Tag Archive | single mother

Holiday Blues

I am about to go to the United States with Contiki on Wednesday on what will be one of the biggest – and longest – adventures I’ve ever done.  That is my summer vacation (see, I’m already mastering the lingo!), but one holiday planned and approaching only makes me begin to think about my next one, which of course, for a British girl is Christmas 2015.

Christmas is a strange holiday, one about which I have mixed feelings.  When I was a younger girl I adored it.  Not because of the gifts or the great meal or because it was a time when family made the effort not to bicker and bite, but because it was a time when I was part of something…something great, memorable and important.  Ever since my paternal grandparents passed (my grandfather died quite some time ago, a nonagenarian and my nana died years after him in her 100s), Christmas has never been the same.  For a few years after, we still went up – as was tradition – to Whitnash in Warwickshire and had Christmas with my father’s sister and her family, but that did not last.  After that, the adults of the family (I was still at school and about 13 years old, I reckon) decided that presents would no longer be shared among everyone but that instead my father would give to his niece and nephew and my aunt and uncle would give to me.  Though, seeing as my cousins are closed in age to my mother and father than I am to anyone else, I was still the baby of the family and it still feels, as we haven’t had a ‘proper’ Christmas since that Christmas was another thing I loved that got taken away from me undeservingly and unwillingly.  I don’t get the wrapped gifts anymore, I don’t get to sit round a decorated tree and listen to the Queen’s speech (though admittedly that might be the thing I miss least!), I don’t feel the spirit of Christmas anymore.

My dad always says that Christmas is for children, so maybe as an adult I shouldn’t care or I should feel that it was only natural that Christmas should be cancelled as there’s no one younger in the family that celebrated Christmas together than me and I’m all growed up.  I disagree with my father.  Christmas isn’t for children.  It’s for family.  It’s for togetherness.  It is for home.  Just because members of the family who died naturally first are gone does not mean the world shuts down and what makes the living happy dies along with them.  If it did, wouldn’t the world be a depressing place?

I may sound callous, but I am one of the most unfeeling people, so I’ve been told, concerning death and sympathy for bereaved.  My motto is that people die and that’s the natural order of things.  I’ve felt grief but I have not the constitution or the mindset to let it claim me or take things away from me.  The most I have ever felt and constantly feel to this day concerning grief and the death of someone loved is that my godbrother died when he was only just out of school close to Christmas and I never met him but if he had not died I doubt my godparents would be my godparents.  So, the only thing I ever think is that if I could I would swap with him.  I never met him but the amount I love my godparents and their son and his family, I would do anything to spare them from losing such a valued member of their family, whereas if I could, I would gladly sell my wretched soul to the devil if he sent Tim back to his family.  You can tell from all the photos and painting of him that there was brightness and happiness in his soul, and he was taken before his time, whereas my soul is black as pitch and I’m still here to miss Christmas and lose my sanity bit by bit.  Why should I be here suffering when I so wish sometimes that I could be put out of my misery and many people could benefit from someone much better and much more loved than me taking my place on an earth that to him, I’m sure, would have been full of glee and unknown contentment?  And Christmases with his family…

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked!  The point was that I feel things so differently from others because somewhere along my brain broke, that my feelings about the dead are so warped and confused that I hold the unknown dead so dear in my heart but cannot wrap my head around how the death of my grandparents resulted in the death of Christmas.

At Christmas time, the world is bombarded through social media with photos of happy celebrations and times spent with the family.  There are, naturally, instances where Christmas is a time of sadness and grief and loneliness as it has become for me, but usually pictorial evidence of that state of mind during the Yuletide rarely makes it onto the likes of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Actually, though the idea of suicides being more common in the Christmas holidays is shown to be a myth (see the links to the CDC report), as it has been found that the summer months actually see higher rates of suicide and suicide attempts than the winter.  However, for Christmas to be no more a time when I wonder why the hell I’m on this planet, traditional Christmases like I remember when I was in my formative years would have to resume.  I tried to make a go of it and force it myself, for who can you blame if you don’t make an effort yourself, yet I having Christmas in a student property in Exeter was almost twice as depressing because I actually plucked up the courage to invest my heart in it.  That was the last time I even contemplated trying to resuscitate the Ghost of Christmas Past and accept that what my Ghost of Christmas Future was showing me was a lifetime’s supply of Christmases travelling and forgetting that December 25th has any significance whatsoever.

