Friday, April 30, 2010

Poker with a Dragon

her tower is a cave
hand dug within the black earth
stalactites kiss stalagmites
giving birth to prison bars
stone shackles holding her fast.

she plays poker with a dragon
bluffing her way through
the cards and the game
wagering years of entrapment
with a deck of jokers
knowing her prince
isn't fighting
isn't coming for her
the broken, the practical,
the mother or friend,
the good but never good enough
princes climb towers
lifting themselves up,
they don't descend to caves
of yellow mud, stony walls,
and salty tears
so she'll fight the dragon,
fight him,
and never win.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Ballad of Rameses

Who is this stranger upon my mother's knee?
This baby getting the love meant for me?
She sings softly to him and smiles
a grin only I use to bring, and I'm driven wild.
"Rameses, my love," she coos to me,
"you have a new baby brother, come and see."
I clamor to her lap and sneaked a glare,
if only then I had realized what would become then and there.

Who is this teenage ruffian standing beside me?
dressed alike, raised together, kings to be,
we race chariots recklessly, celebrate festivals as brothers,
for brothers we are, and brotherly love we share for each other.
Temple rituals, scribe work, education we share,
afterlife complete with religious belief we prepared.
brother of my heart, I was perfectly content with you,
never would I ever imagine that you were born a Hebrew.

Who is this young man whose life is upside down?
chest heaving, murder on his hands, entire persona a frown.
He kneels in the dust, crying mud, shaking his head.
"Rameses," he whispers, "I am a lie," he rips off his ring, it's Egypt he sheds.
I tried to keep him, to make him stay, to make it right,
but he pushed me away and began to run, to run out of my sight.
"Moses!" I call, hoping to see him come back and stay,
but all there remained was emptiness and my own despair, my dismay.

Who is this dusty stranger before me and my throne?
It looks likes Moses, lost brother of my heart (but not my bone).
It is Moses! How strange he looks. A Shepard now I see,
he has a beard and carries a staff and stares at me
with eyes that have seen wonders and glory
I go to embrace him and beg to hear his story.
But he has not come to relive the past with me
He is a very different man then what he used to be...

Who is this man who demands that I let his people go?
His people? They are my slaves and I demand that they remain so.
He warns me against a hardened heart, "brother, don't," he pleads,
but Moses seems to have forgotten all kindness for me,
and brings plagues of devastation to my kingdom and my rule,
but I will not relent, I alone remain strong, dignified and cool.
But my brother sends a plague of death to my son's bedroom door.
And as I hold my lifeless son, I bid him leave and bother me no more.

Who is this man that I am chasing with every ounce of hatred in me?
Once my brother, my companion. Now my prey, my hatred. My worst enemy.
But once again he has left me, and now I found myself standing on one side
of a huge divide, yelling his name into the void that he left behind.
"Moses!" I scream. I fall to my knees, and glancing down, my reflection I see.
Who is this broken man looking back at me?
Who will always be known as the one who heart God harden,
saw the works of the Lord, but whose crimes will never be pardoned.

Who is this man I see?

the road to the well

slowly picking her way
along the trodden path
a badly balanced bucket
over her head
on the road to the well.

no chattering birds or women
to cheer her along the way
not when the sun is high
there's no one
to notice,
to laugh,
to talk
on the road to the well.

there's a man
setting on his own
opposite of herself
his eyes reflect the sun
they behold her
shaking form
on the road at the well.

"give me drink"
his only words
reaching out
to a woman who walked
wanting solitude and attention
on the road at the well.

"i will give you
living water"
water not drawn
but received,
water that forever quenches,
flowing from an eternal spring
on the road at the well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


write me a lovesong,
sung to my inner melody.

your fingers
strum the neck
of the guitar.
my ole blue eyes
sizzling and bright.
the strings of your hands
composing the harmony.

i'll try not to smile
as the lyrics swirl
and slide over us.
hair falling
across your brow,
you look up,
eyes as burning notes,
smile like a vibrating cord...

oh write me a lovesong!
something played only for me.
let me captivate you,
as your music captures me.

