Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In Which I am Punished By God

I would just like you all to know that I do not have the stomach flu. It really drives me crazy when people call it that. It's a stomach virus. It has no relation to the flu, unfortunately for me because I had a flu shot, which I wish prevented this but doesn't. The flu is a respiratory illness. This is definitely not a respiratory illness. No wonder my stomach was feeling all rumbly and weird last night and making me remember my trip to Arizona. It was about to reenact the whole scene.

I began to wonder if perhaps I was being punished by God for ranting and raving and being judgmental. No, I thought. I was just around a bunch of sick people in a dirty public place. I can't be superstitious about that.

But when I got a text message at 1 am which stated simply "I AM PREGNANT" and was from one of my younger relatives, I knew absolutely that I was 100% being punished by God.

You can imagine my discomfort, gastrointestinal and psychological when I found myself both on the toilet and on the phone trying to be logical and rational and come up with a good solution for this girl.

I was terribly, terribly sad about this news. She's just one more in a long, tragic line of girls in my family who felt badly about themselves, who were raised with no skills other than mothering skills and who did not receive adequate love and attention from their fathers and felt they needed to seek that out in the form of sex with young men who really had no interest in fatherhood. This poor girl isn't even sure who the father is and neither option wants any part of it. Her only choice is abortion or raise it alone, but she doesn't have a lot of education and she seems idealistic about raising it on her own. She wants a baby. So what on earth do you tell someone?

I told her how sad it was growing up for me feeling abandoned and unwanted. I explained to her the desperate measures my mother went to for me and how they all backfired and landed her in jail making me suffer yet another loss. I tried to tell her how these children live lives so full of chaos and struggle that it makes them grow up angry, depressed and desperate so that they self-medicate with drugs, turn to violence and engage in all sorts of other self destructive behaviors. I attempted to paint a picture for her of how it feels to have a fractured identity where you feel as if bits and pieces of yourself are all broken up and scattered around never able to fuse. Then I tried to explain to her how it feels to know that one of the people who made you has gone off and created an entire replacement family in your absence who you don't even know so that there are brothers and sisters that you have never even had a conversation with. I told her about how the boyfriends of single mothers commonly reject the children from other fathers and how the rates of sexual, physical and mental abuse towards these children increase because of that. Almost every day on the local news I hear stories about babies and children beaten, brutalized and even murdered by their mothers' boyfriends and every time I cry. In my case, I got really lucky and I got a perfect new father, but most don't. After that I explained how when mothers bring home new boyfriends that their children get really attached to these people and experience the break-ups perhaps even more than the mothers do so that all these children feel is repeated rejection and deflated dreams for a family. I know all of this because I was one of these children. So was my sister. So was my brother. Yesterday my sister told me that she has literally blocked out memories of years of her life before she came to live with us. I'll bet my brother has too. Somehow I broke out of the pattern, as my sister is right now. My brother has a baby by a young girl he isn't married to, but he seems to be taking care of him and he seems to spend a lot of time with him, which is a good start at least. I'm not exactly sure how I broke the cycle and it took a really long time for me to do it, but I did. That's what I tried to share with her and what I'm trying to share with you. I don't want her child or any child to suffer through these things like I did and like my siblings did with their original parents.

I know that she wants a baby because she wants something to nurture and love and she thinks the baby will love her back when she feels that no one else does. Young girls are naive and romantic that way. She is a sweet girl and would make a good mother in many ways, but she has already proven herself to be a bad mother by irreverently creating life without a plan and without a willing and enthusiastic second parent.

I would like to encourage adoption. I wish more people were as enthusiastic about adoption as I am and I wish gay couples were allowed to adopt. I also wish that interracial adoption was more accepted and encouraged too. I wish I could be like Angelina and adopt 15 kids myself. Maybe one day. I don't think she's interested in adoption but I'll make her go see "Juno" and perhaps it will inspire her. I love that movie. It's the best movie I've seen in years. It's a movie where a lot of people screw up royally and then somehow manage to get it all together in the end.

I hope that this girl will get it all together in the end too and maybe one day so will I.

I am so sick and so sad for that child. I will try to let you know how it all works out, if it does at all. I can only just try to be a good role model.

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