It is amazing what we teach ourselves to forget.
I knew that writing a memoir based off this blog would not be an easy thing to do. This is mostly because I knew the memoir would cover everything in my life; not just the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy.
I know for a fact that nothing in life is ever easy. This only inspires me to try harder, to try again and to try more. But I have never really tried to remember.
Writing the memoir has been slow going mostly because I knew that if I started writing, memories that I have tried so hard to forget would come to the surface again.
It’s not easy to welcome these memories back into my life. I forgot them for a reason, I closed them away in the hat box of my head for a purpose: so I could get on with my life and focus on the now instead of than.
But memories are pesky little things; they cry and moan and shake with indignation until you open your arms to them, until you notice them.
In writing my memoir, it’s amazing to remember what I had forgotten:
*The first time my father hit me.
*My mother trying to explain to me what Cerebral Palsy was.
*Hiding in a closet, hearing my father raging, looking for me, knowing he would find me and I would not like the outcome.
*Seeing my twin brother taken away by the police.
*The first night that I slept on the streets.
*Eating food in shelters and half way houses, grateful for the first meal I hadn’t had in days.
*Learning to walk without showing the pain in my face with each step I took.
*Dating girls because it was what was expected of me growing up.
*The last time I saw my brothers and sister, ten years ago, and how my younger brother Jeffrey was afraid to hug me, to come near me.
*The first time I kissed a man and knew it felt right to me, that I had found that piece of myself.
I feel as if I am going on an internal scavanger hunt, that I am hunting for pieces of myself, piling them in this large basket that is almost too big to hold on to.
And somehow I must place this all together. Somehow, I must take this puzzle of me and put the pieces together.
It is a mammoth task and I have always loved a challenge. But I never thought I would be up to the challenge of me.
The writing of Head Above Water (the working title…I can’t just keep calling it The Memoir. That makes it sound too grand) has been therapeutic but also gut wrenching.
I sat down this weekend to write and started balling at my computer as I was typing away. I am not normally an overly emotional person; but everything just came rushing back, slamming around the inside of my head.
If I close my eyes, I can see a mass of hands, waving like a field of poppies. Each is a memory and each is yelling the same thing:
Pick me, Pick ME, PICK ME.
There are memories we repress for the sake of protecting ourselves. I can’t imagine the strength it would take to pull them up, dust them off, stare at them…and then write them out for the world to see.
Jamieson, my hat is off to you.
“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”
And now that you recognise that there are memories, well you can’t forget them again. They seem to resurface with a strength that is alarming. Write them, sob and then let them go.