This week on the Pivotal Anniversary Tour the focus is on Liza’s story. Does she thrive or just survive?
The book explores the impact of a mysterious bequest on the four leading characters’ mental health, particularly in relation to their relationships with parents, siblings and partners. They all have baggage from four decades of life decisions to unravel before they can make their up their minds. And there is the added pressure of a deadline.
One of the conditions of the bequest restricts them from talking to other family members. For some this is easy to comply with, for others it creates a sense of isolation. Each have different hurdles to overcome.
Liza, like the other main characters has much to gain but also some things she might lose.
She is full of determination to make a better life for herself and her son. It’s not that simple though. The toxic relationship she has with her ex, Gino puts a barrier between her and her potential future happiness.
At one point she says to her friend Sheena,
“This is an amazing opportunity but how am I going to make it happen? I shouldn’t be thinking twice but I feel like I can’t do it. It’s too risky, surely? I mean, Gino explodes if I forget to buy skimmed-milk for his coffee, even though he hardly ever visits us. It kinda makes sense. I am a forgetful cow sometimes. I mean it’s fair enough. It is his flat.”
When I came across WarriorKind recently, one of the women who they support was telling her story of surviving domestic abuse. It immediately resonated with Liza’s story.
WarriorKind is a not for profit mental health support network devoted to advocating positive conversations around mental health. All profits generated are reinvested into providing their eligible Warriors with fully funded bespoke treatment that wouldn’t usually be available or accessible to them.
Liza stumbles across some help through her friend Sheena, but if she’d found WarriorKind all sorts of options would have been available to her.
Liza has a fighting spirit and despite many years of living a tough life, it is her determination not to accept her lot which keeps moving her forward. She is extremely resilient but is stuck. Like many in her situation she is surviving but needs something to change to have any hope of building a life in which she can thrive.
In her case, the catalyst for change is the bequest which comes out of the blue from an unknown benefactor.
With both her story line and in supporting this community enterprise, my aim is to raise the profile of domestic abuse, coercive control and the long term impact they can have on mental health. Anyone can get caught up in these kinds of toxic relationships. It’s not always about the physical dangers or the extreme headline cases.
If you have been affected by reading this post, please explore the WarriorKind website for more information. You can join or access support through their wellbeing directory for a wide range of organisations, from therapies to care services, business, legal and much more.
From reader feedback, I know that Liza’s situation resonates with lots of people and many have said she is their favourite character due to her strength and resilience.
I’d love to hear what you think too.
Take care and stay safe in these lockdown times.
Nikki Vallance 2020 ©