For a long while now I have purposefully been thinking about my past. Experiences I’ve gone through, things I have done, moments I haven’t thought about in years.
Memories of a childhood long forgotten and how it was. Or how I remember them and if that remembrance is true or not. Every memory we have has a slightly tainted viewpoint because we experience life from a place that has so much connected to it.
How you are feeling at the time about yourself, your life, your family, what you’re doing… and so many other things. The influence of others in what you feel and what you think. Your perception of what is going on, your perception of yourself, family etc; your overall perception plays a pivotal role in how you remember those moments in time.
To be honest, I can’t remember a lot from my childhood. I can’t remember my parents sitting all 3 of us down and telling us they are divorcing. I can’t remember how they were as parents, there is only a feeling left in its place. I can’t remember my mum reading to me as a child or putting me to bed and tucking me in. I can’t remember if they beat me the way they did my sister. There is nothing but blackness and the overwhelming feeling of never being truly loved.
But as a few memories fade in and out I wonder if they are the whole truth or the truth of all of the above. The truth that I put onto them. Was my childhood really that bad or did I make it worse than it was because I believed so deeply that I was so unlovable?
Sadness washes over me as I do motherly things with my daughter. I often wonder if my mum did those things. Did my father do them? I have very few memories of my father being a father. Only one when I was home sick from school. He popped up to the shops, leaving me alone for a little while watching television and he brought me back a colouring pack with colouring books and pencils. It’s really the only thing I can remember of him doing something nice for me. There probably are others but where are they? I do get frustrated that I can’t remember.
Why can’t I remember? Have I blocked them out or has something else taken them away?
I need to remember. Any ideas on how I can get these memories back? I know they are in there. I just can’t seem to reach them.
It makes me feel… well, a little lost. Detached. Uncertain.
Was my childhood so bad that I somehow decided to lock those memories away forever?
I really don’t think anything major happened. There was nothing traumatic physically. More mentally and emotionally. I guess I dealt with it in my own way. The only way a sad little girl could.
I am filled with a longing to know. I often wish I had an eidetic memory. But do I really want to remember everything?
What does this mean for me, now, though? It feels like there is something in this. But, what? Is there a specific memory I am trying to reach? Or is it that I am simply wanting to reconnect with who I was as a young girl?
I think that is probably it. I want to remember who I was back then and how I came to be such a self-loathing teenager then a woman.
That hate and that hurt destroyed my life. For such a long time I was unable to truly enjoy my life. The parts of my past I do remember are filled with that hate and that hurt. They prevented me from recognising all of the good stuff in my life and in me. I couldn’t see past the hate and appreciate what a wonderful life I was actually living. I have done some amazing things in my life and I have no idea how they came to be. Maybe someone was looking out for me after all?
I know it is not advisable to live with regret and to allow that regret to eat away at you but I feel really sad for not enjoying myself more. For allowing the misery to be all that I saw. Even when the most amazing things were happening to me. Things I had wished for, things I had wanted for a very long time, things I never thought could actually be mine but they were.
I live with that regret but I do not wallow in it. It will consume me if I do.
It really is hard to convey how this makes me feel. Have you felt something similar? That sadness and regret for a life you should have lived but instead, you sat in a not-so-good feeling instead of revelling in the greatness of what you are and what your life is?
That’s why I am doing all I can to change that. To pull myself out of that shitty-ness and feel better about myself in the moment of what is happening for me. What life is happening for me.
It’s fucking hard though. Hard because this is how I have become. It is easier for me to stay in the misery than to get out of it because it is what I know. It is all I know how to do. I have trained myself to be this way.
We do that. As humans. We want to change but it is so much easier to stay in how we are than take the time and effort to become what we want to be. No matter how much we want it.
But I am taking the time and the effort. I am making a conscious decision to pull myself out of that whenever I find myself in it. Which, thankfully, is not that often these days and when I do fall into my easy ways I can get myself out much quicker.
As I sit here writing this so many memories are popping into my mind. Not from my childhood but from my life as a woman. I got to travel quite a bit and do some amazing things. They are showing themselves to me now and the feeling I get when I think about them is so warm and loving and filled with the most potent sense of gratitude.
I always wanted to visit New Orleans and it was made possible by the family I was nannying for many years ago. They also made it possible for me to live on the Hudson River with the most beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. I never appreciated any of that at the time. No, I did. I just wasn’t able to articulate it properly to myself or to them.
Now as I think about all of that I am moved to tears. Not of regret but of love and appreciation. Of gratitude for what I was able to have in my life. It was so fucking awesome to live in an apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey on the Hudson River and wake up to see Manhattan every morning. To walk out of the building and down to the pier and be in awe of where I was. I want to transport myself back there right now and feel this feeling as I am there.
Not every memory is full of hate. Maybe if I think of the really good ones then it will make the regret easier to dissolve.
It’s ok to feel the sadness as well as all of the good ones. We’re often told the “bad” feelings should be left behind. “Only think and feel happy”, they say. Yet, when we do that we are denying that part of ourselves. Feeling sad or angry or disappointed is not wrong. They need your attention just as much as the “good” feelings do.
(Well. This has taken a turn I didn’t expect. I guess that’s what happens when you just let yourself go and be free with how you feel. This is a diary after all. What I wanted to focus on was how our memories have feelings attached to them that may not necessarily be the whole truth and explore my own experience with that. I think Livvy had other plans. This has brought something out in me that I haven’t felt for… I don’t know how long. This feeling of love and gratitude is peaceful. Its… comforting. It’s familiar. I like it. I certainly haven’t had enough of it.)
As I leave you with this final thought I want you to begin looking back at your memories and ask yourself if the feelings you have attached to them are the whole truth? Could you ease up a little about them? Turn your feelings around? Or are your feeling absolutely justified? Only you will know the answer.
Only you can know what is the truth and what isn’t. But remember. We all have different truths. We all experience the exact same moment in different ways. Your brother or sister will remember it differently than you and that doesn’t mean they are wrong or you are wrong. Be open to their memory and the feelings they have attached to it.
Release that feeling and let it go. It will liberate you.
Until next week, continue Raising Love.