Last year, I went to Morocco for the Christmas holidays on an Explore tour and as an Islamic country I saw maybe two Christmas trees maximum.  There was no atmosphere of the holiday at all and weirdly I loved it.  On Christmas Day itself, we arrived in Rabat and the Holiday Blues were starting to get to me a bit so I left the group for a day and explored the city on my own in my “Frozen” t-shirt with Olaf on the front saying “I like warm hugs”.  That was the only Christmassy element of that trip but I thought about what other families back home were doing and enjoying together and it made me realise I will never stop looking for that.  One day, I won’t have to save up to go travelling the Silk Road or Jordan or Ethiopia.  One day, the only thing I’ll have to save up for is turkey with the fixings for a family of my own.  That is a day I’ll love, but it still gets me down that I’m about as close to getting that day as I am to getting to hold my son in my arms.

Just for information’s sake, here are some useful links to articles and reports concerning Christmas holiday suicide and suicide epidemiology in general:

http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/suicide/holiday.html

http://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/branches/branch-96/files/Suicide_statistics_report_2015.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2040383/

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index.html?nscl=Suicide+Rates

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

24-07-2015

Contemplating Single Motherhood

As listing makes me feel better and calms me down exponentially, but I keep running out of novel things to list because I have to do it so much, I tried to find something valid and interesting to make a list of and stumbled onto the topic of single mothers.  Now, I have said before that I have no doubt that I will be a single mother by choice because I need children but cannot bear to envision a life with another adult.  However, it got me to thinking, seeing as this blog is about the media and how it can help and hinder a medium mind like mine, about how many single mothers appear and have extremely positive roles in television.  Now, you may observe that there are some controversial additions to this list of positively characterised single mothers, for example, Ellis Grey and Lettie Mae Thornton, but to me even they are good examples of mothers.  This is simply because they did their best.  They may have succumbed to obsessive working and alcoholism respectively, and throughout the TV series that feature their characters their daughters hate their mothers, but even characters whom the audience is supposed to view as villains are redeemed by the realisation of their children (though sometimes it comes all the way in season 11) that their mothers worked with what they had and did their best in the given circumstances.  There are times when I empathise heavily with Meredith or Tara Mae, both scarred and having died and attempted suicide by life, but knowing my luck my life will pan out quite like a TV show and it won’t be until the last season that my mother and I call a ceasefire.  Either that, or one of us will end up killing the other…

IMG_1687

Anyway, this post was meant to be cheerier than the last one and here I am talking about homicidal tendencies!  So, I present to you the – by no means exhaustive – list of single mothers that I consider to be good examples of both the triumphs and mistakes of single motherhood on television.

The Single Mothers of TV

  • Martha Rodgers (Castle)
  • Shelby Corcoran (Glee)
  • Jackie Tyler (Doctor Who)
  • Ellis Grey (Grey’s Anatomy)
  • Shirley Bennett (Community)
  • Vala Mal Doran (Stargate SG-1)
  • Patty Halliwell (Charmed)
  • Liz Forbes (Vampire Diaries)
  • Lettie Mae Thornton (True Blood)
  • Catherine Bordey (Death in Paradise)
  • Carrie Mathison (Homeland)
  • Rachel Green (Friends)
  • Edith Crawley (Downton Abbey)
  • Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time)
  • Eleanor Waldorf (Gossip Girl)
  • Norma Bates (Bates Motel)
  • Joyce Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Darla (Angel)
  • Claire Littleton (LOST)
  • Karen Roe (One Tree Hill)
  • Vy Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

04-03-2015

The Madness, Misery & Mourning of Motherhood

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/charlotte-bevan-mum-found-dead-4758275

charlotte-bevan-mi_3126028c


In the light of this article and having written a lot about how I have to be a mother, not to mention a single mother with mental health issues, I would just like to put this out there as a memoriam to this poor young lady and her child.  All it would have taken was one human to remember that they were one to save her life.  To me, Charlotte Bevan’s tragic death is more of a national crisis than all of the poor souls in the world wars (and I’m not diminishing their sacrifice) put together, as the deaths from 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 had an entire nation to mourn them and remember their sacrifice for democracy, their country and their families, but Ms Bevan’s death will most likely fall into oblivion or recalled in part and pithily as a story that people who suffer from mental health issues recall when they have children.

She deserves better than that.  Her daughter deserves better than that.  Her family and friends deserve better than that.

