Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: my father

Queen for a Day Bans

grandpa-gury-jer-egr-erf-2-dec-1944_0002

I hate the word ‘banned’
My father was the King of Bans
My life as a child was ruled by Bans
My father’s list of Thou shalt Nots
conveniently fenced me in
and robbed evil of its hate-filled power

Wrong!
A thousand times wrong!
The wrong on the tip of my tongue
The wrong in the imaginations of my heart
The wrong in my never-delivered tirades
The wrong my father, and then I did to my body and soul
Haunts me seven decades later

I’m a Queen
though not by succession
I sometimes proclaim myself Queen
Crown myself and decide for myself
What I will and will not do or say
In the secret places of my mind and heart
from which I banned my father

I hereby proclaim myself Queen for a Day
And designate my personal bans for this day–
The 103rd anniversary of my deceased father’s birth

I hereby ban
self-neglect of my female body and soul
that minimizes its need to be respected and cared for
as a gift entrusted to me by God

I hereby ban
All assumptions about my father
Including whether he would or would not
accept my forgiveness

Finally, I hereby ban
Any shred of fear or self-righteousness
That keeps me from opening my heart
to God’s overwhelming love and acceptance of me.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 October 2016
Photo of my father, maternal grandfather, mother and me, 1943/44

WordPress Daily Prompt: Banned

My Underground Ally

tongue-posture

The very first exercise my physical therapist assigned me was simple. Keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth at all times, except when you’re eating, talking or swallowing. Who would have thought this small change would produce a moment of enlightenment?

Well, it did. That’s because I’m also learning to notice when my tongue wanders from its designated parking space. Here’s how it happened. Read the rest of this entry »

The Reclamation Project | Part 1 of 2

Dream-Quotes-28

This morning I had a dream just before waking. The kind I can’t forget. Here it is, with nothing omitted. I have some ideas about it, but first, here’s the dream.

It’s early in the morning. The sun is just beginning to rise. I’m walking up a street on a slight hill. I notice about a dozen vans parked on the street and in an outdoor parking lot. They’re all black, with simple white logos. Each logo is slightly different from the others, and is accompanied by a team name. I’ve been given a task to carry out with one of the teams. I hadn’t realized there were other teams.

I approach my destination, walking toward the building where I’m to meet the team. I hear music playing. It sounds like a jam session. The building is open-air style on the ground floor next to the street, so I can see what’s happening inside. A team of women and men are playing music together. Each seems to be playing a different instrument. I don’t see a formal conductor. Some team members are arriving at the same time I’m getting there.

The room they’re in is next to another building, also open so I can see who’s in it. Right there, up against the wall adjoining the musicians’ building, I see my father. He’s leaning against the wall, sitting, and playing a guitar. In fact, he’s playing along with the other musicians. I never knew he played a guitar! The other musicians can hear him but they can’t see him. He’s much older than they are, and doesn’t see me.

I wonder whether my father knows what he’s doing. He’s not part of the team still gathering next door. Fortunately, he’s picking the guitar softly, trying to connect with the music coming from the next space over. I hear the music coming close to ending. As it does, I already know somehow that the guitar will be the last instrument heard.

So far the music has been similar to jazz improvisation. My father doesn’t know much about jazz. So I’m surprised that as the performance winds down, his guitar playing becomes crystal clear and creative. I can scarcely believe my ears. It’s beautiful. My father never looks up to see me, and I don’t stop to say anything. It’s as though he’s in a different world.

I’m here to meet this team of recently employed workers. I didn’t know they were musicians. That’s not the job they were hired to do. I tell them how beautiful their music is and how much I enjoyed hearing it as I walked up the hill. I can tell they already work well together.

Just then one of my sisters joins the group. I’m surprised and happy to see her. I’m not sure which sister it is. At first I think it’s Sister #2. Then I take another look and think it might be Sister #4.

I explain that I’m here to take the team through the last phase of their orientation. They have one last task before they go out to do their work. Each of them is to write a brief personal statement about how and why you do this work, connecting it with something significant that guides the way you actually do the work.

