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Peer pressure. I learned what that meant when I entered high school. It was the end of ninth grade and I was filled with pre-camp jitters. I wanted to do everything right. I wanted to have a perfect summer. I want to fit in so, so badly. That was the thought that consumed me during the long and exhausting shopping trips with my mother.
Many girls spend much of their elementary years learning and being tested on the subject of tzniyus. Aside from the fact that I intuitively feel tzniyus is not something girls should be “tested on” — it doesn’t matter what the number on top of your paper says if you can’t figure out what to do in real time — a large percentage of girls enter high school with the misconception that tzniyus is only about inches and elbows.
They called me stubborn. They called me stupid. They called me mute. But I would not talk. I could not talk. They say that silence is golden, but to me silence was a prison. It was a prison that lurked at the threshold of my home, captured me as soon as I stepped out the door, and followed me around wherever I went.