When She doesn’t Fit in Anywhere

It is as if one moment you’re a part of a group and the minute some change happens in life for you (for good of course), then you’re no longer worth talking to. Yes, she always felt left out in 8th grade and high school because she was smart and studious. She even remembered the time when she was sitting in English class and this boy sitting in front of her turned around and asked, “Hey! What are you getting for Christmas? A Dictionary?” It became a big joke. As she grew older she realized that OK…maybe this was a teenage thing and that she wasn’t the only one to face something like this. All kids face something that they’re not comfortable with. As she grew older, she realized all these things don’t matter as long as you have strong support system that you call “family”.

Ok…so Karina had a family she’d reach out to for everything…career advice, marriage, kids, and anything else you can possibly think of. The only family was her aunt because her mom died and her dad didn’t care when she was born (he wanted her aborted because he didn’t “feel” ready to be a father too soon) and left as a result too. So when Karina’s mom died, her aunt decides to be a mom figure to her and she begins opening up about everything (even those personal details that I never shared with my mother as a teenager) to her aunt. She tell her every little thing that bothered her in high school and left her traumatized. Stories of growing bodies, acne, peer pressure (horrible to the extent of wanting to commit suicide that went unnoticed because no one cared to find out what was going wrong). And then comes the day when something good starts happening in Karina’s life – she meets a guy. It works out well and she gets married. This is the time when things change.

Karina’s aunt never imagined it would be easy for her to get married because she didn’t have a good background (I mean wouldn’t it be embarrassing to have a wife/daughter-in-law who has no identity?) Yeah sadly that’s how arranged marriages worked out, and because Karina was always under the familial pressure to become a doctor, she never had the chance to be a normal person for once. She never dated or even went to her high school prom because her family was so orthodox. It wasn’t fair, but what’s the point questioning 10 years later when times have passed, mom has died, and she’s left with the pressure of deciding what to do with her life? She started college late and was already older than so many folks in her undergrad class. At least she wanted to get married at the right age, Oh wait! That wouldn’t be possible because she’s been told that no one would marry her because they’d all want an independent girl (rich enough to support herself and the “never seen future” family).

She couldn’t focus in her studies, she failed the med school exam twice because she just couldn’t focus. What else could she do? There wasn’t anyone to reach out to either because everyone was busy with their own lives. She was stuck inside the four walls of her apartment because she had no life. She had graduated undergrad and it was hard to find a job of her liking. Degree was a way to please herself and prove to everyone else that she’s not stupid. Was that her real dream? NO. Every job in the market isn’t guaranteed to hire, so med school is the safe region that parents choose for their kids the instant they’re born. There is no room for experimentation especially when you’re already 28, right? If you don’t make a move, you’re going to lose both – career and marriage. You’ll either have a career if you focus and persist no matter how many times you fail, or you can start dating and at least hope to get married before your fertility rate goes down.

What was Karina supposed to do? She fell into the trap of listening to her aunt and compromising on something that wasn’t meant to her. Why couldn’t she think for herself? Was it because her aunt was the only support system and she needed her approval for everything? Perhaps. She needed mom’s love too. Even at 28 she needed her mom more than anything. Mom is mom after all and if an aunt feels like a mom, why wouldn’t she please her all the time right? I mean this was the only way Karina could make up for everything that went wrong with her own mom. Oh…this is so wrong in all directions.

So Karina meets someone special on a dating site. They get married a year later, and everything changed – her friends changed, facebook likes decreased everytime she put a picture of herself enjoying with her hubby or having a better life in general, people in her social circle no longer stayed in touch. All these didn’t matter much because Karina always knew a girl like her who’d rise in life was always envied, but the major change in her life came when her aunt changed colors.  She quit talking altogether. Those frequent texts and phone calls stopped. Pin drop silence. Karina felt foolish trying to reach out to her all the time sharing pictures of her hubby and herself. This just seemed to make the envy rise even more. No matter how hard she tried, Karina had a constant longing for her mother which kept her connected to her aunt in some manner.

Was this healthy? I mean, this woman was Karina’s mom’s sister, and could she mean any harm? It was absurd to even bring such a thought in mind, but it was sadly true. When the wedding cards came, her aunt didn’t even care or express any joy. Karina went alone in the cold winter, with no family support, to distribute her wedding cards to known people/friends regardless of them caring or not. And no one cared because she had always been a “special” child, an orphan, and when good things began happening, people were overwhelmed with the news. A girl like Karina wasn’t meant to rise in life and prosper. Well…God wished it, so it happened. 🙂

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