I grew up in a very conservative home. My parents immigrated from Southeast Asia during the Reagan Presidency. My dad built churches to support minorities in the states. And the rest of us simply supported him in his endeavors. Sometime later we were invited to become Oneness Pentecostals. It didn’t happen that quickly, it was a gradual, time-consuming, laborious process, but we dipped our toes in the thought, ready for the next step.
This moment in time was quite a challenge for many reasons, with the most definite reason being the internal confusion that landscaped my whole entire experience in the Oneness cause. Never for once did my mind ever conclude that women must wear skirts to receive salvation. Not for a split second did my mind ever feel at peace with that thought, idea, and outright belief. However, the peer pressure to dress in such uncomfortable clothing, long sleeve shirts too hot during summers, and long, train-like skirts too out-dated and uncomfortable, and no make-up to even cover a scar on my face, made this feel very phony at the end. There were days when I was just confused. How does any sane person conclude that strict adherence to a set of protocols, for instance, dress-codes, give them a leg up in finding eternal salvation? It baffled me!
Peer pressure is one of those things you will always have to face. You will time & time again, run into very stubborn persons that demand you live a certain way. Those are the moments you have every right to decide your own true destiny. Those moments help develop your internal instincts and help you deal with each punch with pride. Alas, with peer pressure, you can expect the worst case scenario. In my case, I faced persons left and right demanding that I follow in their footsteps, because what ways I was presently living, was all too wrong for them.
I left the Oneness Pentecostal church for good, December 8th of 2010. My prayers at the time were for God, if there was even a God, to give me direction, focus, and strength to do this very thing. I still cannot profess if God really was there, out in the big, sphere-shaped earth, somewhere hidden behind the puffy clouds, really heard me pray, or even existed to listen. The prayer I prayed felt like eternity bur for one minute it felt like eternity shifted focus and zoomed in on my sad situation with a look of condolence and empathy. For once, I felt more than Oneness Pentecostal, I felt like an organic human being connected to all other living things, like a tiny little bug, a flea, that just was looking for her way home. After that delirious seizure, I felt the courage to have hope in other things that didn’t pertain to anything, even remotely associated with Oneness Pentecostalism. I threw that bag away, kind of like casting off an evil spirit, I gave it a good whack, and it fumbled along the way.