Extravagant Love

wrap Your fingers
around my heart.
entwine them,
tug forward.
let me tumble,
head first,
into Your love,
eyes opened

wrap an arm
around my waist,
like a cord,
tying me
closely to You,
tightening the vaccuum,
letting nothing else exist.

breath in my soul,
breath out Your love.
Your heart thumps,
i feel my name.
eyes closed
i see Your words,
beautiful, darling,
lovely creation.

why do You love me?

Beauty in the Broken

taken from a november journal entry:

I don't want to be broken anymore. Why this thought at this moment is something I can't understand. I'm not depressed or emo; I was driving home from class, going to lov3 and I broke down. Tears streamed down my cheeks, the smell of wet makeup filled my nose, and words spilled out of my mouth, "GOD, please don't break me anymore. I don't want to be broken more. Please don't break me." Where did this come from? And when I got to church I kept asking myself, "What beauty is there in the brokeness?" Which leads me to wonder, is there beauty in brokeness? Or is there beauty in the repair? Or if there is beauty in the brokeness, is it hidden in the shattering of the pieces or the stillness of them? For if it's in the shattering of the pieces, then does that beauty itself shatter? Then would it too need to be fixed? Or if beauty is in the stillnesss of the shattered pieces, then can we only be beautiful if we are smashed and shattered into a million pieces? I guess both situations would depend on what beauty is? What is beauty anyway? It can't be universal, for there are as many opinions upon its subject as blades of grass in a a meadow, or grains of sand along a salty bottom. It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if no one ever sees me?

"There's beauty in brokenss".
Ecclesiastes 7:3 says, "Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better."
I don't understand. Sorrow is better than laughter? A sad countenance makes a happy heart? I can't help but wonder if the Preacher was hinting at this beauty in brokeness. If we allow GOD to break us, we have an opportunity to grow closer to GOD. But must we be broken in order to do so? Why is that what it takes?
Mercy Me sang, "if that's what it takes to praise YOU, then JESUS bring the rain". I don't want rain. I don't want brokeness. I just want GOD to pull me into HIS embrace, kiss my head, call me beautiful, lovely, beloved, and dance with me. Do I have to be broken for that? But I guess a dance isn't going to fix it all. If there does exist a beauty in the broken, there must be loveliness in the repair. Maybe that is the time to dance with GOD; to waltz along the path of the galaxies in the sky where stars become disco balls and planets become ballrooms. Perhaps when you're broken, the only thing you can do is wrap your arms around the neck of GOD and hold as tight as you can. Is that beauty? External beauty external of yourself? I guess that in order to fully find beauty in brokeness, you have to realize and know what beauty is. I'm not sure if I fully understand what beauty is. And as for being broken, I don't want to be broken. I've had enough brokeness and enough sadness. I just want to have happiness come and surprise me. For GOD to come around the corner with a bow shrouded box with a tag that says, "just for you" and "with Love, GOD". I want a present from GOD, just for me with no brokeness inside.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Regency Travesty

