Tuesday, July 03, 2018

AN EXERCISE IN IMAGINATION

Imagine that there is an 18-year-old girl who gets with an 18-year-old guy, and he gets her pregnant. Imagine that the boy's mother wants them to abort the foetus, but the girl can't do so because this was three decades ago and technology hadn't yet caught up to make it available at the term of pregnancy. Imagine that they are each from a conservative religious family, who care about what people say, so they get married to have the child. Imagine that when the child was born, she doesn't remember much from her toddler years, except shuttling back and forth between where her maternal grandparents lived, and where her paternal grandparents lived. She puts it aside. Imagine that when she was seven, and her baby sister was a year old, the original 18-year-old boy and girl, who are by now twenty-five, have a bitter and unhappy marriage, not least because the guy has cheated on the girl one too many times, and this time, he has a son. Imagine that the 25-year-old man now is asked by his son's mother, to marry her, which he doesn't, but this causes enough strife in his marriage, that they get divorced. Imagine that their daughter goes to school, completely unfocused and distracted from studying, because her family is dysfunctional and there are always money issues, and fights between her parents, even though they are already apart. She puts it aside. Imagine that, for between two to three years, in her transition from teenagehood to early adulthood, her mother is diagnosed with stage three cancer, which is not an individual struggle, and that her family, which now has two toddler daughters, now has to fight alongside their mum. Imagine, one day, at twenty-five, she meets a man she really likes, whom she confides in about her family, and how she feels about people cheating, and oh, how she feels an intellectual connection with him. Imagine she finds out that he is engaged to be married, and he was using her, without her even knowing about it. She puts it aside. Imagine when, barely a month later, the twenty-six-year-old daughter finds out her father is still cheating, something that has spanned at least two decades, from the time she was six, to the time she is twenty-six, and her youngest half-sister, her father's youngest child, was barely a month old. Imagine that the boyfriend of the lady who had been receiving sexual advances tells the twenty-six-year-old to mind her father's behaviour. She puts it aside, because that is all she can do and all she has been doing. Imagine that the 26-year-old girl finally decides to take a break, and she goes to LA, because she'd been there once with her best friend, and she really liked it. Imagine she falls in love with a man who was not right for her, something that was quite obvious to everyone else who met her on that trip, both that she had fallen in love with him, and that he was not right for her. Imagine that he got her pregnant, and then she had a miscarriage, and she feels about a million different things, intensely, because she has always been an intense person. Imagine he doesn't want the child, because it was not in his plan, and imagine that the man had the option of being nice to her, yet he clean ignores her except when it suits him and when he is feeling frisky. She puts it aside. Imagine that her mother, who was the person originally pregnant out of wedlock, tells her to be ashamed and apologise for having premarital sex, and imagine that her mother tells her it is a good thing that she miscarried, even though she started being really depressed only after her miscarriage. Imagine that, instead of feeling like she deserves to receive therapy for all the issues she's faced her entire life, all she feels is guilty and that she should pay her mother for existing, and for being a burden. Imagine that, as isolated incidents in a person's life, all these different things might be within a person's ability to handle, but imagine you were me. How much are you able to put aside?

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