Forget about what you know or how things are in real life.
Your job isn't to document the truth. Your job is to make readers believe in your truth.
The difference between these two approaches is, in the first one you'll be held back by the facts, as backwards as it sounds. I know because I've been there. I've sunk countless hours into researching train schedules for T.U.B.E., and ballet terms, and historical Russian events in precisely 1989 when the story happens, and so on. This is what has restricted me from telling my story, and after we started working on it together with Erik, he helped me see it.
Now it's my turn, as your writing coach, to help you see it.
You may think that by sticking to reality you'll produce better fiction. That is not so. It's precisely the opposite that's true. By going as far away as you can from reality, and by inventing whatever it is you need to tell your truth, you'll offer such contrast to reality with your fiction, people will pay attention. People will read your story. And people will spread it.
Think of any story that's gone around the globe. It was so outrageously different and shocking and incredible, it made people talk about it and even made them believe it was THE TRUTH, didn't it? Harry Potter (books burned by churches, as if the books would bring witchcraft back). 50 Shades of Grey (people devouring it secretly, as if it was too dirty to read in public). Lolita (a literature gem depicting a pedophile's story, as if it was normal to glorify it). Frankenstein (a man made of dead people, as if it's what would be possible). Etc.
You can add your own examples in comments.
My point is, "Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story." It's what Erik has taught me. It has the wisdom of countless writers behind it. Listen to it and take it on. Your fiction will become that much stronger.