The new year always turns me into a cow – I ruminate. Thoughts of this, that, and the other drift across my consciousness, but at this time of year, I tend to focus on the past.
Maybe it’s the dark?
I’ve been taking an online course about brain development. It has a particular focus on problems that can arise during child development if there is abuse, negative life experiences, and bad parenting.
I’ve learned some of these things before, but this goes quite deep. I was reminded how very long ago biopsychology was. I’ve forgotten more than I realized, so I’ve learned a lot. I had quite a few warm feelings towards the course until we got to the first of three lectures on ACES – adverse childhood experiences.
The bit about the methodology of the study was interesting, as was the reason it came about in the first place. It started in an obesity clinic. You can read about it here. But once I got into the nuts and bolts of what qualifies as an adverse childhood experience, my enthusiasm waned.
Probably because I have so many. And the more you have, the worse things are likely to go for you in this life.
As a consequence of childhood trauma, I don’t remember things all that well. Traumatic memories take up all the bandwidth.
It’s why I don’t like questions like, “what’s your earliest childhood memory?” Too many of them are ugly.
At least I no longer get trapped in them, most of the time. Therapy may not make the memories go away, but it can teach you how to deal with them. I’m much better at pulling myself out of memories I don’t want to be in than I used to be, and these days I can do it without maladaptive coping skills like bingeing, purging, and cutting.
There are some memories, however, that I still enjoy.
My father’s old coat that smelled like cigarettes and had a satin lining that I loved to rub my face against. I’m a fan of certain textures.
My mother. These memories are harder to parse out. They’re numerous, and they parade through my mind like a sitcom clip show episode, minus the canned laughter. The memories of my mother are strongly tied to feelings and also more complicated than my feelings about my father, a function of the amount of time spent together, especially as a young child, I think.
I remember thinking she was so beautiful when she got dressed up to go out with my dad. I remember hoping I’d be that beautiful when I grew up.
I remember my bedroom at the house on Maple Avenue. We moved from there when I was eleven, and I was devastated. I had “Charlie’s Angels” stickers on the mirror. I was going to be Kelly Garrett when I grew up.
I remember all the bedrooms she made for me. People tell you they love you in all kinds of ways.
And I remember the woods. We always had woods near our homes, and I like to go for walks. The mind is quieter in nature, I find.
My early memories aren’t, therefore, my favourite. I prefer the ones that came later in life. My most favourite memory is from December 1999. It was a Saturday night. That’s when I met my son.