Thank you for delivering last week’s letter to Jilette. Well, I’m Oliver Twist now. Can you deliver this too?
“Dear Jilette, I’m going to be lying to you to tell you it’s going to be easy and everything’s just going to be okay. That’s a big lie. It’s not going to be easy. I’m not going to feed you false palliatives. Having a child at such a young age and out of wedlock has consequences. You’re 19+. Things are never going to be the same again, even with your friends. I want you to come to terms with that. You were a young girl. Now you’re a young mother. The age of innocence is over. I do empathise with your situation. But sympathy is not what you need. Not going to do you much good. What you need is to become strong, adapt to the realities and get your life back on track.
You MUST complete your education, or you’re going to end up with two strikes against you. Being a young dropout single mother limits your career prospects, restrains your possibilities. You’ve got to complete your education. You can’t afford to be half educated. There’s no half certificate. Now, how you’ll make that possible depends on what you’re made of, how determined you are. I wouldn’t be writing you by the way if I didn’t think you weren’t made of sterner stuff. It’s going to take significant effort but it’s going to be worth it. That will become obvious soon enough. Don’t allow time lapse. It becomes less compelling and more difficult as the years go by.
Your Dad is quite disappointed I can see. Men don’t really know how to relate to these things. It’s difficult. Your Dad is coping with shame and disappointment. There are all sorts of emotions coursing through him: Anger, frustration, disappointment, pain, fear, love, outrage, infuriation, impotence, botheration… He’s asking himself where he went wrong. Raising up girls can be terrifying for men. It’s on account of incidences like this. There’s hardly a father who’s not prayerful at heart about his girl. Some back up prayers with Rottweilers. The more they love their daughter, the more fervent the heart prayer. That’s why disappointments are devastating.
One father threw out his daughter in anger. She slept at the bus-stop that first night. So powerful are these emotions. She never recovered. She’s not been home since. The offspring is a teenager now. I know it’s the tradition to quickly arrange a marriage in this kind of circumstance. Families resort to such solutions in a vain attempt to cover up a bulging stomach or confer legitimacy on the offspring. It’s almost like “regularisation” of the pregnancy or status. And sometimes it’s punitive: you impregnated her, well marry her! Sometimes it’s a transfer of anger: since you want to be a father then take on the responsibility of a wife! But these marriages are mechanistic sociological contrivances. Only compounds issues.
Coerced arrangements are foundations for grudge marriages. And marriage requires maturity. The ability to impregnate is no proof of manhood or maturity; it’s just proof of virility. It would have been a different thing if marriage was already on the table before the incidence. But trying to amend a mistake with yet another mistake is – in my opinion – not the way to go. To bind two young lives with legal fetters of iron around a totem of error is an error. You can’t cement over a child or pregnancy just to cover shame. The cracks will appear down the line.
Despite such cover attempts through hastened matrimony society still calculates and subtracts. They calculate date of delivery relative to date of marriage. They use arithmetics of gestation for gravid calculus. It’s the mathematics of hypocrisy at which every buttinsky is adept. “Didn’t she get married just last October?” It’s a rhetorical question. Comes stuffed with righteous pretentiousness. “Oh, may be the baby is premature!” comes the conspiratorial self reply, a smile dancing mischievously inside the cheeks. Of course she doesn’t believe the baby was born premature. She’s just being gracious with condemnation. And a few mean people will stylishly make the point to your face, and in front of others. I’m sure you’ve experienced that. I’m sorry but that’s one of the things you’ll have to endure. Life is not pretty.
Some people perversely relish misogynic pain. The German word is schandenfreude. The English word is epicaricacy. It’s from three Ancient Greek words: epi- upon, kharis- joy and kakos- evil. The word is also used for grieving at the fortune of others. That lesson awaits you down the line. I’m just saying marriage is not your priority right now. Your priority is putting your life and vision back on track.
As for your parents you have to come to terms with their disappointment, just as they need to come to terms with reality. Your mom being a mother will understand better than your dad. Go to her and apologise for disappointing her. You need the support of your family to accomplish this feat. You’ll need to approach your dad in private and with respect. Apologise for bringing him grief. Tell him you didn’t mean to. You need his moral strength to face the world. And when a father backs his daughter, O my! The consequences are not going to go away though. Society never forgives. You have to live with that.
And you can’t take it out on the child. He’s innocent – just a biological consequence of adolescent amorous ardour. You have to find your joy in your son, to love him. And God has ways of turning things around. Irrespective of man’s judgment, God turns things around. He specialised in redemption, remember? He parts hither thither the red sea of man’s condemnatory voyeurism – the scarlet sea of your objurgation and excoriation. Stretching out his rod of authority he creates a way through the pool of the watery turbulence of your tears. He congeals the sea floor, transporting you on the mule of faith. The naysayers will stand on either side in exclamatory wonderment at the courage of our wonderful heroine – the very you! Don’t be afraid. The waves will not crash upon you. They are held in abatement by the benevolence of the God of a 2nd chance. There is a land of promise on the other side of the lachrymal deluvian divide. Start walking in that direction. Walk in the direction of the promise of your life. Breed determination. The vision is only delayed by a kemspeckle intercalation of jettatura. Luscition cannot see your glorious future.* I am waxing prophetically lyrical this morning at the potential of your life, the testimonial that is to come. You’re still that young woman I believe in, that I’ll always believe in.
I remain your loving Uncle LA.
©Leke Alder 2013