I’ve realized that for a while now, as I’ve been tackling my issues of trauma and dissociation in therapy, that I’ve been focusing on the painful, difficult memories. Not to say that this is bad, or wrong, and in fact I think it’s an important step toward healing and coming to terms with the painful aspects of ones past. However, I feel like I haven’t been given the good, positive memories their due recognition, and this is the reason for writing this post.
Within the last year, when I began thinking about my past – particularly my childhood – I began to realize how much I don’t remember. So even though some of these memories that I share here may seem incomplete, one of the main purposes for me is to get at the feelings behind the memories rather than getting caught up in trying to remember the details. (The details can be nice too, when they are there!)
~~First good memory – great-aunt and jacaranda trees~~
I have been told I was very close to my great-aunt D, my grandmother’s sister. I don’t actually remember her (I believe I was five or six when she died), and I really wish I did. Apparently we spent a lot of time together, and I’ve been told she loved me very much.
For some reason, whenever I think of her, images of jacaranda trees enter my mind. For those who are unfamiliar with them, here’s are a couple pictures I’ve taken of them within the last couple weeks. They will help give you an idea of how beautiful they are. As you can see, they have brilliant purple flowers.
I suppose having an association between my great-aunt and these trees isn’t a “memory” per se, but it makes me happy to know not all of her is lost to me.
~~Second good memory – Brandic the bird rescuer!~~
When I was five or six, I remember rescuing a bird at my school. This is the only memory of that school that I have. The little bird was right next to a chain link fence, and it was struggling to fly. I think its wing might have been hurt. All the other kids were walking right by it. I was with a friend, and I picked it up in my hands and I brought it to the school’s office.
To this day I wonder what happened to that little bird, and if it turned out okay. I’d like to think so.
I had quite a few objects as a child that I remember with fondness. I remember having Care Bear stuffed animals. I had a pink stuffed bear named Pinky who I loved. I had a stuffed animal lamb named Lamby whose stuffing was coming out and whose eye was falling off! I had this black stuffed animal dog that my own dog would always chew on which would make me horribly upset. Oh I also had this bear with its tongue sticking it that was wearing a blue and white striped shirt. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I remember that detail!!
I have a vague recollection of playing Candyland the board game. I imagine I must’ve played this with friends, cause I don’t have have any memory of my parents playing board games with me.
I had this childhood friend who lived down the street from me until I was about eleven or twelve, when she moved away. Even though I have next to no memories of my own family or my own home during this time, I have quite a few memories of hanging out with her, both outside in our neighborhood, and at her house. Her mom treated me like her second daughter. This friend and I had a car washing business. We would go door to door asking the neighbors if they wanted us to wash their cars for them. And at the risk of bragging, I think we did a pretty good job on those cars! We would take the money we made and walk into town and buy ourselves sandwiches from Subway. If we’d made “a lot” of money, we would order a Dominos pizza to be delivered! Cheese pizza of course!
Every summer I attended the same summer camp. It was outdoors in a wilderness area near my parents house. I remember quite a bit about it – playing in the creek, making lanyards, singing songs, playing connect four, swimming in the pool… We even did a “hike” through the underground drainage system that ran from where the camp was all the way to the ocean. Gross, dangerous, or perhaps scary you might think? Well looking back, it was totally gross, and probably quite dangerous. We were slogging for miles through god-knows-what (the camp counselors called it “mud”) in the pitch black of this underground run-off system with only the counselors’ flashlights lighting our path ahead. And when we made it to the “ocean” – which we couldn’t even access! – we had to turn around and slog all the way back! Well, to a nine year old (??) kid with an appetite for adventure, I’m sure to me it was the most amazing “hike” I’d ever been on!
I also have a vague recollection / hazy memory of a camp counselor one year who I became really attached to. It’s kind of like the memory of my great- aunt – I can’t really remember any details about her – but I know deep down she made a lasting impression.
Those are my “glimpses of good” from my childhood. Hope you enjoyed them 🙂