You can check out the first part of this post, where I vaguely describe one side of my family issues, here.
As I said in that post, when I first listened to “Picture Book” by The Kinks, it caused a deep impact in me, it felt like some old crust was being ripped away from my skin because of all the secrets in my mother’s family, whose past is mostly unknown to me except for the old photographs left behind. But I didn’t go into details about the most immediate way this song hurt me, caused by some phrases sung out in the most jolly tune:
Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa, a long time ago…
Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they loved each other, long time ago…
Picture book, when you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago…
I indeed have pictures of my mom taken by my father a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean they make me feel like “sitting by the fire pondering on”. They are just a sad reminder of the family I didn’t get, (I’ve already talked about my untraditional nuclear family -eufemism alert- here, here, and here) and of the family my mother tried to build out of thin air, or rather in the place of a previous one.
And now, after meeting L, I’m getting to see a whole new bunch of pics that cause conflict within me, I get to the pics of the other family, or rather the real family. Also, I’ve had a chance to see the faces of family members whom I’ll most likely never meet, whom I’ve no right to be with. I was stripped from a family and yet I get to see them from the outside. And it hurts. But it’s not like I can help myself either, despite the limitations and the pain it may cause, of course I want to see those images, of course I want to hear stories about them. And I’m sure it’s not any easier for him. I too have shown him pics, that must’ve been a shock. To see pictures of his papa NOT taken by his mama a long time ago. Picture book, of dad with another family, to prove he loved them too, a long time ago.
I get that this song is quite nostalgic in itself, but when you mix that with a sad past to begin with, it’s a bittersweet feeling. What makes me feel better is that now that I’ve found this song again I didn’t feel such vulnerability listening to it, it was more of a reminder of how I felt the first time, so I guess I’m dealing with it.
Picture yourself when you’re getting on,
Sat by the fireside a-pondering on.
Picture book, pictures of your mama, taken by your papa a long time ago.
Picture book, of people with each other, to prove they love each other a long time ago.
A picture of you in your birthday suit,
You sat in the sun on a hot afternoon.
Picture book, your mama and your papa, and fat old uncle Charlie out cruising with their friends.
Picture book, a holiday in August, outside a bed and breakfast in sunny Southend.
Picture book, when you were just a baby, those days when you were happy, a long time ago.
Na, na, na, na, na na.
Na, na, na, na, na na.