By the time Europe got to the 1800s, the textile industry had exploded, and the making of clothing was a full scale economy of its own. During this time, people had access not only to different textiles and materials, but also had access to already made clothing, or they had access to people who could make the clothing for them. With all this access, the world of fashion had been created. When fashion first becomes, fashionable, for lack of a better word, it followed the court of the royals whether that court was English or French. At least for the most part. Then there was the invention of the fashion magazine or plates. Now people had access to all the latest trends and could duplicate them in their own town or village far from court life (although by the time fashion plates were being published, fashion was dictated not from the court, but from the elite class).
During the 1800s, fashion had gone through many different changes and silhouettes. However, during this time, there was a woman named Jane Austen who included many different aspects and styles of fashion in her novels. Austen also wrote many letters to her sister that included gossip and fashion. From these letters and novels, one can construct the fashion styles of her day.
In the early 1800s, the era was known as the Regency Era and the Empire dress was the main fashion trend. The Empire dress was inspired by Grecian-Roman style. It was made usually from muslin or lawn, which would cling to the body, emphasizing the natural feminine form. The dresses were preferably white, but since white was so hard to keep clean, many women saved their white dresses for the evening or important events. During the day, some women preferred to wear pastels. Another important aspect of the Empire dress was the fact that the waist line started directly under the bust line. The dress would be gathered under the bust line and then fall to the ground in a straight line, forming a long column. The neckline would be cut very low, with a tight bodice forming the back. The dress also had cap sleeves that were attached to the bodice. This way, the dress would restrict arm movement somewhat and it would make the wearer appear daintier in their movements.
Since the dress was so sheer (it was more like wearing a night gown in public), undergarments also changed to be adapted to the dress. One important change was that of the corset. Before the Regency era, corsets were made of whale bone and laced up so tight that it would often hinder a woman from breathing correctly. During the Regency era, the corset went from the hip to the breast. It also had straps over the shoulders, making it more like the modern day bra. During the day, some women would also add a chemisette to their dress. A chemisette is like a little shirt that went under the dress to cover up the cleavage from the low cut Empire dress. Also under the dress, some women opted to wear pantaloons. Since the Empire dress clung to the body, the pantaloons acted like long underwear to give women an element of modesty with their dress. The pantaloons were usually flesh colored so that they would not stand out from the dress.
For my project, I first decided to construct a mini Empire dress, just so I could get the full experience of what Austen and other women of the middle class would have done to create the fashions that they saw in the fashion plates. While I figured that women like Austen would have access to not only the fashion plates, but also access to readymade textiles like Muslin or lawn, from which they would purchase from the local shop, I went to Wal-Mart in search of my “plate” and my textiles. The textile was easy. There was a variety of textiles to pick from. I choose a simple white muslin and moved my way over to the patterns section to find my “plate”. I figured that I would not find a pattern for an Empire dress, but I found another one that had a similar silhouette and hoped that I could use it as an outline for my dress. Once home, I laid out all my materials and grew excited to get started. However it seemed that from the beginning I was doomed to not make a dress. At first my idea had been to reduce the pattern to at least half its size, but was unaware that the pieces in the pattern were not easily sketched to simply a reduced size as I had planned. The short version of this experiment ended up with me sitting in the floor with a lot of penciled measurements, cut up pieces of poster board, and jagged pieces of muslin that didn’t even come close to the pictures of the pattern, all the while using some choice words.
As I sat and looked at what would never become the Empire dress I had pictured in my mind, I wondered how women in the 1800s could simply look at a fashion plate and know how to make the dress that they wanted. I wondered about the women who didn’t have the time or the talent. I assumed that they could have gone to a dress maker, but wondered how much that would cost to a woman who was simply a part the middle class. Perhaps more than what she would be willing to spend for simply a day dress. She may have wanted to go to a dress maker for her evening gown, but a simple day gown I assumed she could make it herself, unless she was utterly hopeless such as I was. I then thought of how even if a woman could make a dress herself, then she might go to a milliner to add the little touches to her gown. Maybe some light embroidery at the sleeve or waist. I wondered what little something she would choose. I would have liked small flowers around the sleeves of my dress, and since I was unable to make it, I could imagine anything I wanted on it.
With the pieces of what should have been my dress lying in disarray around me, I wondered what other part of my project I could butchered. I faintly thought about hats and undergarments, but as I stroked the ravaged muslin, I decided that it probably would not be the best thing to recreate another garment of any type. Although I was interested in trying to recreate a Regency corset and matching pantaloons, I knew that to follow down that road would end in yet another travesty. This is when I turned to the safe, friendly poster board project in hopes that I could save my fashion project.
All in all, I have to say that I have learned a lot from this little project. Perhaps the Empire dress was merely a passing fad, but I learned more than just this dress. I mean, I know about undergarments now too. But that’s just icing on the cake. I learned that fashion meant the same thing to women in the 1800s just as much as it means to me now. Austen had fashion plates; I have magazines and What Not to Wear. Austen had dress makers; I have Kohl’s. Perhaps the greatest difference is that Austen had the freedom to make her clothes what she wanted them to be, and I have the ability to buy my clothes however I want them. And in the end, is that really that big a difference? I don’t think so. Which is why in the end, perhaps my attempt to recreate an actual Empire dress wasn’t such a horrible disaster that I thought it was. Because in the end, I achieved what I wanted to do, which is try to walk in the shoes of women such as Austen and see what it felt like to create my own clothes. And while I didn’t create my own dress, I can still relate to what these women did, and how these women felt. And in the end, I have to say, that’s the real source of knowledge, experience.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

