I do art often by inspiration, that is, in Jamaican terminology, when the spirit tek mi. By such a means I have created quite a number of pieces. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the spirit tek mi to also sit down and plan out a composition, step by step.
The story being told in this work is a long one. An age old cry. It doesn’t seem to matter how much counselling is given. Nor does it seem to matter how much embarrassment is endured. No matter how many programmes are set up to educate the youth in order to prevent recurring themes in a new generation, the actions that this story is built around continues to take place.
All is not lost. There are over-comers among these young girls. There are some who might have been almost forsaken, but by some Divine Grace and helping hands, coupled with their own determination, they have found positive pathways, better means by which to achieve their goals, and their lives are a fine example to others who might stumble upon the same path. During my years at college, it was a regular part of the schedule for morning assembly and devotion for the student body to receive a talk from a guest speaker. One such speaker was a representative from The Women’s Centre Of Jamaica Foundation. She left an indelible mark in my mind, a more positive view about teenage pregnancy.
‘Almost Forsaken’ is an art piece which attempts to celebrate those who were almost ‘left behind’, and hopes to help motivate those who may be caught in an equation like a recurring decimal. For, when boy meets girl, and the blinding light of infatuation begins to misguide the calculations, so that one plus one becomes three, girl is left to manage an addition to the sum, and boy runs away ( maybe thinking to himself that this is the way of algebra…it doesn’t always add up like ordinary math!).
So, the major focus for this piece is teenage heterosexual relationships, and the story that may be told by many a teenage girl who experiences an unplanned pregnancy: She is left standing alone with no where to turn, while boy runs away. I am glad to say that this does not mean the end of a successful life for any such teenager, and I hope this piece of art adequately portrays that ray of hope.
As mentioned before, many of these girls have gone on to become very successful women in their own right, and have successful families of their own. Many of the men who failed to be supportive have also learned how to be more responsible. There are some with such a driving sense of responsibility that they have also dropped out of school along with the expectant mother and have stepped out into the daunting world of work, early, just so they could be accountable for their own previous lack of sound judgement.
It can be an uncomfortable and confusing time for some of the young persons involved, especially when the gossiping and slandering is added to the situation. There are many pregnant teens who consider suicide. This is often due more to the gossiping and slandering, what complete strangers say about them, the loss of family support, and how badly they are treated, than it is due to the pregnancy itself. These young people are humans, it would be good if everyone would behave toward them as humans, also.
The Women’s Centre Of Jamaica Foundation has a very helpful programme for adolescent mothers.