I was over at a friend’s house and picked up 1000 Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It shows the recent history of Afghanistan seen from the perspective of two women.
In reading the story of Mariam, a rejected illegitimate child and abused wife, I froze emotionally. I used to be quite good at freezing emotions until I became pregnant. Since then, I can cry over comic books. Before that pretty much the only time I could cry was at church altar calls. But as I read, I froze inside once more.
The images of the book haunted me as I tried to fall asleep. I began to imagine a myriad of rescues for Mariam just to cope, just to keep from falling into the lifeless quiet beyond emotion.
I was chiding myself for being so affected by this story, but I refuse to say it doesn’t matter. My heart broke for this woman who represents far too many women, children, and men. A person who has had her spirit broken. In her case, it was because she was a woman and her father didn’t care about her. She bore the brunt of a cruel abusive man’s emotional immaturity until she was only a shadow.
She was a candle burning under a basket, starving for air. Covered.
I don’t think it was only my imagination which caused me to react to her. I was remembering. Now, I have never been beaten or humiliated as so many others have. That doesn’t mean I can minimize attempts to cover me with someone else’s garbage.
Saying that any hurt that isn’t visible doesn’t count is an injury all over again.
My mother was attacked by a sexual molester as a teenager. She brushes it off as if it were nothing- nearly denies it even happened. After all, she technically wasn’t raped, so it couldn’t have been that bad…
Bullshit. (I’ve never actually sworn before!)
I am not going to allow myself to freeze up again. I am going to cry in rage and mourning for the Mariams of the world. For my mother. And for myself.
And then I will find something to do about it.