I won’t forget and this I will remember.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

08-12-2014

Father Dracula

In the year of our lord 1442, the Turkish Sultan enslaved one thousand Transylvanian boys to fill the ranks of his army. These child slaves were beaten without mercy, trained to kill without conscience, to crave blood of all who defied them – the Turks. From among these boys, one grew into a warrior so fierce that entire armies would retreat in terror at the mention of his name, Vlad the Impaler, Son of the Dragon.  Sickened by his monstrous acts, Vlad came to bury his past with the dead and return to Transylvania to rule in peace. His subjects called him prince, I called him father, but the world would come to know him as Dracula.

The legend of Vlad Țepeș has been many things throughout the years: a horror story, a legend of atonement and sin, a vampire chronicle, a story of romance and loss.  However one aspect of the fact-based narrative that has rarely – if ever – been explored is the role of Vlad Dracula as a father.  As I sat today watching the new Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures release, Dracula Untold, I found myself utterly enchanted until the epilogue section which will henceforth be unmentioned, with the movie that saw Luke Evans play Vlad Dracula the Father.

Vladimir Dracula (Evans) with his son, Ingeras (Parkinson)

Vladimir Dracula (Evans) with his son, Ingeras (Parkinson)

I sat down to this film with my best friend as one of our traditional Matt-Pippa movie excursions and so I was by no means depressed or morose when the film commenced.  A happier and less depressed person would have grasped onto the historical or west vs. east themes of the film, which I did eventually, but for me, it was the sheer raw emotion displayed that caused my poor old ticker to palpitate in my breast.  With the initial voiceover by the Impaler’s son (see block quote), it felt crystal clear to me as a slightly deranged and basket case of a viewer that fatherhood and the father-son relationship was the crux (no pun intended!) and the heart of the movie.  It is – in short – what sets it apart and bears it aloft from the commonplace and slightly boring modern vampire films that have reformed the image we have in the 21st century of the vampire.

As a daughter of a delightful father, whom I adore to the ends of the earth, I am incredibly drawn to the father figure as painted onscreen, but as the daughter of a father who often did not raise arms and try to move heaven and earth to protect me, I was taken in heart and soul by the powerful and sacrificial father image that Dracula Untold created.  I have no desire to detract from your enjoyment of the film and all its wondrous surprises and positives by illuminating its plot too much so I’ll endeavour as best I can not to divulge too much as I write now.  That having been promised, the story about the drive of the royal prince who has to fight the Turkish threat and offer up his soul, his kingdom, his subjects and his reputation in order to safeguard his child is too enchanting for someone in my position not to elucidate.

Vlad the former Impaler who occupies the screen for the first section of the film reminds me of my father: at home in Castle Dracula during a ten year peace and happy with his queen and son having suffered extensively during his own formative years.  It is the Vlad who refuses the Turks what they demand as the cost of peace that made me smile and almost weep in my seat.  He defies the greater threat, a threat that has the potential to wipe out everything and everyone he holds dear, when the price of peace grows too dear.  It is his love for his family, his respect for his wife and his unconditional love for his son that drives him from this point forward despite his underlying yearning for peace.  The ultimate draw of the character is that his paternal and visceral need to protect his offspring outweighed and conquered his preference for peace in his land.  I can only say that I would be very different now if in the 21st century and without the magic and the devil and a pressing Turkish invasion, my father had valued my sanity, my unscarred body and what my future might be above serenity in Theydon Bois.

So, you see during this film instead of feeling for and finding myself in the shoes of the mother, unusually and refreshingly for me, I felt more kinship with young Ingeras.  This certainly put things in a different perspective than usual and instead of feeling the force of a natural maternal love, as I did in Brave, The Borgias and Angel (to name but a few!) I found myself in a role of vulnerability and the unconditional love of a child and feeling as a child does as my mind flew into the media and put down roots there.  That is not to say that the feelings of Mirena never took rest in my mind – they did – but it was ever linked to the child and a child’s link with his father.

The questions that floated around my mind during the film were: what will my children do without a father to protect them?  How can I possibly hope or think it’s possible for me to protect them by myself?  Will I be enough?  Is it selfish and heartless and unbelievably evil of me to knowingly bring a child – or children – into this world to face it without the love and pride and protection of a father?  Understand that if during a movie that is essentially about a vampire prince in Wallachia, I can be ruminating those questions, precisely how unstable and mental I am and why I need this blog to get some of the crazy out of my brain.  What is especially troubling still is that a piece of media can still get into my head and lay all its babies there and turn me into a blithering, blubbering, bawling shell of a person just because a vampire is a daddy!

