I often overheard my young mother say this in conversation with her friends, when I was little. She didn’t really mean it, nor she was conscious of the profound effect that hearing this had on me, on my early attitude towards children, and my decision if and when to become a parent in life. I have since “come to my senses”, and have placed the major saccharine mind F* k of my youth, right where it belongs. I adore her and forgive her. She had me when she was 19, she was a student and a starving artist. She would have temporarily entertained any idea which provided a seemingly dubious safety-net for me later on in life. Perhaps she said it out of fear, out of personal anguish or shame, temporary remorse, or she was just foolishly trying to impress someone. Most likely, she was carelessly, in my presence, jarring friends into equivocal or pettifogging coffee and cigarettes debate. It was the 70’s, and freely tossing around half digested, brilliant, flawed or absurd ideas was the zeitgeist for the thinker generation, the “nouveau astute” urban youth, her and her equally seduced contemporaries.
My mother was a war torn, asphalt repaired, cobblestone city kid. She was the casualty of the massively PTSD-ed, revolutionary, post war period, and a radioactive rise of quasi social consciousness, dazzled by vortexes of worldly ideas and philosophies, and a vast liberation from mind-oppression of the yore. She was deeply physically and psychologically wounded, from the womb, and through her youth, by an abusive, beautiful, angry, emancipated and cruel, alcoholic mother with a vicious, twisted temper.
Over the years I not only heard and lived trough stories of her abuse, but felt on subconscious, deep, emotional levels the pure anguish my mother experienced before she had me. Close to her death, she often said how I saved her life, and then kept her alive as long as she could will her exhausted body to muster, barely 49.
As karma should serve it, me, I ended up being a “child, the entertainment for the intellectual”, highly imaginative, curious, sponge like, smarty aqua suede pants of the 70’s, and a mini-me regurgitator of great philosophies, religions and poems, widely ranging from concepts of Carl Jung, trough poems of Baudelaire and Bukowski, and stories of Kafka, Dostoevsky, Poe and Hesse, over philosophies of Kant and Castaneda, singing and dancing along to Dylan, Doors, and Floyd… and bearing a nickname Kissinger. I was the most enthralling entertainment piece of my mother’s soirees, I was the amazing, beautiful, intriguing, mini expression of her.
I didn’t know or care what any of it meant, all I knew was that I adored her, she was everything to me, and when I did or said all those things, she was “present”, looking at me, she was nourished by me, healed and touched beyond her skin, it made her laugh, and feel proud, it made her feel love, it re-bandaged her wounds, it stopped the inner bleed, and created a moment of stillness in her, a moment of recognition and soul immersion with me.
As a child, I may have on some warped, absurd level become the entertainment for the poor, for her, my tortured, poor mother… but as an adult, I feel it is inconsequential, because all I ever cared about, from my time in her womb, from drinking her poisoned pain from her frighteningly malnourished, suffering body, was that as long as she was laughing, as long as she was looking at me, and I had her attention, the inexhaustible purgatory within her would dissipate, the acute pain inside her flesh would subside, the lights would be on, and she would be mine.