I am frustrated by the fact that memories of my childhood largely escape me. I only have access to only a few scraps that I replay over and over in my mind. Other memories, are the byproduct of second-hand stories told during holidays to explain a photo saved in an old book; ‘remember the Christmas when you got the Easy-bake Oven’? Hmmm, vaguely, “Did I like it?”
My childhood was tricky for lots of reasons-more than I care to share on a public space. I have often thought about the connection of my lack of memory to my own highly developed (?) internal coping mechanism and how this coping mechanism has played out in my relationships, especially with men and my mother.
In the times when I fixate on my childhood to explain some adult crisis in my life, it is not uncommon for me to ask one of the only three friends that somehow know all the memories that I have forgotten: ” Where did I live when I was 14 again and why was that significant” or “Why do I react a certain way to a certain thing?” or more mundane questions such as, “How did I get this discoloration on my thumb?” or “what was the name of the teacher that I loved so much, you know- the one who called me blue bird?”
My own memories-the ones that I own first-hand, are more like Polaroid pictures. I can get access to one image at a time from a shiny pack which only holds a finite number of images. I often spread them out, touch a few of them with an inward eye and with a furrowed brow, try to make connections with other people’s’ memories of me. One of these memories (a feeling really) is of being helplessly trapped in bathroom door at nursery School. No one seems to remember the door. Was there ever a door? Was I ever trapped?