But I WANT It…

As a child raised in the extreme isolationism and clamped-down atmosphere of the United Pentecostal Church, I had a deep, insatiable desire for worldly things.  The state of females’ appearance was rigidly controlled:  dress length to the knees (even for children), no pants or jeans, no sleeveless shirts, uncut hair (not even trimmed), no make-up or jewelry and I lusted for it all.  My most prized possession as a little kid was a big fat gold ring with rhinestones that I was allowed to wear only when playing “house” in the basement.  Once, some poor soul got saved and turned over her entire collection of costume jewelry to my dad; three boxes full.  I was momentarily ecstatic, envisioning hours of fabulous dress-up play.  My sisters and I got to keep the empty boxes.  I have no idea where the jewelry went; probably into the garbage.  Oh, that just made me feel a little bit sick to my stomach.

As I grew towards adolescence, my cravings grew: a plastic Oreo cookie necklace with a bite taken out of it on a leather cord, a Donnie and Marie Osmond lunchbox.  I didn’t know who they were, but it sure looked cool.  The short flippy haircut of a girl at the mall, a Barry Manilow poster.  I had a plan, though.   When I was old enough, maybe 18, I intended to backslide temporarily.  I was going to have permanent eyeliner put on (it hadn’t been invented yet, I think I fantasized it).  I was also going to get my hair cut, all very quickly and then come back to church.  I would take a chance that the rapture wouldn’t happen and I could slide back in fast enough.  All that straggly hair would be gone, at least for a while and I wouldn’t be able to take the make-up off.  Even after my hair grew back out, it would still have that cool, straight edge across the bottom and the Farrah bangs would last for a little while.

This was my nefarious plan to look hot and still go to heaven.  I had it all worked out.

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9 thoughts on “But I WANT It…

  1. I wish I didn’t understand this but I do. We Pentecostal Holiness weren’t quite as restricted – I had Farrah wings, a birthstone ring, and high heels, and was allowed to watch Donnie and Marie. But I was never allowed to wear jeans or have my ears pierce or use tampons because they might “take my virginity” and no good Christian man wanted a woman whose hymen wasn’t intact. No one to be found in the house? I always assumed the Rapture had come and I’d been left behind. (Secretly I still harbor that irrational fear.) I was taught all these rules made me free, that the world would drag me to hell with its movies and rock music and dancing and drinking and heavy petting. I rebelled against all of that slowly, the rules were loosened. I moved to a different church. But when did I feel truly free? When my faith left me completely last year. Now I make choices based on logic and human morality, not on some random person’s interpretation of Scripture. Keep sharing!

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  2. I have a question for you after reading your post then Skirt’s comment. Do you still have fear that you *might* be wrong and won’t get into heaven? I deal with this almost daily. I have deconverted and have this fear that won’t go away that I am wrong and going to go to hell. Logic doesn’t seem to take this away because it *might* be the voice of the Holy Ghost calling me back. Even though I have left my former beliefs almost completely I still wonder.

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  3. Wow, it is so hard to let go of those deeply ingrained fears. To be really honest with you, I never struggled with that one but I know that so many exchristians do. My best advice is to read, read, read and talk to people, even if just online. “Leaving the Fold” by Dr. Marlene Winell and “Trusting Doubt” by Valerie Tarico are great books to start with. Join ExChristian.net and participate in the forums. Dr. Winell has an online support group called JourneyFree.org and also provides personal counseling. You are truly not alone. There is a disconnect between fears/PTSD and logic/reasoning. Fear can only be confronted head on so that it can be understood and released. There is no hell, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh my gosh, I remember Donnie and Marie lunchboxes. That takes me back. (I’d say Barry Manilow takes me back too, but I was singing backup for him two nights ago on the Fourth, so I guess not back very far. He has better hair now!)

    The detail on your story that connected with me was the rhinestone ring. I remember having those few prized possessions as a child. Now I can go out and buy any costume jewelry I want, but none are as special as the plastic lobster pin that I got at a doctor’s office when I was four. I’m trying to imagine the cruelty of forcing someone to give up the things they treasure most, and it’s horrible. Messing with a child’s mind down to that personal a level is something that I wish there was a way to outlaw.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I got to see Barry in concert in my teens. It was a GREAT show. What a fun job you have…
    The attachment of restrictions to trivialities is twisted, to be sure.

    Like

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