So you see how the maternal-paternal-filial feelings have all come together in the aftermath of me watching this film to a head.  My children – I know and promise to every higher power and the cosmos – will have all the love I can give and will never have cause to doubt their mother’s love, but what plagues me now is that although I will give them the best godfathers, uncles and grandfather I can, I want them to know that if anything should happen to me, then a father on this earth will fight to its ends for them.  I say that knowing and being certain that I cannot ask nor expect their godfathers to do that for my children.  That frightens me more than anything; that something will take me away from my children and they’ll end up living the same life I do, not knowing if anyone really loves me or if the world is really against me or I just have that kind of luck.  Then, what I have sworn never to do and have often said to my mother, that I would die before I created another me, I will have failed dismally and utterly and it’ll be infinitely worse than failing myself or my parents or my friends because I’ll have created through my own means and by my own will, tortured children who will never be whole, all because I wanted a family of my own and then failed to protect them and ensure their secure future.  That is what Dracula Untold revolves around: the legacy of leaving a safe life for your children no matter the cost or what stands in your way.

That’s why, I guess, I invest so much heart and mind in these sci-fi & fantasy shows, books, and films that have these awesome father figures that possess magical powers or vast armies or some superhuman (or all of the above!).  Angel is the vampire with a soul father to Connor, John Crichton is father to baby D’Argo with the knowledge a whole galaxy wants in his brain, Noah Bennet adopts Claire and exercises his influence to protect her and that’s just fathers in Angel, Farscape and Heroes for you to consider.  Vladimir Dracula as played by Evans, like Angel, other than being a vampire, alternates between being good and bad, light and darkness and right and wrong, illustrated ever so clearly in his final showdown with Mehmed II (played – vexingly, I might add – by Dominic Cooper) where the adage, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” (Harry’s Game, G. Seymour, 1975) has never been so apt.  This is not least due in part to the fact that they symbolise a clash between east and west and Christianity and Islam, which I found a bit on the head due to the threat from ISIS currently experienced by the world, but nevertheless, it presented me with an interesting conundrum.  Although Vlad is undeniably set up as the protagonist and Mehmed as the “cardboard” (Matt’s word) villain, in the final fight where perhaps conventionally. we would usually side with the man who didn’t sell his soul and his eternity to the devil, oddly, we find ourselves rooting for Vlad as he fights for his son’s future and to keep the promise he made to his wife.  Much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer is ironic as it is now the pretty (meh) blonde girl chasing the monsters with a knife, the inversion of a supernatural heroic villain fighting a foreign threat who is – in this film, if not in history – represented as a bit of an arsehole for his family made me ask the question: can – and should – a father simply be good?  Mine certainly was and is, but I don’t know if I would have the mental and physical and psychosomatic problems I do now if my father had had a bit of evil or darkness in him enough to wage a bit of a war for me against the arseholes (myself included!) that turned my life into the circus it is today.  I know that Mirena is portrayed in the gothic setting of Dracula Untold as the stereotypical mother and damsel in distress and therefore, she is not characterised or shown, at least, to have any flaws or darkness within her – it’s all in her husband!  So, the question of whether a mother can be innately good and sin-free never really entered my mind during the feature film, for Mirena does appear to be the perfect, almost fairytale if in an Angela Carter setting, mother.  Vlad, however, in order to be a good father to his son (and, indirectly a good husband to his wife) is required to turn a bit evil, if initially temporarily and with the potential for redemption, so I just wonder if when a mother has a pristine soul, a father has to be bad, or if a father just has to have that hint of darkness in order to be the strong, virile protector he has to be.  Needless to say, it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a while and I doubt I’ll ever reach a cast iron decision on my opinion on the matter, but I will say this: the darkness within my mother has never in my life been a darkness used to protect me and the light within my father has not protected me from her darkness either so as a future single parent, I aim to be a light shade of grey and thus tone down the darkness from how strong its pigment is at the moment.  That is all I can do for my children: not be my mother and not be my father, but have the darkness of my mother and use it the way a father like Dracula did in the film for their good and to have my father’s light and accept it as the good in my soul the way the mother in Mirena does to counteract the strong and masculine darkness in Vlad.

