I Remember the Day … or do I?

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I’ve recently found a writer online who had MPD, Multiple Personality Disorder. She has been able to integrate these personalities and is doing quite well, especially considering the absolute Hell of her childhood.

She and I have had a few short conversations about being abused as a child and having mental illness, hers is Bi-polar and mine Depression and Anxiety Disorder, and these discussions have me thinking, remembering some of the things that took place in my life.

I have a difficult enough time navigating present day challenges that I rarely think about the past, on purpose, at least. I have written a few articles about the subject of abuse, experienced as a child and as an adult, but for the most part, I just don’t “go there” intentionally. I do have memories that pop up every once in a while – some would call it PTSD, I suppose, but not all of the memories are all that bad.

What I do not have is memory of my childhood, other than snippets, from birth to around nine years old. What I mean by this is, I hear other people recounting simple things like, “Oh I remember the Chirstmases in our home when all of the relatives would come and we would have a lovely dinner …” or “I remember when I was six years old and got my first bike …”

I’ve tried to discuss this with my sister, my only source of information, but she is very reluctant to remember anything from our childhood and gets upset if I question her. She has helped me remember a few things though and she has corrected some things I thought I remembered. A couple of years ago I mentioned to her that I can’t seem to remember any of my birthdays and she casually told me that is because they were not celebrated. I was dumbfounded and pushed for more information. “No parties you mean?” She repeated, they were not celebrated, no party, no cake, no presents, nothing. My heart began pounding and I was furious! Not even a friggin cake? I mean how much effort would that of taken? And what does that say to a child that no one is happy that you were born? You’d think that they could at least pretend to celebrate the day – I mean I remember eating cake at other times, don’t I? I know we ate pie. My mother’s pies were famous. No cake, huh, no balloons, no presents, certainly no parties. Okay then, that would explain no memories.

But Christmas, I have a vague memory of a Christmas. They, my mother and the man that was allegedly my father and my sister’s stepfather, took us with them when they shopped and I ruined my surprise because I peeked though the aisle and saw my mom holding a clown puppet – at least I think it was a clown. My sister was surprised by her gift – boy was she – a lousy, stinking , Webster’s Dictionary! What a crappy present to give a ten year old girl, especially if that is to be your only gift. That would explain why I have only one memory of Christmas until I was eleven and mom and I were living on our own by then. She seemed to get better as I got older. She had my sister sent away for being a delinquent and the father left with one of his mistresses so she had less to upset her by then.

I do have memories of our pets. We always had dogs and cats and they were my friends, usually my only friends, because we moved constantly and being the new kid is not conducive to being very popular. We also had a violent chicken, which probably suffered from some degree of mental illness like the rest of the family – well, it could happen! All I know is our Uncle gave us girls this Easter chick that quickly grew into a large nasty chicken and this chicken hated me! We didn’t have indoor plumbing in the house we lived in at the time and this damned chicken would lay in wait for me to have to use the outhouse and then chase me, pecking at my heels until they were bloody. I am terrified of anything larger than a sparrow to this day if it isn’t in a strong cage!

I have only a couple of memories of the dad. I seem to have this memory of getting up to use the bathroom while it was still dark out. He was shaving and I was mesmerized by the process. I don’t remember any interaction with him other than he let me watch for a while and it seemed nice, like we had shared a moment or something. I didn’t know what I had missed not having a father daughter relationship until seeing my husband with his daughter. We had his son and daughter for a visit and were watching a scary movie. He was in his overstuffed chair and she was next to me and her brother on the couch. She looked at her Dad with big frightened eyes and with the slightest nod of his head she went straight for him. She sat on the floor between his feet and he leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her. She was too old to sit in his lap or I’m sure that’s right where she would have been. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach and a new whole opened in my heart. Man, what would that be like? Imagine having a big strong Father you could just look at and they would be right there to protect you from fears, to comfort you? Amazing!

But, back to this whole remembering thing. I’m fairly certain that I don’t have years upon years of repressed memories since some of the things I do recall are horrific enough it seems they would qualify for my brain to stick them into a compartment somewhere deep inside of my brain. And what if there are a bunch of repressed memories? What possible good could come from knowing about them at my advanced age?

I guess the main thing that has come from this remembering is that an act of omission can be as damaging to a child as an act of commission. We learn to value ourselves by feeling valued and if that doesn’t happen, full development of a person probably doesn’t happen. I have despised mediocrity as long as I can remember and would rather someone hate me then ignore me, so I have another piece of the puzzle. If I remember, or think I remember, anything else, I’ll let you know.

