So, here I am sitting in class, Introduction to Creative Nonfiction, otherwise known as CRW 209. My professor has decided that we will use class time each Wednesday to write. This is great for me, because even though I write in my journal daily, you have probably noticed that I still have trouble finding time to blog. She gives us a prompt, and today the other students are writing about a time long ago when they were slighted. That’s not working for me, so I am going to write about something else.
It’s not that I have never been slighted, because I do live as a human, with other humans, and that’s what we do to one another whether we mean to or not. It’s just that I don’t remember it. I don’t remember much at all. I remember fearing for my mother’s life. I remember fearing for my own physical safety. And I remember what other people tell me. I also remember people, either their name or their face, but rarely both, and never what we did together. And that’s pretty much it, up until a couple of years ago.
More times than I care to recount, I have re-met someone I used to know, and had to try to ferret out information on just how familiar I am supposed to be with this person. How much do they know about me, and more importantly, what do they remember that I do not?
I don’t remember hanging out with my cousins as children, I just know that I did, and I know I love them. Until one of them says some little thing that becomes a trigger. And then, I have some of my life back. Yesterday, as part of another discussion, Sarah mentioned Barbie clothes. Back in the day, Grandmother made three matching sets of Barbie clothes: one for me, one for Sarah, and one for my unsister. And now, by virtue of that passing reference, those Barbie clothes that my grandmother made for us are not just relics in my childhood closet, but tangible items related to the playing of Barbies with my cousin. No, I still don’t remember playing Barbies with her. But I know I played with Barbies, because I still have them. And she remembers playing Barbies with me, so I must have played them with her. Therefore, her memory of playing Barbies with me becomes a fact that I can store and call a “memory”.
Whatever, it’s what I’ve got, and I manage to work with it. What else am I going to do? I’m 44 years old, and I must have gotten here somehow. Clearly, I have a past….I just don’t know where I filed it.