Monday, January 16, 2012

Memoir Monday

To the utter chagrin of my mother, I have very little memory of most of my childhood.
I have some pictures in my head, short moments in time, but if you were to ask me, "Do you remember . . ." my answer will almost always be "No."

After a year or two of therapy I have come to realize the reason for this stems from the constant state of stress and fear I felt due to my older brother.  Apparently when your body is in constant "fight or flight" mode, your brain is not really able to record memories of what is happening.  It's kind of like you are so busy just surviving that recording a memory of the moment would require too much extra energy.  I actually have a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, even though I did not suffer some kind of horrible abuse or fight in a war.  The tension that filled our house on a constant basis in combination with the random physical attacks directed at me from my brother was enough to traumatize me, causing me not to remember much.

And so I have decided that every Monday will now be dubbed "Memoir Monday."  Once a week I will look back into my childhood and attempt to describe pieces of it.  Feel free to join along!  If you want to try it, make sure to leave a comment so I can check out what you wrote.  I even created this nifty button for you to include if you want.

Today I will go back as far as I am able to remember and describe my first memory.  It isn't very pretty, but then what in life really is?

Snapshot:  Green trees and grass, sun filtering down,
filled with joy and pride as I lead everyone back home. 

Snapshot:  Sobbing, laying across my mom's lap in the little yellow powder room
off of the kitchen, her hands on my head.

Snapshot:  Sitting on the counter (checking out?) at the hospital, sucking on a lollipop.

In case you were curious,
this is what a railroad spike
looks like.  Pretty scary
looking, right?
And there you have it - my earliest memory.  I was two or three and my dad needed to borrow a railroad spike from our next door neighbor.  Don't ask me why he needed one or why my neighbor happened to have one because I could not explain it.  Just like I cannot explain why my dad allowed my five or six year old hyperactive brother to carry said railroad spike back from our neighbor's. 

I remember that I was in front, followed by my brother and then my dad.  Apparently, my brother threw the railroad spike at me and it struck me in the head.  I have no memory of the spike actually hitting me, though I know it did based on what my parents have since told me.  My mom says it "only" cut my head instead of penetrating deeper, but even just that cut bled like crazy.  When I came running home, screaming and crying, all she saw was blood all over my head and shirt.  She had no idea what had happened so my memory of her hands on my head was when she was searching my scalp to find out the source of the bleeding.

Based on what I've been told, my parents must have taken me to the hospital to get checked out.  The bleeding stopped while at the hospital so I did not need stitches.  I do not remember the drive to the hospital or the examination, but I do have that vague memory of sitting on the counter with the lollipop.

I have no idea what happened after that.  I would like to believe that my brother was punished and then forced to somehow make it up to me, but I can't remember him ever making anything up to me.  That is not to say that he never did, but I find it hard to believe it ever happened.  
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