I hope this article hasn’t bored you to death as I skirted around the plot of Dracula Untold and that I haven’t dissuaded any of you from seeing it, if you haven’t already!  I will conclude by saying that we all have monsters residing within us but it is whether we allow them to have the active or passive role in our lives that defines us as people and as children and as parents.  The right kind of darkness can be a force of light and the wrong kind of light can be detrimental.  Don’t judge someone’s darkness because it is not an obvious asset to them – it may be the only thing keeping them alive because that’s certainly what the darkness in my soul is to me.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P.Mistry-Norman

15-10-2014

Pleading with God

I haven’t written a post in a while but that’s a good thing, I guess.  I have been feeling a bit better. Sure I’ve had a few blips but what’s important is that with the help of my doctor, my personal tutor and my father I have managed to surmount them.  Today’s post is on the topic of feeling better and occurred to me based on something my personal tutor at university said to me the other day.

I am a firm believer in karma and the notion that whenever something positive occurs, something negative will inevitably occur to maintain balance.  I realise a lot of people manage to live their lives and have streaks of good fortune or never really feel the pangs of constant or hard pain, but as you might have gleaned from my tale and writings so far, that person is not me.  I experience an almost uninterrupted life of pain.  Moments of joy and happiness and relief are few and far between where my sorry excuse for an existence is concerned.  Thus, I am convinced that God intends some people to live unencumbered by sorrow and hardship and others to experience difficulties in life so that the joys and glee are all the sweeter.

I could have left religion and faith in the divine out of it but my faith is such an integral part of my life that I find it very hard to experience anything without believing there is a person or a reason behind it.  I don’t believe it is a hateful God that inflicts wounds or causes hurt in those who follow and pray to him, but I do – I have to – believe that all the suffering and sadness and sorrow I have felt, overcome or still experience is part of some plan that will help me in later life or give me something I would not have without it.  I don’t know if it will make me a better mother or if it means I’ll live beyond my twenty-fifth birthday but I have to believe that or else I won’t even live past my twenty-first (and that’s on the 16th!). 

Returning to my thoughts on mirror actions and consequences, it renders me ever the pessimist and always the frightened.  For, if I am in a negative streak, I am frightened of the next happy moment for fear that it will cause me to hope again and if I let myself revel in it and get used to it for however long it endures then my fall from that cloud will be even further and I will hit the ground even harder and I may not recover from that descent.  On the other hand, if I am in a happy moment, as they are the minority and only stick around for a moment at the most, I have to look over my shoulder for the next threatening downside or bad fortune that is waiting for me round the next bend.  It is an unending cycle and I cannot help but feel a slave to it and there will be those of you who say that it happens because I am expecting it, but – though it seems a case of the chicken and the egg – I expect it because it always happens without fail.

Since my birthday celebrations are on my horizon and I’m pouring all my hopes and dreams into them once more, something I promised myself I would not do ever since my 19th birthday turned into a debacle, I have to put my fears that history will repeat itself out there.  Some say that if you want to ruin your plans tell God about them, but I have an opposing view: if you have hopes and dreams tell God about them.  I am putting my aspirations into words and shoving them out there into the ether so that there’s more of a chance that they’ll make it to Monday still intact and unbroken.  I need that.  I have to have that and at this point I deserve that.

What made me think about all this and dredge it all up in the first place was my personal tutor simply stating that I seem a lot better than I did last year.  It made me feel defensive and as though merely saying that I am better is a bad move because it will inevitably inform the universe that I have been better so it’s time to screw me over some more.  That is why I need to say to God, the universe and everything and everyone in existence that I need this weekend to go to plan and just to be a happy moment for me and I will pay in blood, flesh and tears for any punishment(s) that I have to endure to balance out the happiness I anticipate coming at me on Saturday and Sunday…if I can just have those days, I’ll be grateful, I promise.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

13-03-2014

Valentine’s Day Virgins

Firstly, I just want to wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day, whether you have someone to share it with or not, have a happy day.  Though you might be spending the day and the night alone, as I am and always have and always will, just remember that it is only 24 hours out of a whole year.  Secondly, the point of this post is to share the T-rated version of my virginity story and tell you how it’s affected me in the long term and just to caution people who might read this blog on the day before – I suspect – a lot of girls nationwide and planetwide will wake up with their virginity remembered only as a thing of the past.

