“I didn’t feel like I had options. I was afraid they were going to try to take you away from me.”
After marrying thrice by 31, moving through seven cities across four states, and having murdered three men, Georgia Miller, formerly known as Mary Atkins, does not fit mom stereotypes.
She dances with her children, throws birthday surprises and goes on dates.She also has a traumatic past. A mom by the age of 15, Georgia was abused and molested.
She makes deadly wolf’s-bane protein shakes and she points guns at people. She tries her level best to keep the two versions of herself as far apart as possible, hoping that they do not overlap.
Georgia grew up amidst patriarchal, heterosexual dominants, abusers, drinkers and fund embezzlers. To survive in such a space, she had to learn to be fearless.So, she is shaped by nature to be a strong female lead who has finally learnt to “sting the bee first.”
Her daughter, Ginny, a coming-of-age feisty teenager, on the other hand, has grown up in a relatively protected environment, with her mother ready “to kill” anyone who dares to lay a finger on her.
Deflecting Ginny’s attention from unpaid bills, scarcity of food and the fact that they were living with an abuser, Austin’s father, Georgia provides her with food, shelter, a good education and a shot at the childhood experiences she did not have.
“I don’t want you guys to see that ugliness ever, but that ugliness exists, and I can’t always shield you from it. But we can get through anything if we stick together.Right?”
Georgia and her two children, Ginny and Austin, move to Wellsbury, Massachusetts, after her husband dies in a car crash caused by a heart attack. They are all packed up and ready for a fresh start. Austin seems to be doing fine until he gets ‘suspended’ for stabbing another child. Ginny seems to be living her best life before reminders of the past start walking through their front door.
“And when I ask Georgia about it she just lies and pretends like everything is sunshine and butterflies. That’s what bothers me the most. Why all the secrecy? It affects me, too.”
Ginny raises valid concerns when her almost-perfect life in Wellsbury suddenly starts falling apart. While Georgia is running with the motive of protection for herself and her children, Ginny struggles to fit in every new town; always the ‘new girl’.
Her mother, being a liberal single parent, allows her to date anyone she likes but Ginny reverts to self-harm when her simultaneous relationships with Hunter and Marcus start pulling at the threads of her friends’ group.
The series,Ginny and Georgia, sheds light on domestic abuse, violence at home and other issues faced by girls and women that go unreported for many reasons. Some of the people who slip through the cracks are the most vulnerable; children and adolescents.
It covers the challenges faced by teenage mothers who barely have enough resources to provide for their children, let alone afford legal help. It is about how these girls are stuck in a loop of unremitting fear, some of them on the verge of losing custody.
The television series is about a mother running from her dark past, and giving her children a life of love and comfort in the hope that they will remain oblivious but also what happens when the past finally catches up.
The two seasons are based on Georgia’s maternal instinct to sacrifice her desires for her children and give them a normal and healthy childhood experience.
When Georgia leaves her house at 14, a lone teenager with no help, she is surrounded by people who abuse her. Her list of crimes gradually grows longer as she paves her way to a stable house where she can finally rest – but not for long.
We see her daughter Ginny as a young woman struggling to understand her emotions while navigating her relationship with her mother who gave up her years fiercely trying to protect her and Austin.
The series stars many versions of Georgia and Ginny, young and old, but the acting remains flawless. The cheerful personality of the young Ginny is played by Tianna M and Tiara J. The spunky older Ginny, who defies the AP English course that doesn’t give Black people a voice, is portrayed by Antonia Gentry. Nikki Roumel and Brianne Howey play younger and older versions of Georgia but one can barely tell the difference. This sense of seamlessness, even as we flit back and forth in time throughout the series, is a testimony to the acting talent of Roumel and Howey.
Underappreciated and underestimated, flying under the radar, but somehow always taking up the limelight, Georgia and Ginny are two women who know how to leave their mark on any town they enter.When mother-daughter conflicts peak, Georgia realises that she can rely on her children the same way they did on her, and Ginny understands her mother’s perspective.
The evolution of characters, from an iron-willed mother and rebellious daughter to a close-knit friendship between the two balls of energy, is an ode to how women, at the end of the day, have the same struggles and understand one another the best. To narrate the story without either would be an injustice as the practical realities and hardships of this dynamic relationship are reflected in far too many households.
“When you don’t have a voice, you have to scream somehow.”
The writer is an undergraduate student of psychology at FC College