I had not been sure what I was going to blog about until about twenty seconds ago. This is because this whole week, something has been gnawing at my subconscious. I’m going to be talking about repressed memories and feelings.
I am participating in a 12-week program called The Artist’s Way. It is a wonderful process for unblocking one’s creativity. It identifies what in your life is preventing you from achieving your full creative potential. Each week there are 10 Tasks. One type of task is what she (Julia Cameron) calls Time-Travel. This implies going through your memories (or imagining your future) to identify sources of our emotional issues (or to motivate us). It can be a very difficult process. This week, the two Time-Travel tasks were:
– imagine yourself at 80 and write your current self a letter; and
– remember yourself at 8 and write your current self a letter.
I wrote the first letter with a little hesitation, but ultimately it flowed smoothly. I began the second letter and stopped when I realised I remember nothing from that age.
I could remember plenty from 10 years old, and 5 and 6 were no trouble. But Grade 3 and Grade 4 completely elude me.
I put it out of my mind. I said, “Okay, clearly I need help remembering” and put it off until I could find my year book. Then I couldn’t find my year book. I started this on Monday morning; we’re now Thursday, and since then my apartment has become much messier, and my shoulders much more tense. Perhaps, these are related.
It must be stated that I was heavily bullied in elementary school. I had what you might call a terrible time. I was very often beat up by multiple people at once. I did not defend myself. I just kept moving. I did not talk about it much with my parents, and certainly not with my teachers. I just kept playing video games, because that was the only world in which I had any control.
I can only imagine myself at the time, developing the survival tactic of completely ignoring everything that happened at school as soon as I left. Storing those awful memories in a vault. Well, I had a look at the vault today with my Mother, when we looked through some school assignments she kept from my entire school experience. Grade 3 was particularly interesting. I found an exercise book with short fiction and poetry I wrote at 8 and 9 years old. Two stories stuck out in particular: one about Santa Claus and one about the Easter Bunny. They are both about horrific monsters, and having to overcome them. As I read them, I laughed; but it quickly dawned on me that these monsters were not invented.
Another thing that stuck out from that collection was an autobiographical paragraph. Quite descriptive, until the line, “…and I hate loosing(sic) friends.” As I write this a particular memory comes up. A wonderful sleepover in which my friend and I stayed up and named all 151 Pokémon. Very soon after, he joined my bullies, and used knowledge gained in that sleepover to ridicule me. No wonder I don’t remember much from that year.
I probably can’t say much more on the subject you don’t already know. I think repressed memories affect the art we make in huge, invisible ways.
Part of me thinks I should be writing a letter to my 8 year old self, instead of the other way around….
Thanks for reading.