This is the house I grew up in, shot from the back yard. When I tell people I was raised rich, they usually don’t believe me. I can hardly believe it myself, in general I just assume it true because I don’t have any other memories to substitute.
I went back there the other day, because the necessity arose- I never go there out of my own free will. I took the time to wander through the backyard and take a good look at the place I spent years, with different eyes.
I found it strange to notice that I didn’t really have any emotional response. I have it when I see my father or sister: you just relate them subconsciously to a certain feeling, a certain mindset. Not with this house: It feels like a totally new place that I just happen to know like the back of my hand. Bits and pieces of my youth come back to me, but as if I actually managed to turn my back on them (I didn’t realize I ever tried), they just didn’t mean much to me. I almost didn’t seem to mind forgetting about them.
Moments after this shot was taken, my sister showed me a video on the home computer there. Apparently, my father had managed to digitize old video cassette tapes (he enjoys that) and the file that she opened, showed a holiday we spent in France with friends, and… our mother.
I sat down and continued to watch. I recognized places vaguely, said names spontaneously that I thought I had completely forgotten. But when my mother entered the frame…I drew blank.
My first reaction was shock, although it didn’t last very long. I looked at this woman fascinated, as if I was told this was my mother, for the first time. Something inside my brain did not connect, because I grew up without it.
My mother passed away when I was 10, old enough to remember her. My younger sister remembers her more vividly though, I think she was more emotionally connected in the first place. I get the impression, though she doesn’t really tell and I don’t really ask, she really studied our mother when she was gone. She read her diary, made notes, kept photos, and even dug deeper in her relationship with our father. She still sees things, makes connections that I don’t.
Lately I’m starting to feel like I had no childhood at all. First, let me tell you that I don’t really mind: While most people are terrified of the idea of losing memories, they lose them daily and don’t feel any different- And neither do I.
Still… A child’s memory of his mother. Of his emotions linked to her. Simply forgotten? Common sense tells me it’s a tragic thing, and I do feel troubled by it. My present-focused living apparently came at the cost of something I initially considered a holy thing, and I didn’t realize until it was too late.
It was intriguing to see our mother. She was a beautiful woman but she didn’t dress very flattering. On the tapes, she doesn’t smile at all, just calmly looks around as if she was told to do so, the whole tape long. Some strange woman. My mother.
Painful truth is, I probably wouldn’t even recognize her if I saw her on the streets. I carry a picture of her in my wallet but she was a girl when it was taken.
What am I supposed to make of this? Was it the three other women in our house that destroyed the term “mother” as something positive? Did I betray her somehow by consciously wanting to distance myself from my weaknesses as a child?
This is my mother, for crying out loud. And what’s worse, those words probably mean a lot more to you than they do to me.
Disclaimer: I wrote these two entries with about 4 weeks in between.
So yeah, pornography.
Just like prostitution, it’s extremely hard to voice an opinion about it without seeming suspicious, because to admit that you have any knowledge about it is to suggest that you partake in it. They’re trying to pass a law here in Belgium that makes it illegal to visit a brothel (although prostitution is technically legal) and who dares to oppose it?
Back when the internet was on the rise, my girlfriend at the time wouldn’t have any of it. Not because “she should be enough” or it’s somehow immoral, but because it’s “woman-unfriendly” since they “never have orgasms”. And who was I to disagree? I was a good bitch and kept my mouth shut.
I don’t know the exact numbers but I remember reading somewhere that porno takes up 50% of the internet, and even more of its traffic. It’s a multi-million dollar business and obviously, it’s here to stay.
Who here can claim they have been successfully avoiding it all these years? Who can claim that they do in fact, know nothing about the whole concept? Not too many, I suspect, and most of that percentage will be women, although that’s an assumption on my part. It’s rising from its marginal image and nowadays, psychologists state it’s a normal part of our psyche and if a man gets caught with it, he should be patted on the head and given a cookie or something.
Seriously though; If we happen to be working or hanging out together, I will most likely respect you but that kind of stops where you start talking about your porno habits. I know it’s socially acceptable and in some circles even encouraged, but I rather do not know about your masturbation rituals. Don’t recommend me any sites, don’t blurt out pro terms whenever reminded, and do. not. explain your favorite genre to me. In fact, and this is disturbing, I will mind less hearing about your actual sexual exploits than your online ones, perhaps because then, I feel less involved in them.
What we do lack, is some research about the long-term effects of pornography. I remember reading about a case of Russian mineworkers who had to work away from home months on end. For entertainment, they were given porno mags. When they came home a year or so later, their wives didn’t know what the fuck was going on: They had never heard of the things their husbands had grown accustomed to. Imagine the horror. And the comedy.
I am quite sure I know more about sex than I would have if I didn’t have internet, although arguably I might be getting laid more then (worth testing). So what’s going to do this to our children? As we speak, there is a generation of children growing up who can satisfy every single bit of curiosity towards sex –and then some- without even having to come near each other. I mean, I’m relieved I won’t have to break out the hand puppets when my kid turns 14, but has anyone considered what this might do to their development?
Also, and I suppose I’m in the yellow zone saying this, there’s some seriously conflicting situations when putting fiction and reality side by side. Some things might seem perfectly normal for internet users but are way “out there” for those not involved with porn. Recently there was this woman on Ted.com, author of makelovenotporn.com (semi-sfw and very funny) listing a whole series of things that might not come across as awesome as it looked on yesterday’s porn vid.
Back into the comfort zone!
Now that sex is sold more than ever before, it’s getting harder yet still surprisingly easy to ignore.
And where am I in this discussion? That’s for me to know and for you to google.
Oh look, a different subject.