Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Poetry and a fish in a bowl


Today is a wonderful day. The sun is shining and it’s warm outside.

I’m wearing an ankle-length dress. Not because I have to. Not because it’s modest. My friend wears these all the time. I asked her why she would wear something that in my mind was a fundamentalist way to dress. She showed me a magazine and said “Because they’re totally in style at the moment.” Wait, what? They are? Turns out they really are, so she borrowed me one of hers. Silly detail of today, but I’m feeling very far away from the fundamentalist doctrine of what a woman should or shouldn’t wear. I feel free because I’m wearing a dress I saw in a magazine. It’s the small things in life.

I’m excited to see what the day will bring. I’ll be working this weekend, so I will actually enjoy some ice cream and coffee with my friends today.

It is so strange. So different. I used to judge people like that. People who follow fashion, meet with their friends all the time, women who work. Now I’m one of them. Sometimes I feel like this isn’t actually happening, that I will wake up soon and realize I’m back in my sister’s room, getting up, starting housework, helping home school, preparing to be a wife.

When I left, I felt like a fish out of the bowl. Hardly breathing, struggling, not knowing what’s coming or what I should do. There’s really only one thing you can do, and that’s grow legs (and possibly some lungs). You got to grow legs fast.

My entire life, just like many many other girls and women, I was trained to be “perfectly prepared” for my future as a wife. If I was a wife now, I’d be fine. I’d do good. But now, I can hardly do anything. I had to learn about bills, what I have to get, what I have to pay, when I have to do it. How to actually read a contract and not wait for a man to do it. How to deal with time when you have a job outside of the house. How worrying it is to know that I and only I am the one who has to support herself. Fundamentalist girls aren’t trained to make money. Not even trained to worry about it. We’re trained to keep a small budget which the husband gives us. But that’s usually not all he makes. In emergencies, there’s always be a backup. But it’s worth it. The fact that I can sit here now, in my borrowed immodest fashion dress, considering buying one myself, knowing that I don’t have to ask for anyone’s permission. That’s totally worth it all.

I’ve been reading poetry lately. I always loved poetry, the reason why I loved psalms and proverbs. But I have found a poem that just moves something inside of me and I can’t really tell you why.

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?

It’s the Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot. You can read the entire poem here. Though it’s about a man, it speaks to me. I feel like I know how he feels. And for some reasons, the last few lines always have me in tears.

Something totally different: I’ve been seeing that my posts are being shared on Facebook. I had no clue that you could actually do that. I don’t have a Facebook, either. Maybe I should get one and see who’s sharing me. Whoever it is, thanks a bunch!

I’m still trying to figure out how to get this blog to do what I want it to do. I want my blogroll to show up as a list with a preview of the newest posts of the people in my blogroll. I’ve been playing around but I just can’t seem to find the function.


5 thoughts on “Poetry and a fish in a bowl

  1. I love it! Thanks for sharing your little tidbits. Very revealing.

  2. Okay, now this is getting a bit spooky! The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock is one of my all-time favorite pieces, and it always brings me to tears as well. That does it: we have to become friends. ~Lucy

  3. I am so sorry you had to endure this. I was raised in the 70’s -80’s in an increasingly IFB movement. I am now nearing 50 and still struggle some days with the affects of that kind of though process. I was NOT as immersed as you and still I’m healing. YOU will be fine, hang in there. GRACE means so much more to you now and forever because you’d live without it for so long. It’s like opening a Christmas present every single day…even when things are difficult…there is that shining present right there waiting for you to open it up for yourself…

    Don’t ever go back…no matter how tempting…yes you’ll be tempted because its easier to go back to what you’ve been accustomed to…but don’t. Build a new life! God is not the person they portrayed to you. Real love and prayers for you!

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