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Saturday, May 3, 2008

"If you could forget..."

Someone whined at me recently because I allow people to comment on my blog without responding to what they say. I was reprimanded for my lack of consideration and allowing my visitors to feel ignored. I reminded said person that the purpose of my blog was to allow me expression in a forum where I feel comfortable talking about any subject, not to garner fans or readership. He asked me if I had ever been helped or comforted by things people have said on my blog. I admitted I had. He rolled his eyes at me.

So, feeling sufficiently chastised, I offer my apologies to any who have left comments for me who have felt ignored. I promise, I truly have read everything said here, and much of it has been helpful. Some things that are said send me on another tangent which brings me to a discovery I might not have made otherwise. In truth, this journey I have made has been a group effort, with the membership changing often. I believe only Jason remains of those who have read my blog from its inception, although I think AtP has me on his Google Reader and scans my horrendously long posts for his name so he can see that I still adore him. But there are many who have joined me in the past couple of years, some of whom comment regularly, some less often. For those of you who take time to speak to me--thank you.

Often a comment is made which leaves me thinking for quite awhile. This happened recently. JB said this:
I've heard some interesting things they're able to do with mind-altering drugs recently. Specifically, the ability to make people forget certain things. If you could forget the god-awful things that have happened to you (just the worst of them), would you? I think I would if I were in your circumstances, but I'm curious if there's any reason you wouldn't.
I've thought about this a lot, and I'm finally ready to answer. The short answer is no.

The long answer with all its explanation is that first of all, I don't trust anything that alters my reality. It sucks to remember sometimes, but they're my memories. They happened. Part of my reason for writing this blog and making it public is that I was tired of living in denial, tired of protecting everyone from the knowledge that was killing me, tired of hiding. It seemed that the only way I could honor the ways in which I survived was to talk about what happened--to allow it to become real. In order to restore the dignity I was robbed of, I needed to admit that I had been hurt, allow myself to live with the reality, grieve what had been taken from me, and believe that my life could be beautiful in spite of it all. I also had to come to believe that what happened to me did not define me--that was very difficult.

As I've faced the things that have made me afraid for much of my life, I recognize that I have many strengths which have allowed me to live even when I wished to die. I understand that I have worth which is inherent and is not negated by the mistreatment a few people felt free to inflict on me when I was too young to fight back. But in my own way, I have fought back. By speaking up, by meeting with those who abused me and treating them with dignity and kindness, by refusing to quit, by continuing to love, by finding joy in every day, I have emerged victorious. That is something I cannot relinquish.

So--to lose the memory might bring me the sleep I keep whining about. It might help me stop feeling that I must always be alert and protect myself. It might help me more easily deepen relationships and learn to trust. But those are things I believe I might find one day on my own. And they will be of even greater value to me because I will understand what I had to sacrifice in order to gain them. And I will become stronger as I work through the necessary obstacles to claim those experiences and attributes.

This doesn't mean I wouldn't change things if I could because I would definitely love to rewrite my past. It just means that I would rather deal with reality than live without knowing. And something inside me believes that if I were in a chemically induced forgetfulness, many of the physical and emotional problems I now experience would make even less sense and cause me more anxiety. For me, regardless of how difficult, it is better to know.

There are many whose experiences have been much worse than mine. There are those who have not been blessed with people to help them along the way, as I have been. There are some who have been hurt beyond repair. For those, perhaps, drugs to help them forget might be helpful. But for me--as always--I will do it myself. It's just who I am. I accept the good and the bad, and all the peripheral side-effects. And I'm okay with that.


  1. 'id be afraid they would wipe out a good memory by mistake....

  2. Well, yes, the mind-altering drugs are still very scary. But I wondered if you would say you wouldn't have them wiped completely. Interesting to hear you actually say it and to hear why. Thanks for the response! :)