Jan 12, 2012


There's this woman, we will call, Joan. She comes from a humble family that got to a better position with time. Her grandparents worked the land hard to make a living and then make enough to move to the city and give their many children a better chance at life. Some of them did, some of them didn't, but all of them got pretty much better off, with nice jobs at different factories or even small businesses of their own. Joan's mom even ended up working in a school. 

Inspite of being an only child for many years, and perhaps resenting the lack of a father figure, or a mother spending more time with her - well, Joan's mom had to work hard and study to provide for her daughter - Joan grew resentful of those who seemed to have a better life. Her neighbourhood, like any good ol' 70's suburban neighbourhood had a cluster of houses that started looking all alike, but as the owners got more comfy in them, theis houses started changing making them more a reflection of themselves and their conditions. There were thus houses of incredible beauty and lush elegance, and other houses more ran down and simple. Their home was on the simpler side for quite some time - which was expected given that a lot of people lived in that house and some of them liked lounging around and living from what the others made.

In the begining Joan was like any other kid on the block, but soon she started stealing the toys of other kids, or grabbing things from houses as she went to play with the kids. Many went easy on her, knowing she was poor, but others closed her out. Maybe all of this influenced her to become who she is now.

Kids grew up and many moved away, but Joan was one of those who stayed. Joan stayed. After finishing her highschool (though there's no prove that she did), she stayed home, showing apathy towards studying further or getting herself a job. Soon after she started dating basically to get out of the house where she was constantly told to do something with her life. She also went down the path of using men to get what she wants. Clothes, jewelry, dinners, travels, shoes, bags and so on. Eventually she also resourced to getting pregnant to secure herself a source of income even if the guy left her. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

Be it as it may, this sort of life is taxing, as you basically reduce yourself to beg for livelyhood, lying and using anything at hand to make other to provide for you the things you are not willing to provide for yourself. The educational system in Costa Rica was abck then - and still is - quite friendly, allowing everybody with the will to study to do so. Scholarships are available, public education is affordable for any career you would like to choose (books might be expensive, but the libraries are free!), so Joan couldn't argue she didn't have the means to study. She, however, wouldn't work either in any capacity. With bitter envy she stared at the neighbours, new and old, who rushed in the morning clad in scrubs to the Medical or Nursing school, or the girl from one of the poorest houses of the block - if not the poorest - rushing in immaculate high heels and her perfectly pressed flight attendant suit and perfectly coiffed hair to the job, with a small suitcase. That girl of so dire conditions had fought hard for a future, clawed into every possible chance and now she was going to spend the night at a five star hotel in Houston, thanks to the fabulous job her efforts landed her.

Joan wanted for herself a life far more glamorous of that the dentist had across the street, from whom she stole Barbie dolls once upon a time. She wanted a life more glamorous of the business administrator had in the end of the street, who had an important position at a bank and recently bought a flashy new car. She wanted to shine like they all shone, and wanted to outshine them and for once be the one looked up to, be the envied instead of the envious. But unwilling to study, unwilling to work, unwilling to even care for the children she brought to this world for a child support check, she had no chances, unless she would marry a millionaire.

That's when she stumbled upon the social networks. There, in a profile of a popular site (lets say it: Facebook), Joan invented for herself a new life. She changed the way she writes her name, to become Yoan, and made herself a grandious, starlet profile. Loving mother of little angels she couldn't live without, graduated from prestigious universities from flashy careers like nurse or physio-therapist, manager of a company and married. It would have raised the eyebrows of only the few who overheard the loud quarreling that took place everyday at their house, to know that (1) she didn't take care of her children, but spent the whole child support check on herself and her boyfriends, (2) she had never set foot in a university, less got a drgree from any of them, (3) wasn't married even if her boyfriend was.

Flags jumped up, however, when people on Facebook noticed that her university and career changed quite often. What had she studied? Medicine? Law? Architechture? And how come she was a manager of a company dealing with cybercafés, or selling eggs or raising cows? Without the least of shame, she stole the pictures of her friends, passing a picture of a slender 15 year old girl as herself. Passing office pictures of department heads as her own office, and pictures of trips to places she didn't even had right as her own trips.

