Eleven Ways of Looking at Memory
1. A darkened bedroom. Blinds drawn. Thick carpet underfoot and a bed, tall as me, with a frilly princess comforter. A voice from behind: "You wet that bed again, I'm going to beat your hiney."
2. A plastic baby doll with an umbilical cord protruding from its stomach. A woman explains that it's a newborn, and newborns are born with umbilical cords. I have a baby doll, too, but my baby is at home. All my stuffed animals are at home. There is only me, and this girl with her doll, in a house that is hers and not mine.
3. On the swings, pumping my legs hard. A baby toddles in front of me. I can't ground my feet fast enough to stop my forward momentum. I plow into him, hard. A woman rushes to comfort him, then fixes her eyes on me. "You hurt him," she scolds. "It's your fault he's hurt.
4. A loneliness so deep it threatens to swallow me whole. A longing for comfort that doesn't come. A toddler desperation in every present moment, a shrieky, tantrumy energy. I am not lovable these women do not love me I am bad and they know it.
5. "Since your present perceptions are linking into a memory network, if it contains an unprocessed experience, those encoded earlier disturbing emotions and physical sensations can arise, and whatever you're feeling is going to distort your perception of the present event." Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro
6. Tools: Cartoon character technique (negative self-talk). Wet eraser technique (negative images). Calm place technique (negative feelings).
7. Sedona, on spring break in red rock country. The little bed and breakfast with the one-room cabins and the sheep grazing out front. Porch swings and Anna Quindlen novels and gingersnaps all day.
8. Must be hard, as a mother, to take in other people's children to pay your bills. And maybe you can watch your own children at the same time but guilt hangs over you, because you can't give your own kids the love and attention they need.
9. When people ask: Why do you care so much? Why do you let it upset you? Maybe it's because I've accepted, from an early age, that I was less than everyone else. That I had to work hard to make those women not hate me. And every hurt or slight evidenced my impending abandonment.
10. "Let me emphasize that genetics and current situations needing to be dealt with can certainly be involved. The way our brains function because of a genetic load may make us more or less susceptible to the impact of different events. Our genes can also predispose us to developing different mental disorders if certain conditions are met. However, even in these cases a life experience is often needed to precipitate the symptoms, and other kinds of experiences can help combat them. We cannot change our genetics, but we can address our life experiences directly." Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro
11. Old thought: I am bad. New thought: I am worthy of love.