Funny what we remember and what we don’t in the moment.
Friday night is curry night in our house, last Friday we were in the ‘Taj Mahal’ where, despite the rather clichéd restaurant name, the food is always top line. A conversation ensued with one of my daughter’s friends who testified to being a huge Miley Cyrus fan (teen pop queen for those not familiar). My daughter chipped in that we’d seen her perform live a few years ago, which was strange because for a moment I couldn’t remember that happening.
“Oh my goodness Mum, its in your book, how could you forget that!” she responded to my glazed look.
She was right, in the opening chapter of my memoir I write about being at a Miley concert with my girls; it was important to me because it marked a time when I suddenly realised we were happy and settled in Houston. This in turn was significant as it followed a period of prolonged personal challenge after we arrived in Texas, including a depressive episode.
How strange that I didn’t remember that in the Curry House? Or was it? And interesting how the mind seems to shut down or disable some memories. I kept a journal during our first year in Texas so I have a record of what we did and how I felt at that time. If I hadn’t done so, I really don’t think I’d remember very much now, because some of it was just too painful to want to recall.
Have you had that experience? It is common for people to say they don’t remember their childhood, whilst their sibling meanwhile has many memories. Often it seems, despite protestations to the contrary of happy childhoods, we unconsciously loose memories which are painful to recall or at least find ourselves denied access to them.
So does it matter if we remember the past? Well I don’t necessarily believe it does; always. If our defense mechanism is doing just that, there is very likely to be a reason. However, for those looking to explore the past to reclaim greater adult functioning, there may be a desire to get in touch with buried experiences and the associated feelings; there is the possibility of making better sense of who we are today by understanding and exploring what impacted us in our childhood.
How might we have been molded out of shape? In what ways have we failed to be our authentic selves; what happened back then that brings about internal conflict and frustrations in the present?
Some people have a hunch they are being pulled in the wrong direction, bent out of shape and held back by the energy required to suppress memories of the past. They may also feel they may have buried creativity that could be unleashed.
For those who know they had a very tough time growing up, I would offer a word of caution, particularly if they have suffered traumatic abuse in their childhood. Getting in touch with repressed memories can be the catalyst for creative change, or sadly it can result in self-destructive behaviour. To be able to look upon traumatic events ultimately as a source of growth and inner strength, may help reconciliation of them, but this may be something best pursued with professional support in place.
If you are someone who would like to get in touch with your childhood creativity, here are some Ideas to help those energies, feelings and significant memories emerge:
– Find some photographs of yourself as a child if you have them. Look at them with a detached eye. What do you notice about yourself and those around you? What does your body language say, the expression on your face. Perhaps you remember how you felt when the photo was taken?
– Do you remember any music from the era when you were a child. Play it now (you can probably find something appropriate on U Tube. Rolling Stones albums from the late ‘60’s/early ‘70’s work for me) and focus on your breathing … be aware of what happens in your body, notice any tensions or sensations, breathe evenly and exhale gently.
– Allow yourself to remember that time, playing on a swing, feeling the air rush through your hair, legs pulling you back and forth. Recall an early dream or daydream. Images of those you loved (or didn’t) … where did you play and who with … what did you eat, how did it smell and taste … know how much to hold on to and what to let go of.
– Pay attention to images, fascinations, intuitions and hunches. You may feel it rather than know it.
– Be curious about fantasies and impulses, they may be linked to unfulfilled desires. Be with it and let some time pass, you don’t have to do anything with it or act on it immediately.
Your life experience is completely unique to you; ask how you might yet distinguish yourself? Allowing creative regeneration can be energizing and take you to a place of new motivation, which requires a letting go and an openness to take risks, to try new things or test drive new ways of being.
You may have some ideas and experiences you would like to share for getting in touch with your ‘inner childhood’ memories; blogger Paul Jolicoeur shares his own experience of writing his memories down and how that has helped him.
Would like an opportunity to read ‘Cowboy in the Bedroom’ – the opening chapter of my memoir An Inconvenient Posting Please click on the link.
An Inconvenient Posting, an Expat Wife’s Memoir of Lost Identity is published by Summertime Publishing and is available on Amazon.com worldwide and Amazon.co.uk.