Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Youth

Tell me if you can, if you dare–

I wrote the poem below early in my blogging days. Back in the 1940s and 50s, I was the oldest of four daughters. My father was an ordained clergyman, loved by many, feared by me. It seems life in these “United States” is becoming more and more like my childhood. Especially, but not only, for women of any age. 

I’m grateful for women and men who helped me become the human I am today. Today I don’t bear a grudge against my father. I do, however, see my experience as a window into unnumbered worlds of madness for too many women, children, teenagers, and men. The calling of politicians, church leaders, or pimps is NOT to force us into the mold of their making. 

When did it all begin?
When did I enter your supply chain?
When did I become a commodity, a disposable object
not for sale but for use on demand,
with or without pay?

When did I become your toy
to imagine as prey,
to stalk, hunt down,
toss around and torment
with or without warning?

When did I become candy for your eyes,
your imagination,
the desires of your heart?

When did it all begin?
Was it the moment I was born?
The moment you laid your eyes on me?
Then your rules, your hands, your cane,
your ruler, and wooden spoon paddle?

When did paddling become beating?
As though you could whip me into shape.

What did you see in me?
A human being created in God’s image?
Or just another rebellious, angry, willful little girl—
A challenge to your male authority.
A game, an object to be studied, touched, scolded,
played with, experimented with,
held close/held at bay, shamed, humiliated,
denied voice, dignity, will and privacy.

What were you thinking?

When did I become a projection of your stern will
and your lonely, terrified heart?
Not even a ghost of myself
No matter what I wore or didn’t wear
What I said or didn’t say
How I said it or didn’t say it
What I did or didn’t do

When did I become your enemy to be hunted down and subdued,
locked in the bar-less cage of your aching, demanding,
never-satisfied self?

Tell me if you can, if you dare—
When did it all begin?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 June 2014, reposted 5 July 2022
Image found at thewei.com

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 »

Dating at Bible College

I’m still scratching my head. Not because I don’t remember, but because the list is so, well….What do you think? Take a look. I’ll tell you everything I remember. Beginning with my first date with David in 1961.

We’re on choir tour. Read the rest of this entry »

Summoned to the Dean’s Office | Part 1 of 2

Nothing struck fear in women students like getting summoned to appear before the Women’s Dean or her assistant. As noted in yesterday’s post, ‘with only a few exceptions’ I got through Bible college without getting into trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

My First Boss | Part 2 of 2

There’s more than meets the eye in my new work setting.  Though I’m a newcomer, the Boss already has a Miss Renich game he’s determined to play.  I’m an unwilling target and participant.

What’s the name of his game?
Any of the following will do: Read the rest of this entry »

My First Boss | Part 1 of 2

It’s late May 1960.  I’m 16 years old and about to meet the 3rd most formative man in my early life.  My father is #1.   The Shopkeeper is #2.  This man will become #3.

I’ve just graduated from high school and am looking for a job. Read the rest of this entry »

Daydreams | Part 2 of 2

Part 1 focused on my infatuation with a gifted young man.  I can’t say I actually met him at the mission conference.  He probably never knew my name.  Yet I daydreamed about a possible future with him, Read the rest of this entry »

Daydreams | Part 1 of 2

I don’t do dreams; I do daydreams. Especially about young men.

It’s summer 1957.  I’m 13 ½ years old, going into 10th grade.  I’m back in the achingly beautiful and romantic mountains of North Carolina. Read the rest of this entry »

Female Bodies and Sex Ed | Part 3 of 3

It’s 1960.  I’m 16 years old and I just graduated from high school.  I thought you’d like to see how I filled in the gaps between Daddy’s Sex Ed 101 and my graduation.

My Sex Ed 102 Learning Resources with Annotations by Me
*My parents’ everyday relationship with each other.  Mother seems to have no voice and no vote. Read the rest of this entry »

Female Bodies and Sex Ed | Part 1 of 3

Am I ready?  Never.  But I want to begin somewhere.  So here goes.

Jesus, Mary and all other daughters of Eve
Female bodies were not celebrated in my family.  Too bad.  When I was a child and young teenager my female body was regularly ignored, observed, commented upon, shamed, ridiculed, Read the rest of this entry »

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