Her cynism was outrageous, which soon got people speaking. She spread lies about having married her boyfriend in a private ceremony at a given date, living happily with him and her children, when she moved with him leaving her kids behind, coming to visit them once or twice a month. Left to the care of her elderly grandmother, without a dime to look after them, she feld her family happily to be the kept woman of a married man, who didn't mind a woman who alienates her own flesh and blood. The grandmother, used to the hardships of her own youth, resourced to the old tricks of the poor to make the best of the little money she had, replacing a produce for another, keeping a close eye on the tabs, and even giving her own food so the children could be fed. She cared for them, washed them, clothed them, mended their old, ragged clothes, walked them to school, helped them with their homeworks and played with them.

Joan screamed at her each time she came to visit, humiliating her for her ignorance, trashing the homworks she helped her kids to do, calling them "crappy" and "shameful". Humble, cheap paper ripped carefully from the thin notebooks wasn't good. Drawings colored with a few color pencils weren't good enough. Joan demanded flashy folders and bond paper and stickers instead of drawings, and then mocked the old lady for not having enough money to afford such things, while she toyed with the brand new necklace she bought on the child support check.

"Old, stupid cow!" she called her "How dare you making the kids' homework, you idiot? They are going to mock them at school! Go back to the kitchen, where you belong!"

Her words were heard around the block as it's sound and strong. From the houses next to hers, and even two houses away, families in the kitchen or out the backyard stopped mute. She who's never there, she who can't care for her children, humiliates the one holding up for them? She, who don't give to the care of her children a dime she could spend on herself mocks the humble who gives them everything she has?

The family heard of this, and Joan's uncles and aunts demanded she took her own children with her and stop abusing of her grandmother at once. She yelled at them, telling them to mind their own business. Under pressure, she took her children with her, but unused by then to live with her, that first night away from the only home and the only family they've known, with a mother who rather turned to the computer than to them, they cried. Her boyfriend didn't want them, so she shipped them back to the grandmother the next day.

The tension continued mounting at the family, while she continued posting on her facebook page how happy she was and how devoted she was to her husband and children. People, fed up with her lies, called her up on them. "We know who you are and we know you are an unemployed, uneducated, irresponsible mother who lives out of what she can catch between the legs, or push out of it."

Suddenly she got offended. How dare they judge her, criticize her? All those professionals and university educated people, who pretend to be better than her "because of what they have", and don't see that she's also a hardworking person who deserves respect. Oh, but the tide can turn and "they don't realize that they are up now, but they could be down tomorrow".

Joan, wake up. People don't judge you because of what they have - you are the only one measuring people's worth for what's in their purse or on their name - nor because they have a job or a title - you are the one obssessed with this. You take your business to the streets, you lie in public, you misbehave in public, you shout for everyone to hear, all your personal problems. You've already made everybody's concern everything that happens to you, so shut up and shoulder what you've brought on yourself. Or did you actually believed that you could lie all you want and people wouldn't call you on it?

Then, yes, the tide can change, and those who live comfortably may find themselves tomorrow in a dire situation, BUT there are things that don't change with the tide. Nobody takes away from you what you've learned, what you've worked, your honesty, your transparency or your principles. We work hard and earn what we have, we forge our own destiny, but Fate may have it and take the fruits of our harvest away, but we still be clean at heart, honest and we could always hold our heads up high, proud of the people we are. What about Joan? She could marry a rich man, live drowning in gold and jewelry, and still she will still be that irresponsible mother, the disrespectful person, the compulsive liar everybody will always pity. Tide don't change that. You make that, and it always stays.


Sartassa said...

now I really have to say it, I love the way you write (despite that, if this is true, the story really caught me) sooo pleeeease you once said you'd send me some of your works???

Storm Bunny said...

All I need is an address, Sunshine!

Sartassa said...

I'll be moving tomorrow, I already know it know but I forgot the apartment number... I'll text you