I decided to go out today for a walk at my local park to combat my pot pelly, who’s girth has reached such circumference as to have the gravitational pull of Jupiter.   As I was consoling and giving myself a little pat on the back that I finally got myself up and out to do something about my rotund little body, about halfway through my journey I encountered a young pregnant woman, shuffling up the path towards me. She looked very pregnant (around 8 months into her maternal journey I later found out), looking quite distressed.  She asked me if I could help her, since she left her cell phone at home and needed to call her friends.   In my mind, I made a smidgeon of a calculation of the risks, but truthfully, I’m more than a bit of a pushover, I didn’t want a miscarriage on my hands, and I have a bit of a hero complex, so I readily agreed to help her.

It turned out she couldn’t get a hold of her friends, who she was travelling in a car with when it broke down.  For some reason, she told me she was self-conscious of people staring at her, so decided to go on a walk and leave them.  This was starting to sound kind of strange, but I thought, well, I might as well help her to get her somewhere to get something to eat, since she wasn’t from this area.  She looked pretty far along, so I thought get her at least to a convenience store, in air conditioning, and somewhere she could rest.

At the convenience store, she still couldn’t get a hold of people, so eventually we took a gamble, and she had a friend across  the town that lived in an RV and said she would be safe with him for the time being.  And so  I took her there, and bid my farewells.  And I must say, not a moment too soon for me. And I’ll tell you why.

I was glad to help her, and I was keenly interested in her story.  What I heard though was so full of stress and drama.   I felt sad and repulsed at the same time, but I kept it inside and stayed positive on the outside.

She was 22, and her mother was a drug addict and died from heart failure from complications of the drug use.  She swore she didn’t take drugs, which may have been true, but I don’t know. She did seem troubled.  I do know she was very stressed, full of guilt (her grandmother and uncle blamed her for the stress that killed their daughter/sister), she also was jobless, didn’t have a boyfriend/husband to help, a dropout and had 2 other children.  She was living out of hotels with her friends, whom she got in arguments with, or her family, who she also argued with.  I was very nice to her, told her that she was still young, that she shouldn’t live with guilt and also that once she had her child, she could get eventually get a job and if she was diligent things would work out and be ok.

But statistically, in my head, I knew this was someone who, unless she let go of her guilt, got herself away from people dragging her down, and applied herself, that she was going to be a statistic and a drag on herself and society.

I was nice to her, but in my head I wanted to say “STOP HAVING BABIES!”, “STOP BLAMING YOURSELF!” “START TAKING RESPONSIBILITY!” and understand, even if you have a bad life, you have to OWN IT, UNDERSTAND IT, AND PLAN FOR A WAY OUT.

During the time I  was in the company of this young woman, really little more than a girl by years, and felt a combination of empathy for a fellow human being, repulsion about what she had become and what she may become, sadness that she is doomed, wanting to help but also wanting to get away as fast as possible.  All of this I purposely ignored while trying to get her somewhere safe.

I don’t believe in auras, bad mojo or any of that.  But wow, I could feel just crazy amounts of negative emotion, loss, pain, obliviousness, but mostly confusion from a woman who didn’t know what to do, who to be, and how to pull herself up.

I tried to tell her, without telling her.   It’s not my business, and also I could only give her understanding, not lectures in the short time I knew her.   Also, all life lessons can’t be learned from someone else.  They have to be learned from experience.  She has to experience all of the things she is in full.  She needs to understand, and then get so sick of her life she resolves to change it.  She’ll either emerge from it a strong self-sufficient woman, scared but undaunted or (what I fear), just a broken person.

I dropped her off, and once clear, I messaged the people again she tried to contact and told her where she was and what I knew of her status.  They finally replied, but in the end I was glad they didn’t again once I gave my message, I admit it.   I have been near that sort of thing people with train wrecks for lives, in the distant past.  And I wanted none of it, the baggage of a person’s life just coming apart at the seams.

And yet I still hope for her.  I love a story about comebacks and redemption.  That is my fantasy, and I want it to be true, desperately, and I realized today I want it for others, not just myself.  As I looked at her, I knew that was her choice, not mine.  If she just could have made better choices as a teenager.  People can pull themselves out of terrible backgrounds, even worse than hers.   But her chances were few because she had to make mature choices when she was too young for most people to make them.  The older one starts making good choices, the harder it is to atone for the bad ones.

In the end analysis, she is most likely to fail, and although her faults as an adult are hers, I can’t help but think of what could have happened if she was raised in a in a happier home when she was young.  If she could have been taken away from the familial mess she was conceived in, she might not have become what she was, which will in all likelihood, continue to perpetuate.  I hope that she makes the right choices in her life and I am terribly wrong in my analysis of this human life.


About Rhett Kennedy

An east coast transplant living in San Jose CA, and loving it. I am a master of useless trivia (medieval and ancient culture, a smattering of politics, ukulele and fan of most forms of music). I know life insurance, audio visual technology, commerical and fine art nd love to sing scottish ballads. I'm happily strange and enjoy strange people as a result.
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