never enough

never enough.
of the
the need.
never enough
what you want
me to be.
of me
never can make
you see
enough of
my beauty.
never enough
never enough
never enough
never enough...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reborn in Glorious Slavery

i was born a slave,
shackled to a sentence
to a crime that was before me,
temptation occurred
to a people i never met,
yet i am one of them,
born of their flesh and deed,
born in their slavery.

mister nature
(his other name ole sinful),
by chains did lead me
up to the hilltop.
stopping at the bottom,
he pulled me close,
whispered in my ear
how master Death
had called up my debt.
"a slave cannot pay"
the only plea from my lips,
"someone gots to pay"
slithered through his breath.

i was born a slave,
shackled to a sentence
to a crime that was before me...

up the hill,
a treacherous climb
though the path wide.
i gasp in pain,
the chains too tight,
mister nature leading fast,
too fast, too strong.
i want to cry, to plead...
ole sinful merely laughs at my misery.

temptation occurred
to a people i never met...

the top of the hill
under my feet.
master Death waiting
my debt in his right hand,
ole sinful gives up my shackles
into master's other fist.
the heavy bonds
wrapped around his bony knuckles,
the air is still,
there is no sound
here on the eternal edge
there is only the anti-quickening,
that sensation of life ending.

yet i am one of them...

shoved to my knees
bowed low before master Death,
life ebbs, greyness descends
like a curtain on a stage
there's a pause in the air,
enter a man stage right
radiating pure, white light.
master Death shudders,
ole sinful has fled.
the brilliant stranger stands
like a rod before a weed.
He commanded without a plea
"the slave shall be mine,
I'm ready to pay"
master Death snickers
dry like dust, yet greasy,
"the price is too great,
its more than a mere arm or leg"
"I'm ready to pay in blood"
was all He said.

born in flesh and deed...

the auction for my soul
has come and gone,
fought without swords or guns.
the strong suitor gave His all,
Death never stood a chance,
the curtain need not to descend,
but tears instead.
my fear has turned to hope,
Death whittled down,
extends my shackles to my victor
who breaks them
and takes me by the hand.
"salvation has come
in freedom you shall stand"
"i rather bow.
bonded to You
as a saved slave,
shackled by grace and love,
bounded by mercy from above"

reborn in glorious slavery.

Slaves to Christ

What is the difference between being a slave and a servant? Slaves are bought, they are subject to one master who has complete control over that slave, their will is becomes subject to the will of the master. Servants, however, are not bought, but receive a wage and have control over whether or not they stay in order to serve. Why is it that Paul writes in Romans 6:18, that we are slaves to righteousness? Do we not consider ourselves "servants" of Christ? Should we instead be thinking of ourselves as "slaves" as Christ? And if indeed, we see ourselves as "slaves" to Christ, how does our relationship with Christ change? Let's think back to the differences between a slave and a servant, how do these definitions change our perspective?

First of all, slaves are bought and bound. We cannot deny the fact that once we accept Christ, we have acknowledged that price that He paid and that while we are no longer bound to death, yet we still find ourselves fighting the ties of sin. And while we yearn to be bond completely in Christ, we find ourselves wrapped in the chains of the flesh.

