When I was first sent to boarding school I was so excited. Soooo excited. Excited. Excited. Excited. After all it would be a full thirty years before some kind soul laid their hand on my shoulder and reminded me that the closest comparisons in the literature were the Nazi’s concentration camps with which I would become fascinated without quite knowing why….
We’re sending you away…
I was being honoured. Honoured, it was a great priviledge. One that would make me a man. ‘Its the best school in the country,’ my father told me proudly, the specks of spittle dancing in the corners of his mouth. Oh, my God, how fantastic. My manhood! A noble and proud and superior manhood was now my sure inheritance.
In my final year of incarceration one of my few friends in that place asked me, ‘Andy, do you remember the first thing you ever said to me?’ ‘No.’ ‘Fuck off’.
Start as you mean to go on. How else does the entirely unprotected field the daily maelstrom of feral teenage boys, entirely deprived of feminine contact, fed on inflated visions of their moral ascendency over the entire world whilst desperatly hiving off the underlying shame, humiliation and rejection of being sent away by torturing one another on a more or less continuous basis.
We’re sending you away…..
to play a game, one where you get to be the lords of the universe who will know themselves by being treated as scum and treating one another as scum, where kudos and pride are measured in caprice and malice and you get to know just how much we love you by having nothing to do with your growing up.
By the time I was fourteen I had been beaten with sticks, whips, cricket bats; sexually molested, felt up, and forced to publically have sex with my own bundled bedding. Is that rape? Yes it is.
But then something really weird happened.
I was in afternoon prep. I got called out by the housemaster and motioned to follow him to his house down the hall. I went. He invited me in and closed the door. We went through to the dinning room. He motioned me to sit. I sat. He went away, then came back with a slice of cake on a plate and a glass of coke. ‘It’s your birthday,’ he said, giving me this information as you might assert that Mogadishu is the capital of Yemen.
He put the things down and went away. I ate the cake in silence. Then I drank the coke. Then I waited. Then I got up and left.
I couldn’t think straight for days and that cake repeated on me endlessly until I realised that the reason I was choking so much on my gift was that it meant the very best I could hope for in this marvellous world of priviledge was a moment to be envied by everyone else in a room so empty I could hear the echo of my own heartbeat.
Why is this important?
Because the best people going to the best schools of the best religion generally turned out rather badly. And then they run the country.
I just heard ———— ——– killed himself.
”Last seen in his car…..”
I trawled through his face book page trying to make sense of it. But it already made perfect sense. A narcissistic bully, fed all his life on the myth of his unbounded superiority, entirely invested in power to compensate the desperate and terrible insecurities engendered in being sent away, the worthlessness, the shame, the horror of a world where rape was normal, suddenly got to the point where his denial and compensations ran out of their batteries and as ever with the narcissist if he could not have his quota of being better than, tough at 50, then what else was there but to blow his brains out?
His brother was a terrible bastard. He would walk up and down the line of us little fags in his study, stripped to the waist, up and down, up and down, eventually lashing out violently at … who knows, someone, maybe you, maybe..no-one. Up and down. Whose turn today? If not in the morning then maybe in the evening. I wound up in the sanatorium, not with bruises but, as I discovered much later, hysterical blindness bought about by acute, ongoing terror.
We’re sending you away….
This blog is a forum to explore the reality of the grown up children who, one way or another, were sent away, rejected or violated. It is also about how we are taught to send away, reject and violate – the underbelly of Western Civilisation.
My book,’Going Mad to Stay Sane’, about to have its third edition published, explores the legacy of parents who either invade or abandon their children and what those children can do to re-member themselves.
See the post of the same title below to preorder.
Coming out for the first time later in the summer is ‘Abundant Delicious, the secret and the mystery’, which shows how we can use our woundedness to discover who we are and celebrates the capacity and responsibility of the human spirit to triumph in the face of the greatest adversity, the split reality of a divided world.