Some therapists – ineffective therapists… –  I have seen over the past couple of years of my life have put my social anxiety and my depression down to the night I lost my virginity, but they were barking up the wrong tree entirely.  It all started a long time before that.  That night was just the start of the delusions and panic attacks whenever I even contemplate being intimate with another human being again.  I have wondered occasionally after I have had a series of panic attacks if I have some remnant symptoms of PTSD, but that’s unlikely and my life is hard enough without listing PTSD as part of my cocktail of mental disorders.  There was a time, however, when I couldn’t even watch even the most basic and non-explicit of sex scenes without shaking…

It has to be said right now and with complete sincerity and with no blame held that my boyfriend at the time was not and is not to blame for anything that happened on that night.  If anything, he was the victim and I was the culprit.  It was – after all – my body that once again could not do what it naturally should have had the capacity to do.  He was just as – if not more so – scared and saddened by the unfortunate turn of events of that night as me.  It did spell the end of our relationship for two reasons: I could never contemplate being so vulnerable and hurt during intimacy again and what is a teenage relationship that is sexless?  Doomed, that’s what!

I was only in my one and only relationship for a matter of months but this relationship spanned the rites of passage such as leaving school, passing my A-levels, going on my first holiday abroad with my friends.  In short, it was supposed to be the time in which I truly became an adult, but just as my luck would have it, it was the time in which I reverted most and lost most of the independence I pride myself on.  Stupidly, I had convinced myself that it was my happiest time, but in retrospect, that was childish and the trappings of being in a relationship. Though I was under the misguided delusion that I was truly happy for the first time in my life, I was not.  I have something to confess here and now that no one knows about and perhaps will make people truly think I am a foul person, but nevertheless, it needs to be said.  I went into the relationship with only one goal, one stupid, selfish, sinful, despicable goal in mind: to lose my virginity before I went to university.  What did not occur to me at the time of planning was that not only was I divesting myself of my virginity in an abhorrent manner, but that – unbeknownst to me – I was taking my boyfriend’s virginity in awful circumstances and with terrible motivations and I did not foresee the consequences of my actions: in short, I deserve all that happened to me on that night but I regret so terribly what I inflicted on a man who was my friend and at one point my best friend and someone I respected.

When you lose what little you treasure and respect of yourself, of course, bad things will befall you and it is your lot to take them and accept them as your dues.  I have done that.  I know that I deserve all the bad things that happen to me in life.  Though I have never possessed much self-respect, I lost the minute amount that I ever had in the moment that I decided to act on my plan and I lost everything else including my innocence the moment I knew that plan was going to succeed on that night.

Discussion and reflection aside, I am now going to tell you what actually happened in České Budějovice.  At least, my story has a somewhat exotic location…  I was in the Czech Republic on holiday with my friends and my boyfriend after Year 13 was over and before we all had to receive our A-level results.  It was about midway through the vacation and we both decided to do it having done just about everything else.  Everyone knows that your first time is not as romantic and effortless as some films and TV shows make it out to be, but it’s also not supposed to be the polar opposite!  Carrie comes to mind…

It was a bloody mess.  That is the frank and succinct way to describe the night.  It was going quite well, but in the end, I had to bring everything to a halt because it all hurt too much.  Naturally, I knew I should expect some discomfort, even severe pain, but nothing and nobody prepared me for the agony that it was.  I do blame girls and women of my acquaintance and even society in general for that slightly because there are so few people with whom you can discuss the issue of virginity and what happens when you are going to lose it.  You cannot talk to your mother (and certainly not my mother!) about it, it’s hard to talk about it with other members of your family and if your only female best friend had an easy ‘transition’, you’ve got very little to go on…

Once the motions had stopped, I went away and locked myself in the bathroom and was sick for about 10 minutes straight.  There was also so much blood.  It took me more than half an hour to clean myself up and feel steady enough to leave, in which time he did knock on the door and ask if I was still alive.  When I went back out, red-eyed and already dying inside, it was clear that I was not the only one who had been weeping.  He thought he had killed me there was so much blood and after a confused and awkward couple of minutes, all we did was cuddle for the rest of the night, though I’m pretty sure neither of us got a restful night’s sleep that night.

