A Life Remake

Note: I did not think to take pictures while in this process, because I did not realize at the time that this was going to turn into a post, so the images below are comparative ones I found online.

Yesterday I did something that I feel like is a sort of metaphor for my life.

You see, I was cleaning out my closet and found a dress I haven’t worn in years. Not since I left, actually. And looking at it, I knew there was no way I’d ever wear it again. It was a frumpy 1980s floral thrift store type dress. It fell to my ankles, it had foofy sleeves and shoulder pads and a ruffly neckline and odd darts at the waist.
It looked something like this:

Looking at that dress, I saw my life as it was before. The yards of clothing, the old fashioned styles. There was more, though. The dress had buttons that ended at the knee, and it was open in the front below that point. As I looked at the dress, I noticed that I had sewed the opening closed all the way down to the bottom, so as to keep from showing my calves. And there was pride in that dress, too. Pride at being different, pride at being old fashioned and modest, and pride at being better than others because of it. That dress? That was me.

Last night, I ripped out the stitches I had placed below the row of buttons in an effort to ensure my modesty. I tore out the shoulder pads. I cut out the sleeves and the ruffly neckline. I let out the strange darts at the waist, and cut two feet off the bottom of the dress. I redid the hem and finished the armholes and fashioned spaghetti straps. I lowered the neckline in the back and refinished the neckline in the front, lower and without the stupid ruffle. The result looks something like this:

This is my life today. Light, free, open, unafraid. And yet, just as this dress is still technically the same dress it was before, made of the same material, I am still the same person, at my core. But I have cut so much out, undone so much stitching, and refashioned so many things that the result is almost unrecognizable. Just like I remade this dress, even so I have remade my life.

What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality
What Courtship Was for Me
Fifty Shades of Evangelical Justifications for Patriarchy
When Men Wax Poetic about My Womb
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15172112981244682382 shadowspring

    hee hee That must have been one fun sewing project! =D

  • http://thewordsonwhat.wordpress.com/ Rob F

    While reading the Joyce book, I saw the following passage (p. 79-80, about 3/4 of the way throught the chapter about the Pearls) (my emphasis):"[The Pearls] require wives to dress and behave modestly among men to whom they do not belong, lest the sight of their bodies tempt men into 'sight' or 'thought' adultery…The lack of men's responsibility or culpability for their own actions and the acceptance of male 'urges' as irresistable forces of nature is the understructure of Christian modesty movements and their secular counterparts: seeing women's bodies as almost supernaturally perverse and corrupting…."The modesty movement is about controlling women (through feelings of guilt and shame, for example). And the not seeing men as responsible for their own actions is demeaning to them, and part of the reason why patriarchy hurts everyone and why feminism is good for everybody.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15528465833214550644 Katy-Anne

    Maybe I should send you some of my stuff to "remake" for me. LOL.

  • Anonymous

    Love this! I don't have any of my old stuff to make over, but it is such a perfect picture of the transformation from the old imprisioned life to the new life of freedom! kateri @Dandelion Haven

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09779444962182438901 Enigma

    Beautiful! I'm still in the proccess of ripping apart my "dress." Sometimes i wonder if there will still be anything left when its over. I love your analogy of the dress. :)

  • http://mostly-violet.blogspot.com Violet

    Beautiful analogy!