I did something in my last blog that I promised myself I would not do during this journey. I did a little creative writing. There is so little that is real or concrete to me that I know I must keep these posts as truthful as anyone’s truth can be. There was a little fiction and filling in the blanks when I wrote about writing letters and writing blogs. I feel the need to correct that.
You see, this is a depiction of how I imagine it went, because I have no memory of this particular correspondence with my mother and with (G)od. I was told by family members that this happened – me writing these two letters and slipping one under my mother’s bedroom door and slipping one in the collection box at church. There is no memory to go with this story. I have been told all my life that I am a good writer and relatives would share letters I had written to them. I would look at the stationary and recognize my printing and my cursive writing as I got older. The contents of the letter and who I wrote it to would kindle no enlightment. I never tire of reading what I write because it is new to me every time.
I can do that with books, too. Every time is a discovery and a first-time exposure to that author or plot. Not so much with movies…
I presented that piece about writing blogs being similar to writing personal correspondence as a real event that I experienced. However, it really is just a story that was told to me. There are a lot of those stories. Let me share another one.
I took the fire poker and hit my older sister over the head with it. I was young and short in stature at the time, so the wallop did not have a lot of power behind it, and she was not hurt. In addition to my lack of strength preventing any real injury, sister was having her hair dried while wearing a soft bonnet that was all puffed up with air and the rollers beneath the plastic cap were large and spongy. The poker kind of bounced off I am told. As I have no memory of this event, but the rest of my family remembers it clearly, it is one of those stories that has been repeated over and over. I had nothing to offer to the story because it is an empty space to me. When I approached adulthood, and to this day, I defended myself by saying I must have had a damn good reason.
I want to get this phenomenon across. It is not just long ago memories that escape me. Remembering who said or did what even a week ago is just not possible. When I am confronted with any kind of post mortem about a prior conversation or event I draw a complete blank. Then, when someone says to me “you said this,” or “you did that,” I am in a void. I cannot agree. I cannot disagree. I cannot explain where I was coming from at the time. I play the willing victim so well in these situations. There is no personal reality or experience embedded in my psyche on which to draw information. So whatever others say becomes fact.
Long story short, I avoided interacting with people at all costs, unless I could find a way to document every detail (the tape recorder), or communicate in such a way that there could be no interpretation other than my own (pen to paper). This I did with everyone – family, friends, and coworkers. It is such a burden to determine what is real and not real in relation to others when I have no memories. I have given up. I go months without speaking to anyone in any depth. It can be done. I have learned how to survive day-to-day without contact or conversation. When it becomes essential to engage in a longer conversation or relationship to address a particular need, there is a lot of preparation and performance anxiety. The aftermath of these interactions is days of rehashing and regurgitating the experience. My mind will not shut down and let me be. The anxiety overcomes any sense of self when I am required to deal with a prior shared experience or conversation. I never see it or hear it or remember it in the same way as the others involved.
I do believe this is the closest I have come to describing my greatest disconnect with reality, but I haven’t gotten it quite right. I am aware there are others with more serious and devastating challenges. I can get very angry at myself for being so egocentric and self-centered. I know it is not all about me.
I am exhausted now. I must stop.