Sweet Dreams are Made of Amnesia

life and love


I agree with all of these….the problem is, I have trouble with memory.  Not ALL memory, just long-term memories.  When you are a survivor of child sexual abuse and you develop certain coping mechanisms to accommodate painful memories – all the good stuff from that time gets wiped out too.  So I don’t remember the first day of kindergarten, but I have been told about certain funny school incidents that happened during that year, and have made that my “memory” of the year I turned five.  I don’t remember any birthday parties that happened when I was younger than 13, and pretty much – all of my “memories” from before that age are either school-related (because I am a geek) or are stories of my own life, told back to me.

Thankfully, the family of the predator left our family’s social circle at some point around my tenth birthday, and moved out of our town.  So I didn’t have to see him at all after that point, what a blessing!  Probably the reason why my real memories start at about that time.

An unintended positive side effect of this memory problem is that I don’t hold grudges.  I don’t hold on to negative stuff, like anger from getting hurt in relationships.  I don’t even pack it into boxes and store it away for a rainy day grudge-fest.  I see every mistake, fight, and conflict as either something that has been allowed into my life in order to make me stronger, or something that is so inconsequential in the light of eternity, that I should just “let it go.”  Any anger that I experience in the moment, is about that moment, to be turned over and examined and dissected and then released – like blowing on one of those puff balls from old dandelions.

An unintended negative side effect of this memory problem is that I don’t hold strict boundaries with people who are toxic.  I forget the previous year’s conflicts and try, try, try again.  It’s my own personal “Groundhog Day,” except that I am not the Bill Murray character, I am all the other characters in that movie.

There are worse things that can be said about a person, so I am satisfied that just like other character traits or quirks, there are two sides to every coin, and I’m not in a hurry to examine the boundary thing just yet.

I have other big things that I am working on. 🙂



Learning to Live with Solitude

Henry D T

It’s difficult for me to be alone.  I grew up in a family of ten, seventh in line.  Although I moved out when I was eighteen, after my first (failed) year at university, I only had one apartment by myself that whole time, and it was in the year before I married my husband.  We moved to Wisconsin and had two years to ourselves before we decided to host a Japanese teacher in our home and shortly after that, I was pregnant with our first child.

So basically, I’ve nearly always been in a full house.

It’s very hard for me to be alone.

Which is a conundrum for a writer, isn’t it?  It’s a requirement of writing that you focus, that you spend time alone, chewing over ideas, trashing old ones, starting over and cheering yourself on.  Solitude is the necessity of invention.

I have had to learn how to appreciate the companion of solitude, the necessity of being alone with my thoughts, ideas, and SELF.

Don’t get me wrong, I like myself!  I think that I have whole worlds tucked away in the folds of gray matter between my ears.  It’s the lack of background activity inherent in solitude that makes me somewhat nervous.  The requirement to focus only on one thing and to do it well is an alien concept to me.

When I went back to college in my twenties, I started papers way ahead of time, kept up with my reading, maintained well-organized notes on my campus ministry, all in an effort to manage my propensity for over-multitasking.  I recognized that I was easily distracted, especially when writing, and part of that was fear: fear that I wouldn’t finish a poem, a paper, an essay.  Fear that what I had to say was not conservative, focused, or serious enough.  Fear that I was not enough.

I suppose part of that fear came from being from a large, boisterous and intelligent family.  Nine of the ten of us are women, varying in appearance, interests, political stance, and communication style.  Many of us take after our father, and are prone to spontaneous verbal sparring, political arguing, and intelligent discourse.

In my quiet moments, in my solitude self, I am more like my mother: I worry about the state of the world, about things I cannot do anything about, about things I can do something about but don’t have the emotional margin to engage myself in, about things that aren’t (and are) my responsibility.  All of those things are a distraction from getting down to business and Writing.

It’s my goal for the next year to “Enjoy the Silence,” not only to increase my writing productivity, but to start to value alone time and silence.

Wish me luck.