That is all the detail I am going to go into – it’s enough, don’t you think?  But, the problem with the topic of virginity is that so few people speak about it openly and honestly and if people did that more, I might not hate the thought of relationships for myself and I wouldn’t be looking at a future of single motherhood and be constantly trying to repress my sexuality and become asexual.  It was in the weeks before that I could have benefited from a wider circle of female friends and better relationships with the female members of my family.  To give you a better picture of what I was like in the aftermath, I direct you to the BBC miniseries The Crimson Petal and the White based on the Michel Faber novel of the same name.  The character of Mrs Rackham, played by the talented Amanda Hale, is a mentally ill woman who keeps to her bed after it is implied that her introduction into the conjugal bed was less than gentle and the delivery of her only child was traumatic enough to render her childlike and fragile, was basically how I felt for so long and in some ways, the sexual and adult side of me still feels like Mrs Rackham.  I do encourage you to give the miniseries a chance and watch it if you haven’t already done so as a beautifully produced piece of costume drama that was my life for a month or so and really helped to get me back to the land of the sane and living as far as I ever would return to it.  I still can’t listen to The Four Seasons’ song “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” without cringing, which is a shame because it’s a really catchy song but its subject is approached from such a male perspective and with that ilk of male flippancy.

I still cannot watch love scenes without recollecting what happened to me and what I did. I know I’ve said too much but it’s something that I should have told a lot of people much sooner. The only people I have told are my closest circle of friends and a girl, who just wanted to lose her virginity in a nightclub in an against-the-wall arrangement with a stranger, and I wanted to stop her from making the same mistake I did of treating my virginity callously and underestimating its power over me and my life.  I would not wish my existence on my worst enemy and though I have acted selfishly in the past, I do everything in my power now to help people and stop them from making the same mistakes I have made.

Trust me, I know how self-aggrandising that sounds but I do care, probably too much, about others to watch and let them suffer as I have and do.  Since I enjoy myself and take pleasure from life vicariously primarily by watching others both in reality and onscreen and by letting characters live in my head and revel in life through the vessel that is my body and mind, I have to care so deeply about what other people do and think and feel.  I just wish others did the same enough to speak more openly so that other people might learn from their mistakes and avoid such unnecessary and excruciating pain and suffering.

I apologise if this post has offended you or made you wary of what you do tonight but I hope it helps just one person somewhere and if it does, it’s worth it.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

14-02-2014

Unhappy Marriages Make Unhappy Children

Weddings and getting married are things that I have been thinking about recently, and when I say recently, what I really mean is since about 4am as I’ve been up all night.  People who have managed to get me to speak honestly about the subject of marriage and its role and importance in my life will be well aware of what I believe it is and how I approach it, but I’m going to lay it out for them more clearly and all the rest of you lovely lot.

To begin with, I have to remind you that I told you a few posts ago that I do not see myself ever entering into another romantic, adult relationship ever again in my life.  This might prompt you to ask why marriage matters at all then, but let me assure you that it does, especially as I intend to have children later in life and I come (at least half of me does anyway!) from a traditional Indian family, so with children in mind, the concept of marriage will be present in my future.  In this post, not only do I wish to expound on my opinions on marriage as a real notion but I am also going to explore how I feel and what happens in my mind when I watch acted weddings and fictional weddings onscreen and in literature.

I have long since abandoned all belief that I am a romantic at heart, which I do think I used to be when I was a lot younger and still thought that Disney princesses could be real women and that happy endings were possible in life.  That part of me was decimated violently while I was in my first and only proper, somewhat steady relationship and I have no desire to return to that incarnation of myself who felt she had to jump through countless hoops and give away pieces of myself and sacrifice who I was and what I believed in and thought right to be in a relationship and not to be laughed at for a few months.  That will never happen to me again, I am resolved on that!  From that educational experience, I have learned my limits and I now know that if I ever got some poor bugger to tie the knot with me, I would destroy that person’s soul because in some ways, I am the most mature person I know, but I am also the first to admit that where relationships are concerned, I am one of the most immature people I know.

I have watched my parents’ marriage from just outside the heart of it and I know what an unhappy marriage is, an unhappy marriage is my old friend and longtime companion…  I know what it is to go to bed listening to my parents arguing and not knowing when they would stop, I know what it is to wake up and have the first thing I hear be a domestic and I know what it is to see the looks on other adults’ face when you happen to mention in polite conversation that your parents have slept apart since before you can remember.  Needless to say, my parents’ unhappy married life has affected me and while I can say that I know maybe a handful of married couple, it is not a majority, not in the least.

