The Dissolution of IntegrityMay 31, 2013 - Author: Nayes
It’s been a strange couple of months. No. Strange is the wrong word. Disappointing perhaps. That would fit. Enlightening. Encouraging. Frustrating. It’s a little bit like being caught between the push and pull of good and evil. Except that I’m not living in a Harry Potter novel and when life starts looking like something fictional you can’t help but stop for a minute and ask yourself “What the fuck?”
In April a friend of mine died. It was one of those deaths where you just stare ahead of yourself incredulously and all your cells refuse to take part in any sort of reality. He was 29. And I had recently decided that he was a perfect combination of Shemar Moore, Matt Le Blanc and the gawkish Schmidt from New Girl. He is gorgeous like Shemar, and oh-so-charming, but he has this awesome sense of humour and he’s never afraid to laugh at himself. He is a beautiful soul. And I say that not because he is not with us right now but because it is simply true. He is my favourite person to tease. I know no life is worth more than another, but this huge massive part of me keeps going “Of all the people, losing him would do the most damage.” Why? Because he was Paul. And everybody loved Paul. I did too.
These things happen though. That doesn’t make it right or fine. But they do happen. It is the stuff that happened in the wake of his death that has curdled me. I am sour. This optimistic person who loved the world she lived in kind of wants to get away from it now, and I’d like to share with you why.
When I was 8 years old I went to a little church in town with my friend Heather, who is to this day one of my closest most treasured friends. I walked into that building and my soul found itself a home. From then I bugged my parents to let us go to “Heather’s Church”. My mom likes to tease me and say I only wanted to go there because they were planning to build a pool, but I fell in love with that place. I loved their music and the people and the friendliness. I loved Sunday School which just seemed so practical and un-cryptic. 23 years later I feel exactly the same way. This is MY church. My home. My family.
But being in “daai kerk” came with some weird burdens. Especially for a child. Suddenly teachers at school were a little odd. I was no longer just Engels Sprekend, I also went to Daai Kerk. I was therefore a lepper. Now obviously not all of the teachers were that way, but it was very obviously an issue with quite a few of them. The children were worse. It sucked, but to be honest you kind of get used to it.
The thing was that somewhere along the line someone decided that you are not allowed to go to doctors if you are a member of our church. Church members laughed it off because it was ridiculous but this stupid cockroach crept into the minds of the townspeople and never left. There was always a bit of a divide, which never really bothered me except that I thought it was kind of stupid. I remember my mom feeling slightly upset that she lost a couple of friends after joining the church. My folks started drinking less and then stopped altogether. Not because the church told them to, but because they both started to feel like they didn’t want to find themselves in a position where alcohol had become a crutch or an addiction. Soon they were no longer being invited to the usual parties and gatherings. I remember because I no longer found myself at too many of those gatherings either. It was silly, but we had this wonderful place that had brought us comfort, so other people’s silliness was really just their own problem. My mom started singing and playing the flute again. For the first time since moving to South Africa from The States she was starting to feel really happy and less homesick.
When I was 14 the church started a school. That may sound silly but for an English kid living in Molteno the only real option as far as schooling goes is boarding school. My mom was adamant that she didn’t have kids just to send them off for most of their childhoods, and Allen and Margie Wilson, the pastors of our church, felt exactly the same way. So Kingdom College was born. And we all got to stay home and go to school in civvies and have an absolutely fantastic time in our teeny school that we loved and hated, but mostly loved.
I moved away from Molteno just after I finished school and for the most part I have no regrets about the life I have lead or the person I am today. I am lucky to come from the world’s most awesome family (heehee) but I am also so lucky that I got to grow up where I did because so much of the church moulded me into who I am – and I am happy with that person!
And then Paul died. I watched Allen and Margie lose their son and then I watched them muster up the most incredible strength in the face of the worst circumstances. I watched them be strong for everyone else. I watched them comfort and console and encourage the people who felt the loss on that seemingly un-fixable level that comes in the wake of a senseless death. Could I love these two people more? Apparently I could…
And then I watched evil come in like a black cloud. Accusations of Allen being a cult leader started flying around. First it was a status update on Facebook about how there is a cult in town that is killing the children or something (complete paraphrase I admit but the gist of it was that Allen was responsible for his son’s death). Seriously – parents lose their child and you use it as a platform to voice your uninformed opinion? Classy. Oh yes…and fuck you. Then there was an upset because the media had reported that Paul died in the Molteno hospital. Now when I heard that all over the news everywhere I was quite annoyed because I knew it was inaccurate. I have no idea where the story came from – no one seems to know and by “no one” I mean the media people reporting the story DID NOT KNOW WHERE THAT INFORMATION CAME FROM – but I did know that it did not come from the people who were reeling from his death. Of course the church was then accused of “hiding the truth” because that’s how it works when you live in Molteno. No one ever asks questions, they just spread stories.
Of course then one of the townspeople ran off to You Magazine. Because, you know, You Magazine acted as a dating service for all the single farmer boys a couple of years back so half the town is big pals with the folks up at the Fiction Frontier and obviously have their numbers on speed dial. Now You Magazine is incapable of walking away from anything that even remotely smells like drama, so they decided to print the fiction as fact.
