Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Women’s Clothing

Sorting through closets

Sorting through closets
I’m overcome by sadness
about what?

Beloved outfits, yes
And also reminders of a time
when I was what?

A worker bee all dressed up for slaughter?
A shining star in someone else’s grand career?

I need another outlook
On these outgrown outfits
Consciously assembled to cover
A harmless woman
Not seeking glory or fame
Easy to work with
A good team player
Not given to outlandish clothes
Or calling attention to herself

I’m not mean
I’m neat and tidy
Don’t mess with me
And by the way
I’m not sure who I am

Today’s work isn’t the end
It’s a beginning
An expansion
Not of what’s in my closet
But in my spirit —
The spirit of our Creator
Whose expansiveness goes
Beyond the boundaries of my small world
Into the vast unexplored territory
Of the woman I am already becoming

Most of my time right now is spent getting things ready for the contractors. They’ll begin work this coming Monday. In the meantime, we’ve been sorting things out, making another dent in our worldly goods.

As relieved as I am to be doing all this, I’m also grieving. The poem above is about going beyond my small world. Still, I carry happy memories of past collaborations with colleagues, and lively courses with students. My clothes are a reminder of good times, not just the other times.

Today I’m expanding. I also feel the drag of my upbringing and life as a woman in college, seminary-land, church, and society in general. I remind myself that our Creator is constantly expanding, moving into new territory, and calling out to us to follow, ready or not.


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 September 2019
Image found at

Clutching fragile identity


Clutching fragile identity
close to her body
She enters the room
secured by precious props
disguised in glitter –
Mundane necessities
for the ornamental woman

I’ve often wondered who invented clutch bags for women. The most alluring, annoying, disempowering fashion item I’ve ever met.

Imagine working a room with only one hand and arm. Clutching a small bag in the other hand, or trying to keep the bag nonchalantly hanging by a metal chain from your shoulder or arm. Or eating your meal while balancing a slippery clutch bag on your lap. Or going through the agony of deciding which absolutely essential items you need to take along this evening. Or the higher agony of feeling totally insecure and incomplete without something clutched in your hand, close to your body. Like a decoration, or a weapon of social warfare.

I still own a few beautiful clutch bags—small, lovely, ‘feminine’ and retro. They’re sitting in the museum of my dresser drawer. Nothing worth selling. Just reminders of past years when I flirted with being a ‘stylish’ woman, and how awkward I felt.

By the way, what ever happened to sensible, stylish pantsuits for women, with sensible pockets?

Thanks to WordPress for this prompt, and the invitation to highlight one of my favorite imponderables.

And thanks to you for stopping by! We spent Thanksgiving Day with D’s sister, her husband, one of their friends, and their sweet kitty. Great food and conversation, a brisk walk around the block a couple of times, and a chance to enjoy and strengthen bonds that matter. No clutch bags allowed. 🙂


© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 November 2017
Image of vintage clutch bag found at
Daily Prompt: Clutch

Good Girl goes to Bible College, 1960

It’s September 1960. I’m 16 years old and 150 miles from home. I’ve just arrived for my first year of college. My orientation packet includes a student handbook and a handbook for women only. Am I ready for this? According to the handbooks, Read the rest of this entry »

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