Moving forward into more mature years, I wonder often as to why my life never really settled down and became the type of existence that most guys my age have, i.e. a wifey, a career, a mortgage and a couple of kids. There are many theories that I've come up with, most obvious being this one:
After being abused growing up by a controlling and vicious power, I was petrified of putting myself into the same situation, or of bringing people into the world who might suffer the same.
But there's another theory that gels just as well.
It has been established that in childhood we experience things that affect our emotional state for the rest of our lives. The medula oblongata is imprinted with an emotional tattoo that means you react, be it positively or negatively, to similar situations in future. The doctrine of cerebral precedent. This can be something as awful as being sexually abused, or something as trivial as being frightened by a spider. I still remember busting a spider's web covered in dew, outside our caravan in Black Rock,
Wales at when I was about 3 years old. What to me was a very pissed off tarantula dropped on my hand as if to say "Hey you vicious little git!!! That's my house!" My arachnophobia began.
Other things happen to us in adolescence however, that can change how we feel. Problem is that they don't get absorbed into our growing process, indistinguishable from each other as they are part of who we are. Adolescent imprints are there with all the arrogance, petulance and anger of a teenager...but they last a lifetime without due care and attention.
I still have a problem talking to women I don't know. Especially pretty ones. I've been told this isn't obvious but it is still lurking at the back of my mind. This is from being a teenager and from one or two incidents where cute girls laughed and took the piss out of me for asking them out. I'll repeat that. One or two incidents. Not loads. BUT...my fragile ego and libido couldn't take it and played these incidents up to be much bigger than they really were.
Then we get to fear of confrontation. Again, getting bullied from age 11 to about 16 had a profound effect and made me twitchy, paranoid and insecure. A friend of mine said recently in the pub "You're always looking around like you're afraid someone's going to thump you."
Then we have the other stuff. I can be very lazy, because I remember the luxury of staying in bed till 11 or 12 on a weekend when I was 15.
Then there's the love of violent computer games. Call of Duty: World at War has a "Nazi Zombies" level that has undead entrails flying about everywhere (best weapon is the trench gun...well worth 1500 credits).
The love of comics, the love of wasting time on the computer, the love of wearing T-shirts or caps with the names of my favourite movies on them.
The list goes on.
Most serious of all is that I've recently realised I have a decidedly adolescent attitude to sex.
It was 2 weeks before my 20th birthday that I lost my virginity. Experience was grim to say the least. In my mind I thought I always had to be a warrior of the erection. Unwilting, spontaneous and "up for it." With the stamina of an athlete and the ability to delay cumming until the lady was just getting over her 4th or 5th orgasm. I had to be G.O.O.D in bed.
I genuinely believed that the key to a fulfilling sex life was to want sex as often as possible and be like a secret agent of lurrve. Always ready for a quick bonk and with a libido to match Peter North. I was there to impress and the adolescent mindset was that a true soldier of semen was someone who didn't shirk from his obligation to prove his mettle with a minge.
As I move ever onwards it's taken some self reflection to realise that shagging wasn't everything and some things were more fun. I've had good sex, bad sex and indifferent sex but it was always an adolescent imprint that made me believe that it was something I should feign being awesome at. Like being a tough guy or liking soccer, something boys are just expected to do.
It's hard to feel accepted in society, or at least it seems that way. Some supposed "norms" are expected and one I believed had to be followed was that young men want to shag a lot. I've always had a high sex drive but can make do without quite comfortably.
Passion can burn very deep but when that is gone, there is usually a settling into a life of calm and gentler things. Those of us who don't go down that road are usually left isolated and lonely, because we don't get to see what that life would have been like.
We are imprinted as adolescents.
Time to break the mould.