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.