‘Jane The Virgin’ was actually a good show. My friends who urged me to watch it weren’t wrong. It was over the top a lot of the times, but the over-the-top moments weren’t very much expected. After all, it’s a show that makes fun of telenovelas. I talked about the premise of the show in my previous post, and it had a lot to do with one of the main characters, Petra. She’s first introduced as a patient waiting to be inseminated. Instead, she accidentally gets a Pap test, and the insemination is done on another woman, Jane, which was where the story of ‘Jane The Virgin’ began.
When the show first started, Petra was introduced as Rafael’s wife. Through the accidental insemination, Rafael became the father of Jane’s baby. Petra and Rafael’s marriage is obviously in trouble. They’re going through infertility after Rafael’s cancer battle. When she did get pregnant, she suffered a miscarriage. That was heartbreaking in itself, but to then find out that your husband is expecting a child with someone else due to a medical mistake must’ve been shattering, especially when it’s something that you’ve always wanted and wanted to give yourself to the person you’re sharing your life with.
Petra is first introduced as a lying, cheating, non-trusting human. She even has a twin sister who has evil tendencies, but nothing compared to Petra. She was the villain of the show for the first half of the series, but then softened up as the show progressed and we, the viewers, saw her soften up once she became a mother of her twin girls, whose father was Rafael and therefore, Jane became family to her as the kids were siblings. In hindsight, Jane and Rafael became the only family she had and the only people she could ever trust in her life. Nonetheless, she had a soft side to her as well even when she was in her villain era. Rafael asked Petra to be his best man when he was getting married to Jane. He wanted her to be by his side because, as he told Jane, she was the only constant person in his life who was there for him no matter what, especially throughout his cancer battle. And let’s not forget that when Jane was still married to Michael, Petra secretly paid for the house that they couldn’t afford, and she only did it out of the goodness of her heart.
The thing about Petra, played by French-Israeli actress, Yael Groblas, is that she’s a character that you hate to love and love to hate. She’d done some pretty bad things, but she’s not a bad person. Her life circumstances and trauma made her tough. It was especially evident, at least to me, when Petra’s twin sister had an epileptic seizure during a family gathering due to the stress o everyone fighting. At the hospital, Jane came up to Petra for potentially causing her sister to have a seizure, and Petra’s response was simple: she has epilepsy, and that’s just what happens during stress. To some, it might seem like a cruel, careless response to someone having a seizure so publicly. I, on the other hand, as someone who’s had seizures publicly, can say wholeheartedly that Petra’s response to Jane’s apology was perfect. In fact, I think we should all aim to be like Petra. I don’t mean personality wise. Instead, I mean her life-motto wise.
Say what you want about Petra Solano, but she’s a f*cking bad-ass of a character. No matter what, she has a solution to every problem she faces. Whether it’s the right or wrong solution, it’s up to the viewer to decide. In her mind, though, her choices are always right, at least at the time that she makes those choices in question. It doesn’t matter who she hurts in the process. She sticks by her decision no matter what. Petra Solano only thinks of Petra Solano. Her soft side might think of how her choices might affect others only after the deed is done.
Petra became one of my favourite characters on the ‘Jane The Virgin’. There was never any bullsh*t with her. What you see is exactly what you get. That’s the type of character that she is. There’s no falseness about her. She’s anything but fake. I only strive to be this type of person. I don’t care to be liked by anyone. I care to be honest; not only with others, but with myself as well. If I’m hated for my brutal honesty, so be it. Just as Kurt Cobain once said, I’d rather be hated for what I am than loved for what I’m not.
I’d like to go back to my point on how Petra reacted to her twin sister’s seizure and hospitalization. Just like Jane’s father’s admission to experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, Petra’s sister’s epilepsy diagnosis was merely mentioned in a scene or two and never mentioned again. If I didn’t have epilepsy myself, I’d forget all about this minor, barely mentioned story-line. But the chronic illness affects me on a personal level, and therefore, those few minutes that epilepsy was represented on ‘Jane The Virgin’ caught my attention.
Unlike how male postpartum depression was interpreted on the show, which you can read all about in my previous post, I saw the interpretation of epilepsy in a completely different light; in a positive light. It was a pleasant surprise for me because all I ever saw was epilepsy and seizures being taken as a joke in the media. ‘Jane The Virgin’, on the other hand, took it upon itself to bring awareness to epilepsy realistically. A person who’s epileptic will experience a seizure at any given random moment. Epilepsy has a mind of its own. No one really knows what will trigger a seizure. That’s what Petra’s response meant to Jane’s apology. It wasn’t meant to be evil or careless. On the contrary, it was meant to be real and authentic.
These two minutes of ‘Jane The Virgin’ universe were really important to me. They showed me the reality of epilepsy and what it entails. The thing about epilepsy is that it’s unpredictable. When you think of epilepsy, you probably think of seizures. But it’s so much more than that. It’s about being afraid of the unknown. It’s about constantly being afraid of the embarrassment of having a seizure publicly. It’s about constantly feeling sick. It’s about struggling with mental health. It’s about the fear you hve of forgetting to take your medication. And much more…
Petra, for me, was a representation of the type of people I want to surround myself with. They know I have epilepsy. They know I’ll need their help and they know how to assist me. They don’t treat me me any differently, nor do they let others treat me any differently. I have epilepsy and a seizure may or may not occur during a stressful situation. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. No need to be scared. No need to feel sorry for me. No need to apologize to me. Stress is just a part of life. That’s what Petra was saying to Jane. You just had to listen carefully between her words.