Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: starving for sisterly conversation

What’s happening in my life

Dear Friends,

The last two weeks have been a roller-coaster ride, mostly downhill and out of control. My youngest sister has been and still is in the hospital after a Christmas Eve health emergency. Her future situation is unsettled, and her adult son is looking into multiple scenarios and choices. It all feels topsy-turvy. Like being shaken, not knowing where Sister #4 will land, or how it will change the landscape of our relationships with her.

The photo at the top shows our mother on the left, and the four of us. From left to right: Sister #2, #3 (Diane), #1 (me), and #4, now in the hospital. The photo of the four of us was taken in the late 1990s. This was Diane’s last trip to Savannah before ALS made travel like this impossible. Mom died in 1999, Diane in 2006.

I’m exceedingly grateful today for each of my sisters and for the relationships we developed with each other as adults. I grew up starving for sisterly conversation. Not because I chose starvation, but because it was the only way to survive the strictly enforced Good Girl Rules of our family.

In the midst of all this I received a congratulations message from WordPress. I passed my 6th Year anniversary! When I started out, I was terrified. What would I say and how would I say it? I still ask myself that question almost every day. Yet it doesn’t feel as terrifying as it did back then.

If anyone asked me today what I’ve learned so far as a blogger, it’s this. I’ve learned to trust myself and my readers. Putting pieces of my life out there was, and sometimes still is difficult. Yet I don’t know any other way to keep healing and finding my way from here to there, wherever these places might be.

I’m still getting back to regular posting, and some semblance of resolution about the current family emergency. Thanks for your faithful visits and prayers.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 January 2020
Photo of Sisters taken in Savannah, Georgia, in the late 1990s.

Voices long silent

Dawn's Place circle of friends making paper flowers february 2014

Voices long silent
Spill over each other
Dying to be heard

Sisters on a mission
To recover lost youth
Find each other instead

Secrets never shared
Comfort never given
Tears never cried
Sink into the ground
Of love-starved hearts

How many of us are there? Blood relatives or total strangers, it doesn’t matter. The more I read and hear about the untold lives of women, the more horrified I am at the way we’ve been silenced. I also wonder how long we’ve taken it out on each other?

Starving for sisterly conversation. That’s how I grew up. Silence was enforced and reinforced a thousand ways. Not just at home but in church, in school and in every social or public setting of my life. Even, strangely, in settings that seemed to be made up of women only.

As a child and teenager I was surrounded by a seen and unseen assemblage of rules, shaming rituals and periodic public displays of what happens to strong women. Especially women who speak their minds and make trouble for the rest of us.

Fast forward, and it feels too familiar. Not so much from the bottom up as from the top down. It doesn’t take many men and like-minded women to turn the tide. Especially when women can easily be publicly shamed, if not ruined, in this age of social media.

Many, if not most of us are starving for love. Not for glory or fame, but for safety, acceptance and affection. We’re dying for a listening ear. At least one other woman who will confirm our experience. Laugh and weep with us. Comfort and support us. Especially now, when female life around the world is still fragile, no matter how many grand laws are on the books. Including right here at home in these United States of America.

I know. There are all kinds of barriers and circumstances that seem to discourage this. Yet a smile and a warm hello might be that last drop that turns the tide for another woman. I’d even suggest it’s a way of knocking on a door. Especially in a country gone sour on social niceties.

With hope and persistence,
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 June 2018
Photo: Women at Dawn’s Place, a therapeutic residential program for women

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