And yet, time and time again, we are reminded of our freedom that we now have in Christ. We talk of not being under the law, but free to love under the law of grace. We talk of being slaves to Christ, but free in His righteousness. Are we free slaves? It seems to be easier to think of us as slaves to sin and then we become a free people because Christ paid for us on the cross and released us from our slavery. Is that not the picture of the Israelites in slavery under Pharaoh? And yet, while there is truth in that, could the picture not also be of us as slaves to sin, bought by Christ, and then while we were freed from the price of sin, we became slaves to Christ in protection of sin and death? Perhaps this idea of slavery is more akin to the slave days of America old, where slaves where auctioned off by their old masters to a new master whose law and rule they would have to submit too. I can see the poor slave led shackled to the podium, timid by the mere sight of their old, cruel master. I like to picture that their face lights up when they hear the kind, yet authoritative voice of Christ as He yells out His bid. The slave knows that he will remain a slave, but knows that he will also be living under a new law with a kind, loving master. Is this a more complimentary view of what happens to us on the threshold of salvation? Are we put on the block by our master of death, punishment, and sin? Opened then to the bidding of those present, and to our hope and happiness, we are bought by the Master of Creation? And in being bought, the chains that bound us to death, are passed to the new Master, who breaks them, and declares us a new slave? A slave of grace and mercy?

I guess in the end, we are left with this duality of discipleship. We are not necessarily freed slaves or free slaves. We cannot be freed slaves because we still have a master, and we cannot be free slaves because we came with a price. Therefore the conclusion of this duality has to be that we are slaves with freedom. We find ourselves enslaved to Christ, but the irony is that the only true freedom lies within Christ. The only true freedom from sin and hell are through Christ. We enslave ourselves to be free. In our minds, this is entirely against human nature. We have this negative connection to slavery, when in reality, slavery can be a positive thing. Perhaps we think of shackles in only a Charles Dickens Marley and Marley context, when perhaps these chains that bounds us to Christ are like the chains we wear around our necks and affix the two perpendicular lines in a primary shape of redemption and salvation. Perhaps our chains to Christ are like our cross necklace that announce to the world our connection and belief in the cross of Christ.

Perhaps in the end, we must remember that our discipleship is our conforming to Christ. He becomes our Master as we become the slave and we breath to serve Him. We cannot serve Jesus as our lord unless we are slaves. Jesus cannot be a Master without slaves. Just as there can be no redemption without sin, we must first be slaves to sin before we can be slaves to righteousness as Paul wrote. Without a price to be paid, there can be no purchase, without the punishment of sin, there can be no Savior, without the chains of sin, there can be no chains of righteousness. We must recognize in our relationship that we were enslaved, we were condemned, we were unable to save or free ourselves, we were heading for hell. But then we were bought, we were loosed, we were freed, we were conformed, we are enslaved. Just as Paul writes in Philippians, that Jesus took on the appearance of a slave, humbling himself, if we want to be Christlike, we must be slaves. We must bound ourselves to Christ. Slaves to God bring Holiness (Romans 6:22), Holiness is conforming to Christ, conforming to Christ is to conform to slavery (Philp. 2:5-8), to conform to slavery is to gain Holiness, to gain Holiness is to be Christlike, to be Christlike is to be Christian, Q.E.D. to be Christian is to be a slave.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What Will Happen?

what will happen
when i can no longer move forward?
when sadness overwhelms me?
when tiredness turns to exhaustion
and i can no longer breath or move?
what will happen
when i am no longer dependable?
when my hands fail to act?
when my feet feel glued to the floor
and i cease to respond?
what will happen
when my confidence dwindles?
when my mind begins to fade
and i continually wonder in past impressions?
what will happen
when i lose myself?
when my essence goes flat?
when practicality turns to causality
and i shudder and stop?
what will happen
when i can no longer move forward?
and i hibernate inside myself?
what will happen?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall... Help Me to See Christ in Me Afterall

How does the world see you?
How do you see yourself?
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see someone of worth? Someone who is considered "good"? Someone beautiful? Someone you like? What do you see?

