What if there were this girl….
What if her earliest memories were saccharine, with Mama and Daddy, both relaxed, attentive, and affectionate. Other than her Daddy doing things such as putting a walkie talkie under her bed, and pretending to be the ‘boogie man’, when she was three, her life was idyllic.
Cutting to several years later, the girl’s mother was pregnant with her little brother. She had been told another pregnancy would be hard on her, so Daddy objected to risking another kid, but brother happened nonetheless. Daddy got ticked off, and just took extended business trips, leaving Mama and this girl, about 5, alone. Mama was really sick.. really really sick, and ended up crawling between the bathroom and bed. The little girl learned how to scramble eggs, and make t.v. dinners all by herself. When Mama had her little brother, she adored him, and she never stopped. I wonder, what if all that happened…
Yeah, what if her daddy kept going on business trips a lot, and even longer ones, but when he came back, he wasn’t as nice and fun every time. And when she asked him for some ‘knickers’, because they were so very popular, he explained, very gently, that they wouldn’t be ‘flattering’ on her, because her legs weren’t thin enough, and if she would lose weight, he would buy her all the knickers she could ever want. Maybe that was when the little girl realized, for the first time, there was nothing okay about the way she looked, and that her Daddy wasn’t happy about it? Furthermore, at 11, her dad might have had her wear a girdle to meet her Mom at the airport to show off the weight loss she’d had from the diet he had her on.
What would happen if mental and emotional abuse started somewhere during that time and, there were everything from shouting and railing that she ‘had no brains’, because she put a plastic label on a file folder backwards, to waking her up every single morning, and telling her she was unworthy of her mother’s love. What would it be like to try and do everything she could to make everyone happy, most A’s, and a couple of B’s, and still be treated like the object of loathing? What if she could look back, as an adult, and realize that she was never praised for any of her accomplishments, or told “I love you”, unless she said it first, and then it was awkward? What if she didn’t have the most wonderful mother known? Would it change anything if later, as a woman, the girl would find out her dad was seeing traits in her that he hated/feared in himself, namely, she was fat, and reacting? What if she found out that likewise, he was projecting out of guilt, re: things he was doing away from home? How would it affect the girl to be the black sheep of the family, to be viewed as a ‘problem child’, without, as a child, having ever committed any wrong doing?
What if the girl was also a musician, and played an instrument.. not so much by choice, for though she loved music, and instruments, the whole thing was a device by which she was supposed to gain social acceptance to make up for her being fat? And if perhaps this was explained to her? One must excel academically, and musically, and be excellent in all things, in order to make up for being fat, because otherwise, you won’t get anywhere in life. This again, from her Dad. What if she was ‘pretty good’, in a manner of speaking, at what she did, and it became her whole identity.
What if it was the only thing her father approved of, so he became a ruthless dictator over the experience, ruling with an iron thumb, and mandating practices…angrily. What if she used to have abdominal pains, and throw up because she was so stressed, and miserable, when she had to deal with him, surrounding performances…even and especially performances at church? What if thirty years later, people still know her as the <insert instrument here> – girl. What if no one knows her name, or anything about her, except that she played the thing she played? What if her family is still a tiny bit bitter towards her because she doesn’t play anymore, even though it’s now physically impossible to play?
What if she finally got sick of it all, and there was anger, and resistance on her part, and she briefly considered suicide in college? Oh and not to forget, then maybe a marriage to a literal con-artist.. what would life be like if he committed bank fraud in her name, after she found out that he had forged his entire personal history to seduce her? Would she be able to be on the bank account with her wonderful second husband, for years afterwards? Would she still get the occasional call from a debt collector, over a dozen years later?
What if the woman met the man of her dreams, and despite being sick, and in constant severe pain, is very grateful to be alive? What if she adores her mother, her hubby, her brother, couple of friends, and her pets? What if she’s contended with and understood, if not forgotten, her past? What if she’s made so many mistakes, it hurts in the middle of her chest to think about it, and it feels like her life is a practice in humiliation; but those two things have made her learn to accept the grace of God, and forgive herself, taking life on its own terms? What if she’s forgiven her father, and wants nothing more for him to be able to feel forgiven, forgive himself.. and live his life free?
What if.. after all of those years of drama, and standing by him through it, the girl, now a woman at age 40, is seeing him self-destruct, financially, and otherwise? What if she’s seeing him try so hard, but being so selfish in his approach to life, that it’s harming his family, and it’s breaking her heart?
What if she has just seen her father give a boy of 21, a card that reads ‘To My Loving Son’? This is a boy that he brings to his house constantly, lavishes attention upon (along with his little family), in a bizarro way that she cannot even comprehend or recognize. What if, a week later, the boy and his toddler son are living in the woman’s parents’ house, and as petty as she feels for it, she no longer feels comfortable in her own mama’s home?
What do you think she would be like?
What do you think she would do? What do you think she -should- do?
Would you be able to go over there Friday night, and honestly be okay with everything, or at least portray yourself as a very reasonable facsimile of the same, if you were in her place?