So to everyone involved in this giant load of crap I have one question: What the fuck is wrong with you people?
You Magazine: Since I was a child I have recognized your pathetic need for embellishment and scandalous misrepresentation. I constantly judge your covers with disdain as I make my way to the till at the supermarket, often asking myself what kind of person is happy to work for a company that thrives on the misfortune of others. You are an absolute disgrace to the profession of journalism. The article you wrote on this is proof that I have always been right about the integrity of You Magazine and the journalists who work for you. You thrive on shame and scandal and you leave out any facts that disprove the ridiculous point you are trying to make. You are the reason that people like me have absolutely no faith and trust in the media anymore. Shame on you.
To the “anonymous contributors” to the piece of fiction written in the You Magazine: Again….what the fuck is wrong with you? If you are so sure of your little story then why is it that you are so reluctant to claim it? If you “know” what is going on then show yourself. I, Nadine Rose Larter, think that You Magazine is a joke and I think that you are the scum of the earth. See? When you believe something and know in your heart that it is true, it is very easy to put your name behind your opinion.
I didn’t want to go to Thailand because of this. I knew that this stupid You Magazine article was going to come out and I knew that even though it was likely to be obvious rubbish that it would still hurt a lot of people that I care about. So I didn’t want to leave. I don’t know what I thought I could possibly do about it, but it just didn’t feel right that these wonderful people in Molteno who I care about so much should have to go through any of this. Especially not in the wake of such a loss.
It makes me sick that any individual – whether that person be a journalist or a common gossip – would be ok with doing this to another person. Shame on you! Where is your integrity? Where is your sense of common decency? Where is your compassion?
Lastly I would like to say this:
Two weeks ago while I was in Thailand I broke my knee. I was in a lot of pain and I could not walk so I popped into the clinic hoping they would have crutches or something for me. There I met the nicest doctor I have ever met and he took really good care of me. He drained my knee of all the blood surrounding the injury, took x-rays and he explained exactly what medication he was giving me and why I needed to take it. He also told me that I should see my doctor when I get back just to make sure that my knee is healing properly and I don’t need surgery to put in a pin in or whatever.
I will most likely not be going back to the doctor for the following reasons:
- I don’t think it is necessary. My knee is a bit sore but it is obvious to me that it is healing and I believe that I am perfectly fine.
- I hate doctors. I really do. I never go to the doctor but when I do I never feel like I am in safe capable hands. Throughout my entire pregnancy and the premature birth of my son it was the nurses and my pastors, friends and family who made me feel like we were safe. Not the doctors. The doctors made me feel like I was an idiot. I do realize that this is simply bad luck and that not all doctors are this way, but honestly I don’t feel like looking for one who I can tolerate. Especially not just so that I can indulge in other people’s hypochondria.
- The absolute only reason I would rush off to a doctor now would be to be able to say “Look I go to that church and I went to a doctor”. And that is a dumb as fuck reason to do anything.
Oh and guess what? NONE OF THESE REASONS ARE ANY OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS! I am a grown ass fucking woman who is capable of making her own goddamn decisions and I do not need your fucking approval. You dumb vicious evil idiots. WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? Seriously!! You are all clearly in need of medical attention yourselves. You might consider doing something about that. You get these wonderful tablets these days called “anti-psychotics”. I have no idea what they do but the name seems to fit this particular situation.
Oh yes….and one last “Fuck You” to those of you with your extreme opinions: What I believe and what religion I participate in is not for you to debate about. I have no opinions on you or your belief systems. I respect whatever you choose to believe because I respect that it is your right to do so. Also….I am not a fucking idiot. In fact I am a pretty damn fucking intelligent woman. If I in any way ever felt that I was participating in some sort of messed up and dangerous cult I WOULD STOP PARTICIPATING IN IT! I am not such a spineless idiot that I “feel too afraid to leave”. What the hell is that? You think Allen Wilson has somehow brainwashed everyone in to staying in his church? Seriously folks – watch less TV. I know you all think we take turns shagging the man but seriously…actually I have no comeback for this one….it is just too ridiculous…
Grow up and get a life. You are middle-aged men and women for God’s sake and you are all raising children who are in serious danger of growing up to be just like you. Don’t let that happen. The world is already full of clichés. How about we all try something a little different? Tolerance perhaps.
Or just plain and simple human kindness…
To Allen and Margie Wilson (and indirectly to my wonderful parents) I would like to say this: Thank you. Thank you for the way you raised me. Thank you for teaching me to have my own mind. Thank you for being the reason that I am not like the people who think that doing this is ok. Thank you for who I am because until now I have never been so grateful for being “a little different”. Thank you for teaching me about music and books and all those wonderful things that I have in my life… I will never need idle gossip to entertain me! I promise I will never thrive on the pain of others. I promise I will always have compassion and love. I promise I will always stand up for you and always be on your side not only because I love you so much but because I believe in you and I trust you and I think that the work you do is world-changing.
I am sorry that there are such evil people in the world and I am sorry that they have been so nasty to you. Watching you deal with all of this with grace and integrity has been quite an experience. Your class and everything about you is an inspiration.
I love you both.
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