One time, I was looking in the mirror, and I hated everything I saw and I thought I saw. However, was what I looking at true? Was my reflection who I really was? Was this a true reflection of myself? We often lament how we wish we could see others the way that God sees them. We wish to see with God's Eyes, but then we never take the time to look at ourselves with God's Eyes. How can we ever be women of virtue, women of God, if we never look at ourselves as God sees us? In order to understand our reflection, we must either change the mirror, or change the eyes.

How does God see us? When God looks down upon His Daughters, what does He see?

First of all, He sees us as His Creation. Genesis 2:22 records the creation of woman by God. God cast a deep sleep over Adam and then takes a rib from his side and fashions women. In her book "City of Ladies" Christine de Pizine notes that God made woman not from the dust, but from clay created by God. Woman was made from God's own playdough. Can you not touch your face and trace the very hands of God as He molded and contoured your cheeks, forehead, and chin? Touch your eyes, and imagine the very thumbs of God pressing down to create the hollow depth. Your nose, shaped and touched by the same hands that thew the stars into the sky. And note in Genesis that woman was made, then brought to Adam. Her creation was an intimate process between her and the Lord. Can you see her being fashioned and laid to rest among the flowers in Eden? Can you see God breathing life into her? Her chest expanding as the first intake of air begins to circulate throughout this newly created body? Perhaps God whispered for her to wake. Perhaps He waited till her eyes fluttered opened on their own. Perhaps He cradled her so the first thing her new eyes would see, would be His face. The important thing to remember is that her creation was between Him and her. She was His first little girl, and He took delight in her creation. Psalm 139:14-16 says, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." (ESV). God has created you to be wonderful. He took delight in your creation, and made it a moment of intimacy between only you and Him. You hold no secret from Him, for what artist forgets His most precious work? You are His creation. I believe that saying we are anything less than wonderful is to show that we know nothing of creation. We know nothing of being crafted. What honor and love is there in knowing that we are crafted by the very Hand of the God of the universe? This grand artist, the ultimate artisan, and then we consider ourselves any less than marvolous? We are lovely, wonderful, beautiful. We are God's Creation.

God also sees us as His lost sheep. We find in Luke 15:4-7, the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus puts forth the example that a shepard who has lost one lamb, will not go about to find it? And once he has found it, he rejoices over his find? In the same way, God searches for us. He longs to rejoice over His find in you. Jesus calls Himself "the Good Shepard". And in John 10, Jesus speaks again about the love He has for His sheep. He says that He knows His sheep, and the sheep know Him. There is a personal connection that Christ and God have with their sheep. This connection is part of the foundation of our relationship with God. Ever since sin entered this world, we have been separated from our Creator, and even though this separation is our fault, God still sees us a lost sheep. His favorite lamb that has gone astray and needs to be found, to be redeemed. God is our good shepard who cares so much for his sheep, that not only will He find them, but He will lay His life down for the sheep (John 15:13).

And this fact, this "laying down His life" leads us to the fact that we are God's Sacrifice. John 3:16 says this truth so beautifully and simply. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jesus was sent to this world to die for you. God loves you so much, that He sent His only son, to die. God sent His son before you even existed, to die, to become your sacrifice. And the truth that makes it even harder to comprhend, the truth of His love, is that if it had only been you that needed a Savoir, if there was you to die for, then Jesus would still have come, and still have died. "When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (ESV). God sees you as someone to die for. If all of history changed at this pivotal moment when Christ died, when the veil was torn, and humanity received their undeserved salvation, then why do we throw it away when we look at ourselves? We can look at others as someone that Jesus died for, and we can tell them with conviction. We believed it once ourselves, but we don't live it. Why don't we live the death of Christ?

