He’s drunk again. I see the black and blue outcome. There is no where to hide. He pays the bills. He puts food in the children’s mouths. If I run, his heavy hand will find us. The beatings are necessary – for them.
Scarlett had approached Brian with the idea of dinner and drinks. She knew he wanted exactly the same thing she did. She suspected it wouldn’t take much more than conversational foreplay and he would be a quick, sure thing. She needed a man to help refresh her body and mind, and then get the hell out of her apartment and her way.
Had she not indulged in that final glass of merlot, Brian would never have slept over. Nor would she be trying her damnedest to not poke her eye out with mascara, as this taxi driver hit every, single pot hole.
If Scarlett didn’t get to the office soon, the day’s top assignments would be given to another reporter. She worked too damn hard to secure her reputation as a front-page journalist, to let a one night stand get in her way of maintaining it.
6 Weeks Later…
“Scarlett, I don’t want to see you back in this building until you look at least three shades darker, than you do right now. You are pale as a ghost and obviously need some rest”, Jonathan, Scarlett’s editor, said with a firm, fatherly tone. He wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Scarlett still felt like death two days later. Between that and the random narcoleptic episodes, she couldn’t take it any longer. She decided to go to the emergency room. She was hoping for some nausea pills and maybe an antibiotic.
As the nurse was taking her blood pressure, she asked Scarlett, “When was your last period?”
“I never get my period with the birth control I take”, Scarlett explained.
The nurse’s eyebrows went up a bit as she asked, “Is it possible that you could be pregnant?”
Scarlett laughed a how-ridiculous-of-a-question laugh and assured her, she was not. The no-nonsense nurse insisted she pee in a cup, then led her to the bathroom.
Scarlett returned to her room just in time to catch a man, reeking of a God-complex, walk in. He looked at the chart in his hand and before even looking up said, “Congratulation.”
All Scarlett could say was, “Huh?”
Obviously annoyed, the doctor said, “Ma’am, you are pregnant. Do you have any questions?”
Scarlett leapt off the chair, grabbed the garbage can next to the door and vomited the two whole pieces of toast she had in her gut. She heaved and choked on every word she just heard. She thought, How could I let this happen to me?
She went home and poured herself a glass of wine. She found it odd that she was hesitant to drink it, when her mind was already set on terminating the pregnancy. She had to drink it. She needed it to help her not think about Brian or having his baby, only getting rid of it.
Scarlett wasn’t a women without emotion, just one that was convinced she was too broken, her edges too sharp, to ever be anyone’s mother.
Scarlett walked to the clinic downtown, hoping the frigid air would distract her mind from absorbing what was about to happen.
As she briskly walked past an apartment building, the sound of the Bee Gee’s singing “Staying Alive”, stunted her pace. The irony of hearing the chorus, to this particular song, was not lost on Scarlett. She traced the sound to an apartment on the ground level and peaked through a window.
She saw a woman about her age, dancing, with a smile that radiated joy. Her hands in the air, full of chucky, laughing baby. Scarlett couldn’t help but stare. She was caught off guard by the tears streaming down her face. The bitter cold seemed to hold them in place on her cheeks.
Finally inside the clinic, Scarlett was suddenly flooded with the memory of her mother, lying lifeless on the floor, a needle, inches from her hand. Scarlett’s mind bounced back and forth between the memory of her own abusive, addicted mother to the vibrant, joyful mom she watched dancing with her daughter.
With her defenses stripped down, Scarlett had a thought that seemed to re-attach her self to her soul. What if she actually was capable of loving someone else and being loved by another?
She had suspected it would be so easy for her to walk in and out of this place. Now, with the nurse calling her name, Scarlett is torn between choosing the life she chose or the one that is choosing her.
I stopped reading Cosmo and other similar magazines close to a decade ago. It was a combination of things. As a student taking mass comm and psychology courses, I began to learn how to read between the cultural and patriarchal lines. I also became more aware of how absorbing that kind of information made me feel. I hadn’t yet linked my poor self esteem to my anxiety but once I started eliminating the reinforcements that I wasn’t good enough, the connection became clear and empowering.
That stuff can be toxic. It’s easy to get wrapped up in how to be a prettier, slimmer, more desirable version of yourself. I’ve just started to realize that if I have different versions of myself, I’m obviously creating them out of fear that the real version isn’t good enough. Feeling defected is the source of my anxiety.
At the same time I quit reading the “fix me” girl/women magazines, I also stopped using tabloid magazines and gossip shows as my mindless, guilty pleasure. The misleading reality of those platforms are built to feed the culture of judging one another. Tabloids are created to permit permission to judge. Judgement houses anxiety for me.
I’ve given up on watching the news. The news, in all its forms, is the worst offender.
Watching it leaves me feeling dirty. Obtaining votes and spotlighting all that is wrong with the world seems to be only goal. Distorting information with fear is dangerous.
The media, in just about every form, has become so intoxicated with greed. Anxiety has become the most profitable tool to make you second guess your instincts. The you’re not enoughs and the constant “become a better version of yourself” propaganda just keeps getting in the way. It sends me looking in all the wrong directions.
The dogmatic, provoking static that has become the media only increases one’s anxiety. I already tend to have that voice in the back of my head that creeps in challenging my self worth. I don’t need any more noise adding fuel to the fire.
This has been prompted by the Daily Prompt: A Source of Anxiety