Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Sickness ~ Pt 1

by SierraAs an adolescent girl, growing up under William Branham’s Message of the Hour, I stood poised before a great fall. Sometimes I felt a cold breeze rising from the pit in front of me. I knew that against my will I was edging closer, and would someday have no choice but to jump in. But I looked frantically for an outlet or a bridge, digging in my heels against the edges of the pit. The name of the abyss was womanhood.I was taught that the Bible recognized three classes of people: men, women, and children. In God’s plan for the family, authority descended directly in that order. Men obeyed God, women obeyed men, and children obeyed all three. For those living within this scheme, God … [Read more...]

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Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Atheist

by SierraWilla was an atheist. A self-styled “unschooler,” she attended homeschool conventions and activities with her two children, Alexis (9) and Steven (5), and it was there that she met my mother. Willa’s husband worked in a field that I knew only abstractly as something involving computers and sales. He was a passive, taciturn man with whom I never exchanged a single word. Their children were boisterous, especially Alexis. Willa attached herself to my mother very quickly. Since Alexis was my age, we were an automatic source of play dates, which often really amounted to tea parties for our mothers. Common interests seemed to abound at first: homeschooling, books, and bargains. Both ador … [Read more...]

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Daughter of the Barren

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.-Isaiah 54:1by SierraThe first time I saw my mother cry, she was hunched over the dresser in her bedroom, silent, her shoulders shaking. I had almost walked into the room, but when I noticed her posture I paused and silently backed away, then ran, on tiptoe, to escape the jarring sight. I had not yet turned ten, but I knew what her tears meant.She was crying for my brother, the one lost in miscarriage just before she’d begun taking me to our new church. Every C … [Read more...]

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Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 5: Waking Up

by KieryA failure, that’s what I was, a giant failure. I couldn’t be the daughter my parents wanted me to be. I had tasted freedom, and I felt like I deserved it. I couldn’t go back to being the second mom after being told I was an adult. Adults can’t take their children’s adulthood away, can they?The 6 months between the split and my 18th birthday were the darkest days of my life. I was horribly depressed, I hardly ate, I contemplated cutting and suicide on more than one occasion. Honestly, if it weren’t for the friends I had made before and my boyfriend’s pastor stepping up and reaching me when I cried for help, I don’t know where I would be. I was mad at God, mad at my parents, mad at … [Read more...]

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Daughter of the Patriarchy: Casualties

by SierraSoft breaths of cinnamon and vanilla wafted down into the basement from Anna’s kitchen. Laughter chorused over our heads as Sven and I busily fortified our Lego castle with rubber animals: his were the dogs, mine the cats. We worked together to fend off a motley invasion of snakes, hyenas and whatever other ugly miscreants we could dig from the toy bin. Pirates were only ever united by a common love of money. Bare light bulbs hung glaring over our heads, but we ignored them. Tiring of the siege, we took refuge under the stairs and ripped open a bag of butter cookies. Chessmen. We spared no cavalry or foot soldier in the cookie massacre. We were eight years old.Sneaking upstairs t … [Read more...]

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Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 4: Growing Up

by KieryThe thing about training is that eventually, you grow up and exercise what you were taught. I was taught to think for myself, to stand up regardless of pressure, and in the end, that’s what I did.The last half of my 16th year my parents spent drilling into me that I was a capable adult and ready for marriage. I went to visit my boyfriend after christmas and I think my parents fully expected a proposal even though (despite me being 16) we’d only been together since September. I was nervous, naturally. A hasty marriage was being pushed by my family  while his were much less hurried. I was scared, because at 16, I interpreted this as there being something wrong...maybe they didn’t … [Read more...]

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Daughter of the Patriarchy: Hairspray

by SierraI awoke with my lungs filled with something pungent and sticky. I sat up groggily in the upper bunk, fumbling around for a watch or cell phone to tell me why it was still dark when so many beds were vacated. A light shone dimly across the long dorm room through a hazy moisture hanging in the air. My hand closed around someone’s small alarm clock, and I squinted at it. 5:30am.It was hairspray, I discovered as I staggered toward the bathroom. Lithe, elegantly dressed young women gathered cheerfully around the bathroom mirrors as they unrolled golden-flecked curls that fell gently to their thighs. Each strip of hair, carefully unbound from a foam roller, was sprayed within an inch o … [Read more...]

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The Destiny of a Virtuous Daughter ~ Part I: Beginnings of the Mask

by Starfury  Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? -MulanFor as long as I can remember, I was somebody else. My driving factors were love, approval, and being wanted, for who I was. That never came, in part due to the fact that in my work to achieve my goals I molded who I was to others' specifications. As a result, I am trying to figure out who I am, even though I'm now an adult. Even now, it is easy to slip into the role that I deem others expect of me. It is hard to summon up the strength to remove the mask I've become so good at wearing, out of fear of reproach and backlash.Ultimately, I was to be the perfect daughter. My family had to appear as the model family, … [Read more...]

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Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 3: Critical Thinking

by KieryMany people tell me I’m brave, they can’t believe how strong I am. Ten years of playing “mommy 2” isn’t overly common in the outside world. People at church would often tell me how lucky my parents were to have me and say “I bet you help out a lot, huh?” and I would nod and say “yes” while scanning the room to keep tabs on my siblings. “You guys are so blessed!” They would exclaim to my parents, “I don’t know how you do it.” My parents would nod in agreement while other families noted how well behaved we were.It seemed people either wanted to have our faith or detested us. They would aspire to become like my family, or think we were crazy lunatics. We prided ourselves on being p … [Read more...]

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Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 2: Maintaining Appearances

by KieryIn time, I would begin to envision myself as a fair rose hidden inside metal armor. Afraid to grow, afraid to feel, staying inside a metal cage meant to protect. As far as appearances went though, you’d never know I felt that way. I don’t think my own family knew how I felt, when it comes down to it. Appearances were very important - we always had to look perfect, the house had to be spotless, when we were moving we had to be all happy about it (even if we weren’t), that way people wouldn’t think there was something wrong. The worst thing that could happen would be for someone to wonder if there was something wrong/ someone wasn’t “happy”.I joined a speech club when I was 13, an … [Read more...]

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