Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: The Waiting Game

Haunted by unlived history, #2

Wedding Day, 11 September 1965

When I married D I believed I’d found the answer to all my problems. I was ecstatic. Finally I had a life of my own, and a man who would love me and not try to fix me. It might not happen overnight, but eventually I would be my own woman, doing my own thing. And D would love me no matter what.

Two weeks before we married, in 1965, I told D I was afraid he would leave me behind. Here we were, getting ready to marry and move to Boston where he would pursue a graduate degree. But what would I pursue? No, I didn’t have anything in particular I was dreaming about, though someday I might want further education.

In 1973, we ended up in California with two young children, and both of us enrolled in seminary. I was ecstatic. Maybe I would find myself at seminary.

Yet my sense of being on the sidelines of life grew. Especially as D received work-related assignments to travel, while I stayed home caring for our young children and pursuing my seminary studies.

I went through periods of exhaustion, depression, bouts of anger, resentment and resignation. I felt trapped, misunderstood and lonely. Any kind word or smile that came my way, especially from men, was more than welcome, though I felt uneasy about this. Wasn’t I supposed to love D and no one else? And wasn’t his love for me more than enough?

Seamlessly and unknowingly I enacted the script of my mother’s unlived life. Not just a script about still needing love and affection, but a larger script about not having or following my dreams, not believing in or taking care of myself. I was too busy taking care of others.

I didn’t know or believe in myself, or my ability to go after large targets and impossible dreams. When opportunity knocked, my habitual responses were self-defeating.

  • Too busy to take advantage of opportunities
  • Afraid to put myself out there for consideration
  • Disbelief in my demonstrated gifts or potential
  • Feeling less than qualified
  • Changing the subject as quickly as possible
  • Finding out how I might help you follow your dream

I was in trance mode—caught in a waiting-game that feels like being on a train that moves yet never arrives because it has no known station.

I watched and cheered as other women and men pursued their dreams. I wrote hundreds if not thousands of reference letters on behalf of others. Yet never once did I write a letter in support of my dreams. I was living my mother’s unlived life. Doing what I could to support others, and choosing not to pursue anything strictly for myself.

So how does my history with men fit into all this? More to come.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 31 January 2018
Photo taken at our wedding, 11 September 1965

Courtship and Engagement | Part 4

Are we almost there? I think so.

Starvation Rations
That’s what I call the connections between D and me during our long, seemingly endless engagement. We had tons of hope, love and trust. They go a long way. But I really missed Read the rest of this entry »

Courtship and Engagement | Part 2

It’s the early 1960s. I’m at a conservative Bible college in the Deep South. I now have a serious boyfriend, David (D). Along with other single students, we live according to the rules. Bible college rules, and the unwritten social rules of the Deep South.

We don’t talk about sexuality directly; Read the rest of this entry »

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