And once we fully believe the fact that we are God's sacrifice and accept the death of Christ on the cross and His Resurrection as the only means of our salvation, we become God's Princess. Proverbs 31 is known as the passage of the virtous women, or the perfect woman. Verse 22 says that this woman dresses herself in robes of fine linen and purple. Both of these items would only be worn by women with riches and prestage. Purple is the color of royalty because in order to create it, one must (during the time that Proverbs was written) head to the coast and find a special oyster/clam like creature known as the Murex. One Murex equals one drop of purple dye. Having an entire cloth of purple was a pricey investment. Yet God says that His perfect woman arrays herself in purple, the most costly color, the most royal color. He tells us to dress in purple as a symbol of our royalty through Him. Your Heavenly Father is the King of the universe, of reality as we know it. We let others and ourselves tear us down, when we are of royalty. We are princesses and must treat and carry ourselves as such. No one can take away our royalty. John 10:28-29 says that no one can pluck us out of the Father's Hand. He is there to protect and keep you. No one can take away what God has made you to be.

In the story of Snow White, the evil stepmother's mirror is a pivotal character. She not only stares into it, but ask out loud the questions we never speak. "Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" We look in the mirror and ask the question of "are we enough?" and we tense as we wait for the answer, assuming that the mirror will answer the same as it did to the evil stepmother. "Snow white is more fair", "No, you're not enough, never were enough, will never be enough." However, we need not to fear that answer, because its a farce. We are enough, we were always enough, we will always be enough. This enough comes from God. We are His Creation, His Lost Sheep, His Sacrifice, and His Princess. This is God's opinion of us; we can either believe it or not. We believe it about others, why don't we believe it for ourselves?

Once time I looked into the mirror and I hated what I saw, and what I thought I saw. Then I looked past myself and looked to God for my reflection. That is the reflection that I want to see every time I look at myself. This is the reflection that I want others to see. This is the reflection I claim and stand upon. This reflection is Christ in and through me.