Something that has affected my life probably more is the fact that I believe my parents should have applied for divorce while I was still young.  It is likely that I will never forgive either my mother or my father for being too stubborn and too incapable of living without the other (only on a practical level!) to leave, as my father could not keep house without my mother and my mother would not ever be/remain solvent for long enough to live without The Bank of Dad.  My perception of their marriage is that neither are made better by it and both are made significantly worse.  Another result of the marriage is that it (sort of…more on this later) produced me and I am a mess, a problem and if the world was right and just, I would not be here to suck the life and destroy the souls of anyone who gets close to me.

Ironically, maybe it could be said that I am the personification of my parents’ marriage: I am silent, I am unhappy, I should never have been, I sleep alone and I cannot live without my father and I am a liar.  That has just occurred me, so forgive me if it’s a little overly English Literature A-levelesque!

I only found this out while I was applying for my first adult passport – if you can believe it – that I was born out of wedlock and that my parents were wed only after I was born.  Words cannot adequately describe how deceived and wrong it made me feel at a time in my life when I was constantly walking on the edge of the cliff of life and death.  Whilst I do not believe that people have to be married to have children, the relationship between the parents-to-be has to be firm and steady enough to bring a child into its folds and discovering that my parents most likely only married because I was born and so they would not have to lie to their families and me, turned me into a lie in turn. Finding out the way I did also changed my life into something out of a bad soap plot and when your life appears comical to you, there’s nothing more worthless in the world…

Having a child for me is going to be (I just know it is because it simply has to be) my breath of fresh air and my reason for living through all of this crap.  It is what I am due from the world and the universe and the cosmos and I am well aware that life is not fair and God acts in mysterious ways but it is that fragment of my dreams that I cling to in order to get through the nights of tears and the days of grief.  One of my greatest fears is that I will turn into my mother and most of my friends know that that usual compliment, “you look like your mother”, is like a punch to the abdomen for me and results in me asking firmly with tears in my eyes for its giver to take their words back.  If I subjected a child of mine to an unhappy marriage that turned them into me, I would never, ever forgive myself.  It would be a crime against motherhood and life and God to make another human being like me just through bad parenting and I am still convinced that my life experiences and knowledge will help me become a good mother.  I’ll have to be as I am going to be walking the path of parenthood alone.

The Ancient Greek word for soul-destroyer is ψυχολέτησ – something I found while I was looking for something to use in a new tattoo, but I thought better of it as both of my tattoos represent hope and what I am aiming for in life, not what I am going to try to leave behind me once I have my family.  As I have proffered the opinion that I am the personification of my parents’ marriage, maybe it is truly marriage that I see that has destroyed my parents’ and my souls.  I know (to paraphrase one of the most annoyingly coined phrases of the 21st century) institutions don’t destroy souls, people do, so I cannot truly find marriage ultimately culpable, but the human part of me rather than the logical and sensible part of me does.

Now, enough said about that I think, so on to how I see it in media…but first please, let me know what your opinions are on TV weddings in this little poll I’ve set up.

I cry during weddings on TV.  I cry a lot!  It really is obscene and one occasion where I really wept and wept and wept was the “Sherlock” season 3 wedding of John and Mary.  It wasn’t even the fact that this danger-loving war veteran managed to get his fiancee to say “I do”, it was the title character’s reaction because nine times out of ten, that is precisely my reaction.  I do apologise now if I give anything from the episode away, but it really did span the gap between reality and delusion for me on how I am during weddings on TV and in life.  It was eerie actually because I was feeling completely in sync with Sherlock Holmes and while I was in the emotions, I was watching him be in his (if that makes any sense?) and react on television.  Of course, I’m not a “high-functioning sociopath” but there were elements of Sherlock’s best man speech that made me think, “yeah, I’m like that too”.

Particularly the part where he insults everyone and says some truly awful things but then admits that he is the worst and most awful man alive but he adores John and would do anything for him through his marriage along with his wife.  That – to me – is what a marriage is: it’s doing anything for the one you love.  Sherlock is a great example as he would not really change anything about himself.  Along the way, he makes sacrifices for and compromises with John and Mary but he never concedes any part of his essence.  Marriage should make people better and then people can be better in pairs, not worse together.

And on that cheery and slightly pedagogic note, I’ll say goodbye for today.

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

07-02-2014