I dressed the part. Sneakers instead of ladylike sandals. Vests over longsleeved shirts or tshirts instead of blouses or dresses. I wore as short of a skirt hem as I could get away with (so, about to the middle of my knee). I wore "cool shades." I tried to be grunge.
|This was not an easy outfit to wear in 95 degree Caribbean weather!|
If these rebellious behaviours sound unrebellious to you, you've got to understand, to a patriarchal, Fundamentalist father, image is everything. Especially as all eyes were supposedly on us since we were missionaries, the highest of God's spiritual callings.
We kids dressed modestly because that was the way to "bring glory to God." And modesty was defined very strictly. We read books about it, heard sermons about it, lectured one another about it, all for the glory of God.
|Thank God this book has gone out of print.|
She looked at me with disapproval. "We don't wear pants." Not five steps away stood her own mother, who had driven and accompanied us. She was wearing pants.
So the message was clear: we were better, more holy than anyone else, even our own grandmother, because we adhered to stricter standards of modesty.
When our clothes didn't come from the missionary barrel or Goodwill, we handmade them. Long dresses and culottes were the fashions we displayed. We usually ended up looking like homeless persons, but the goal was to be identified as godly.
|Bob Jones University visit, 1998|
|I'm the one in black culottes, with brown shoes, cool shades, and messy hair.|
In 1998, we attended the Quinceanera party of a girl from our home church. We didn't own anything fancy enough to wear (homeschoolers don't get prom or school dances), so our mom took us to Goodwill, where we three eldest girls picked out what we imagined were fashionable gowns. Only when we got to the party and saw what everybody else was wearing (normal late 90's party attire) did we realise how uneducated and naive we were. It was not a fun realisation.
|We honestly had no idea we were at least 10 years out of date because our mother said we looked amazing!|