String Gone Wild

When it comes to studying women’s history, a lot of talk goes back and forth between these notions of the private versus the public sphere. Women are said to either encompass or are designated to the private sphere. But what is this private sphere? It includes child rearing and such domestic activities as cleaning and cooking. However, in prehistoric times, what did the private, or domestic sphere mean in work to a woman? It includes a full schedule of cooking, cleaning, and children. But it also included something else. It included the art of working with fibers in order to produce a material that would clothe, house, and help to feed their families. This art was and is comprised of gathering and preparing fiber, spinning the fiber, and eventually weaving that fiber into a useable object. It was this type of work that made up a woman’s day. Today we find ourselves in an age where making your own clothes is either a quirky hobby or a weird fascination, however, by reconstructing some of the clothing that has been found by archeologists, a new appreciation for the work of early women came be found.
In my search of early, prehistoric textiles, I decided to recreate a string skirt, whose remains have been found not only in graves, but from statues dating back to early Bronze Age times. One example that has been found comes from Egtved, Denmark and dates back to about the 14th century B.C. Other examples include a variety of statues that portray women as large and obese sporting these small, immodest skirts. These statues have been found in many areas extending from Western Europe on the coast to the eastern part of Russia.
One of the first things that archeologist first noticed about these skirts, was how immodest, or unpractical they were. The skirts differed from region to region, but the concept remained the same. The skirt was comprised of a narrow band that was worn around the hips, usually wrapped twice and tied in a knot. Hanging off the band, were many pieces of spun string that traveled down to about 15 inches and would sometimes end tied in a band around the bottom, or knotted with some kind of bead or shell. The purpose of the beads or band around the bottom, archeologist think, was to add a certain kind of swing to the skirt, almost like a flounce does to modern skirts today. One of the things that have shocked and baffled archeologists, is the fact that the skirt does not appear to have any kind of covering or warmth purposes. The skirt appears to be too flimsy or thin to serve either one of those purposes. So what was the purpose of the string skirt? In her book, Women’s Work, Elizabeth Barber hypothesizes that the skirt acted like a sign that would highlight a woman’s reproductive bits and maybe indicate that she was of either marriage or child bearing. Barber backs up this argument by looking at a myth of Hera preparing herself for a night of delight with Zeus. Hera arrays herself in garment fit for a goddess complete with a girdle of a hundred tassels. Barber hypothesizes that this could be an early Greek idea of the string skirt. Barber also talks about that even today in Europe, may woman wear decorative aprons with fertility symbols that are not unlike the early Bronze Age string skirt in structure. Perhaps she is right about the purpose of the string skirt, and perhaps not. In my opinion, she makes a valid argument since she employs folklore, myth, and tradition that are centered on women and their dealings with fashion.
So how did I recreate this textile? For my knowledge pursuit, I wanted to concentrate mainly on the process of how this skirt was made. My first process to understand was the most fundamental of the skirt, mainly to recreate how women would have made the string to weave the skirt together in the first place. So, since I was looking at process only, I received a bag of donated cotton balls, and with the aid of a borrowed spindle, I set to work to spin these pieces of cotton into thread. I soon found out an important piece of knowledge as I sat in my living room, separating the fibers and spinning them onto the spindle. That knowledge was simplified in these thoughts, “this is a) a lot of work by myself and could be sped up by the aid of someone else and 2) this is highly boring working on this alone.” I quickly came to understand and appreciate why women usually worked in groups. Preparing the material and the actual spinning could be a quicker process in a group with many hands to separate the fibers. Also, I missed additional voices that would have helped to fill in the silence with stories and jokes. Time would have passed faster, and perhaps I would have been more productive with someone to help keep track of my progress.
After I felt confident with spinning, I moved on to the actual construction of the skirt. I bought two balls of yarn. I purchased them in brown and red, because I felt that after learning about early dyes, that brown (from dirt) and red (from madder roots) would have been the easiest and first colors that the skirts would be dyed. I choose brown to be my warp threads, and set to devising a simple loom that would help me to weave the band and incorporate the strings. The first problem came in trying to figure out exactly how the strings were constructed. I toyed with the idea that the band would be woven first, and the strings then sewn into the band one my one, or in a continuous pieces going up and down. However, since the band seemed to be continuous with no signs of needlework, I decided that this was probably not the normal case of its structure. After conducting some online research, I discovered that when the skirt is woven, one side of the weft is left long. Later, after the skirt is finished, the long weft can be cut in half and left to dangle or encased in the beads, shells, or band. So, with this knowledge, I constructed a makeshift warp weighted loom using paint sticks. I tied my warp between two paint sticks, which I then taped to my bedroom door. Using a third paint stick wound with the red yarn, I used it as a heddle to help me weave the string in and out in a simple 1x1 pattern. I wove the skirt in two separate areas at either ends of the loom, using a fine tooth comb that I brush my hair with as a beater to tighten my weave. The middle I left mainly opened, expect for a small stretch that decorated with my homespun cotton (which did not weave well because of its inconsistent in thickness). Once the weaving was done, I cut it off the loom and secured all the end threads with knots. I decided that I liked the way the skirt looped on the bottom, so I did not cut the loops, or enclosed them in beads or shells.
My skirt was finished and when tied on it was composed of a knot on one hip, a decorative white space on the other hip, and a cascade of red string highlighting both my front and back lady places. As I stood in the mirror, I thought of how this skirt may have been a sign that I was marriageable or ready to have children, and I swung my hips to try out the sway of the strings. I was not sure if I felt any more seductive then I did in the pajama pants I was wearing underneath, or any more ready to procreate with a man for that matter. However, as with anything that sways, I felt a little more girly, and enjoyed swishing side to side and watching the strings move with my swaying in a little rhythm that I decided was womanly. Men don’t sway like that, and as far as the little statues that archeologist have been digging up, they did not wear little skirts that showed off their reproductive bits. It was then that I felt the sauciness of what Elizabeth Barber was hypothesizing with this skirt. And as I stood in the mirror, I was amazed at how much time and work went into the making of one piece of clothing. And I was amazed at women who figured out the process on their own. And mostly I was amazed at the fact, that even thousands of years after the creation of this skirt that most people have no idea even existed, I could still copy the pattern and feel a little sexy.