This is a very hard post for me to write. I could not watch the fight, but buried my eyes in my hands while I wept, listened, and re-lived.
Kaleh came to the Clarks extremely damaged. It doesn’t matter how. Trauma is trauma. Any perceived slight to her is taken exponentially. Her baseline is that she is unneeded and unwanted. There is a lifetime of being trashed caught up in the phrase, “bringing the trash home”. Add in the cultural stereotype of being a brainwashed whore/side chick, and the lack of external support for plural marriage. Add in the time, effort, and financial resources needed to support a new wife. She’s well aware that the Clarks don’t need her. They did just fine before she came along; otherwise, there would have been no room for her at all.
She believes she is not worthy of any sacrifices for her. She doesn’t understand how they could love her, because no one ever has. She has been systematically used and abused with her only value being her fuckability, her labor, and/or her bragability. She’s terrified that the Clarks are going to get rid of her. She is not at this moment able to financially provide for herself; thus the jobs. They are critical to her mental survival. She knows that she needs this family more than they need her. She hates herself for that too.
She makes herself hard to love. She is trying to get rid of herself before they get rid of her. That’s all she knows, and that’s the only power she has. The push/pull of wanting to be with them, and undermining the entire relationship by being hard enough to love that they may give up trying. She has to prove that she’s the trash because that’s what she thinks of herself. It’s not her label, it’s her experience. A throwaway. Number 5 plastic.
In all of it, it is the family that pays the price for the damage that bad men created. The men who didn’t and couldn’t love, even though they had someone who loved them fiercely, and was never going to give up on them until they threw her out into the street – like so much garbage.
She truly believes she is expendable. More than expendable – Dead Weight. A drain. A black hole. A sucking wound. Broken. So broken.
It’s going to take years. Maybe a lifetime. It’s a rare man who can walk through fire to gather the pieces and to remold the shattered glass.
I hope they can make it.