Soft White Underbelly

Soft White Underbelly. That’s the name of the YouTube channel that has me up at 0200hrs; I hardly ever sleep past 10pm. It’s one of those channels that just pops up on one’s suggestions, and you click on one video only to end up watching 10. Basically the channel features interviews with people who have been in “less than glamorous” occupations: strippers, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, hackers, mafia/gang leaders et cetera…you catch the drift.

Gritty stories to say the least. There’s this girl, Chyna, who’s now around 16/17, but entered prostitution at age 13! Age 13 god damn it! Where was I at 13? Still crushing Mary while trying to navigate my way around my final year of primary school. If I had any problems at age 13, they were largely self inflicted. Family life was. Strict but loving mother. Largely absent but “trying to put in the effort” father. Great extended family. It was all love. To imagine that someone at that age would be driven to a life of prostitution is just sad.

Realistically though, I don’t have to watch a YouTube interview of a girl in the Tampa, Florida to know how dark the world can get. Right here in this very Kenya a lot of children, girls and boys, are driven to the dark side of things: crime, prostitution, drugs, the whole shabang. I’m certain that within a 20 kilometer radius of where I live are young boys and girls who find themselves in situations that feel as though they have no choice but to engage in. The first interview I watched was of Selina. Selina’s mother was a methamphetamine addict, which led her to living with her grandparents. The grandparents both physically and sexually abused her, after which she ended up in the “system”, only to find herself in an adoptive home where the same was perpetrated by her “siblings”. And so, it almost seems natural that she would end up as a prostitute at age 16. She’s 20 now, but from all that she mentioned in the interview, it almost leaves you feeling like you haven’t really seen shit, you know? I’ve been in plenty shitty situations, no doubt, but nothing of that kind. Nothing as gritty and soul sucking as that.

Where was I at 20? Living a life full of debauchery…lots of consensual sex. Stress on consensual. Because hers wasn’t. She was doing it for money – most of which ended up in the pimp’s hands. Anyway, not much more to say about that.

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