In the mean time, make sure you celebrate the people in your lives and let them know you’re really glad they are part of your life.

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Comments 13 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Hi Pooh. This is such a sad Hub and my heart hurts for you. In my own life, I have come to believe God has given me a gift in forgetfulness. I remember such horrors that traumas worse might be my undoing.

As we treasure the sweet memories (your dad shaving) and leave the pain in the past, we learn our value in Christ. God values you as His precious child and I as my precious friend. Love to you, Hyphen.


danielleantosz profile image

danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

I can relate, at least a little with the part about asking your sibling for information. My biological mother left when I was very young, and it has been difficult to talk to my brother about it. I am glad that you seem to be finding peace with your childhood as an adult.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

It's difficult to imagine growing up that way. I'm a big believer in the old ways of staying married so the children can have the security and love of a natural father and mother.

I'm ashamed to say that I cheated my sons out of that, due to my own, immature selfishness. You can't go back and fix it.


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge Author

Hyphenbird, danielle and big brother Will - thanks to you all for reading. I do not feel bad about things I remember and am not sad about them, only curious about how different upbringings can shape and mold a person if you don't get them out, look at them for what they are and then deal with them in whatever manner you need to. My mom did the best she could at the time, I realize that and she struggled so with her own existence that she just didn't have much to give in the way of parenting.

I do feel a sort of longing for not having had a father figure of much use but then having an abusive one, around full time, would have been much worse I'm certain! These are just some of my ramblings and writing about them often starts discussions and gets other people thinking.

I appreciate your reading and your comments!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...well I always come here to admire your writing Miss S - as you walk the walk and talk the talk - love your sensitivity and your perceptive style - this is your hallmark as a writer and a thinker - and believe me it's always a pleasure to learn from you too - I sincerely hope all is well with you these days and here I sit by my sunny but cold November lake sending you warm wishes and good energy at lake erie time 12:40pm ontario canada


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge Author

In keeping with my own suggestion, let me say Colin, that I am very glad you are part of my life! You are such a dear, sweet man with an imagination that is rivaled by none and you spread love and joy where ever you go! Thank-you for stopping by here!


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Your childhood was a difficult one. God Bless You Precious Heart.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Pooh, I have always admired your courage, your honesty and sensitivity. I think this integrity you have, your openness, and the desire to explore and to understand, are just a few reasons why you are such a good writer. Thank you for sharing this with us. Hugs.


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge Author

Ah Genna, a visit from you is always most welcomed. I can't imagine being any other way than open and honest when looking at my life. It does no good to pretend, it was what it was, and that wasn't all bad. I learned some very important lessons that have served me well along this journey and I hope my "exploring" may just touch a chord here or there and open up another heart to forgiveness and understanding. So good to "see" you!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Poohgranma, You have certainly been through a lot! It has not been in vain... It translates to a depth of compassion that comes forth in your writings! You are a wonderful strong courageous woman...! I pray that you all have a Wonderfully Blessed Christmas building more Great priceless memories!

Thank You for sharing your heart! In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! GOD BLESS YOU!


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge Author

I have not been through so much, but as you know, His MERCY does bring us through! I have learned so many valuable lessons in my life and God has always been the teacher. He promises He will never leave or forsake us and He never does!!! And He uses what was meant for harm for the good of all who love and obey Him, to show His goodness and His ways. I can learn how not to treat others by recognizing what made me feel less than, I can be kind when I understand what unkindness felt like. God is GOOD all of the time!!!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Poohqranma, Amen! Nothing goes unnoticed by the LORD! And YES! He will work "what was meant for harm for the GOOD of ALL who Love & Obey Him!" Be encouraged as you encourage others! This is why we are able to "Overcome evil with GOOD!" YES! As you say "GOD is GOOD all of the time!" May He continue to Bless & Keep you in HIS Love, & care! May He continue to strengthen you and may His Favor & Peace rest upon you!


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi Pooh,

Thank you for sharing this part of your life. There is a period of my childhood (years) that I do not remember. Sometimes I've thought about it and tried to figure it out. But I've never pushed hard figuring if it was something I should remember, it will come to me. Sometimes, I think I remember some stuff because of photographs. But photographs are usually of happy times, hmmmm . . . Hope all is well with you!

Sharyn

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