I already know the nature of their work. They’ll be going through the neighborhood collecting things that have been thrown away. Each of them needs to tell me how and why they do this. For example, they might say, “I work in this way (describe it) because it connects with the way Jesus worked.” I have in mind a reclamation project.

I wake up happy, wondering what this dream is saying about me.

To be continued. . . .

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 25 August 2015
Image from chickhughes.com

Toasting the Blame Documents

Leftovers.  Sometimes they’re wonderful.  Then there are the other times.  They just sit there in the refrigerator waiting for me to do something with them.  In reviewing my blog posts this past year, I couldn’t overlook unfinished business I still have with my father.

It isn’t as though I’ve been twiddling my thumbs. Read the rest of this entry »

A Toast to Mom

My Number One Surprise this past year?  Coming to terms with my mother’s role in my life.  For years I’ve harbored cold resentment toward her.  Much more than I have toward my father.  Yet in this first year of blogging, I’ve done an about-face.

Here’s a dream I had about her in August 2012.  In the dream Mom is an attractive, even endearing figure.  Where did this come from?   I’m still not sure, but here it is, followed by some of my reflections.

17 August 2012

I’m in a rink-like area with other women.  A woman in the rink is telling us about the new surface that’s just been completed.  It’s so smooth that no ice or roller skates are required.  Just regular flat shoes.  Several women are trying it out.

I’ve just arrived, and know my mother is nearby.  I call out for her to come and see.  The minute she hears how it works she gets in the rink and takes off in a graceful glide around the far end of the rink.  She does a beautiful leap, turn, and ballet-like move, lands smoothly, and keeps going.

She’s smiling, happy and totally healed in her body.  Her hair is cut short.  It’s dark auburn, wavy, and lovely.  She’s wearing a skating/ballet-like outfit with a short full skirt that floats into the air as she leaps and comes back down.  She looks youthful and mature—perhaps in her late 20s or early 30s.  She’s beautiful and obviously accomplished.  I feel proud that she’s out there doing her thing.

Live in my own world

Is this Mom?

When I wake up from the dream I feel surprised, happy and sad all at the same time.  I recall a fragment of another dream I had several days earlier.  I’m in a room.  I don’t know where.  I’m standing behind a woman seated in a chair.  Her back is toward me, and she’s leaning over something she is creating—a work of art?  I’m not sure.

My attention goes to her beautiful hair—just like the hair I see on my mother in the skating rink dream.  However, in this earlier dream I don’t recognize the woman right away as my mother.  I know I’ve seen hair like that before, and when I look at the sliver of profile on the right side of her face, I’m surprised and delighted to see this is my mother.  She seems totally at ease with herself and focused on what she’s doing, even though others are in the room.

I don’t recall many pre-polio dreams about Mom or about her looking this young, content, rested, and energetic.  When she married my father, she seemed to accept the world she entered.  Yet my writing project highlights not simply how damaging that world was to me, but how damaging it was to her.  Yes, she was my father’s collaborator.

If, however, I put her role in the context of human trafficking, she becomes a victim collaborator—like other women victims who earn the trust of their male ‘owners.’ It seems they survive by denying human bonds of affection or compassion for the victims over whom they are given limited power.

In Our Backyard by Nita Belles includes a chilling story that suggests this.  A daughter and then her mother get lured into human trafficking via a modeling agency.  The mother eventually becomes trusted enough to pave the way for new recruits, and is allowed limited ‘freedom’ to carry out tasks on behalf of her traffickers.  One day, this mother sees an opportunity to escape, and takes her daughter along.

It seems only a mother would remain connected enough by human bonds to even dare this—risking her own freedom and life by bringing her daughter along.  Ironically, however, this tiny crack in their prison was made possible by first demonstrating she could and would treat her daughter no differently than she treated all the other young women.

Though my mother collaborated with my father, she retained her capacity to relate to me, especially after I was married.  I’ve often regretted that she died before my father.  Perhaps a bit of my stumbling courage when I confronted my father openly in 1993 gave her permission to own her own humanity and womanhood.

A New Year’s toast to Mom:  My Number One Creative Ally!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 December 2014

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