Professor Green: Are we all f*cked?
In his latest stunning column Stephen Manderson writes about the impossibility of escaping your past as you struggle through the present. Heavy and intense work by The Book of Man's columnist.
Are we all fucked?
I’m not just being provocative.
Some of us are less so than others, perhaps, but nevertheless we are all some level of fucked.
Having children is a responsibility. You don’t just owe it to your child to raise them properly, you owe it to the world – not to introduce it to yet another person who, thanks to you, is fucked.
But maybe the world has fucked you. Maybe your parents did. Absent parents, overbearing parents, careless parents, emotionless cyborg Theresa May-like parents. Immoral parents. Damaged parents. Fucked parents. Parents fucked by their parents, who were perhaps fucked by their parents. And so on.
In the same way it can take generations to see the social effects of a political decision on society, a family trauma can too last generations. It makes me wonder just how many generations of crap, of struggle, of unhappiness, are tied up in my DNA. Just how much do I have to undo? And is it undoable at all? It’s a headache in itself. And are we all fucked?
I thought there would be a magic age where all ties with childhood traumas were severed. All of a sudden I’d be able to get beyond the contradiction of letting go of the past, being present, while learning from your mistakes. How can you do all three? How can I let go of my past but learn from it?
Knowingly or not we are all the product of it – of our childhood, of our parenting, of our ups and of our downs. And who really wants to spend time taking a long hard look at themselves when they’d much rather be looking for validation?!
Validation in attention from women, from men, from parents, from teachers, from friends, from gangs, from sex, from things, or last, but by no means least, from Instagram. Instagram is a column all of its own.
Suicide has had a huge impact on my life. Firstly negative and more recently positive – I’ve been able to help many people who wouldn’t have otherwise spoken out. I’ve had messages from people telling me I’ve saved their lives. Me?
I think about suicide a lot. And life. Life: something you don’t ask for, that you’re given without any say in the matter and then have to deal with. With whatever fuck ups for parents you have, off the back of whatever fucked up parents they had and even further back than that. Traits of your father’s grandad probably still present in your father, good or bad, and are now probably present in you. Life. Fucking life. Not to mention it’s temporary. As humans we rattle around trying to find a purpose until we die, no one ever having figured it out – it doesn’t seem to be in our DNA like a tree’s is in a seed. We don’t know what branches we’ll grow or even if we’ll flower. It’s enough to send a man mad really, isn’t it?
“I’m here! Cheers mum and dad, what the fuck do I do now!?” Furthermore: ”Where have you gone?! Mum?! Dad?!’ I know I’m an adult now but give us a hand will ya!?”
Our approach to reproduction, possibly closest to bonobos’ and thankfully nothing like bees’ (for the men, it’s quite explosive – I’ll let you Google why) isn’t always that classy.
We have alcohol, drugs, and “get your coat you’ve pulled.” This pulling sometimes results in babies – then you have really fucked up parents because you’re the product of drunken carelessness. You’re a mistake. You’re fucked.
Present parents can do as much damage as absent parents. Sometimes kids have kids, and kids have to be the adults. Some of us as adults, normally when we lose control of our temper, revert to children.
Life is a gift, life is precious, you only get one, so make the most of it.
But what if it’s just…shit?
Life is a responsibility. Yours ideally. Your parents’ up to a point. The point where all the damage done to you as a child that’s a reason for your behaviour, just becomes an excuse – because your life, your behaviours, your person is now your responsibility. But it’s a huge one.
So do you take responsibility for yourself or not?
Illustration by Berta Vallo.
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