of the students taking the TAKS test (Texas’ standardized test) next week. Specifically, she and her roommate have started a Novena and have invited everyone to join.

We’re praying it for the special intention of: all students taking the TAKS on March 1st. We pray that the students will have the focus, peace, motivation and wisdom necessary to display their true capabilities on the test. We also pray that teachers will experience the peace that surpasses all understanding as they encourage their students.

I will be praying for them. Please join us if you feel called.