To remember or not to remember


I didn’t remember. There were gaps in my life that I didn’t remember until recently. My life from approximately 9 – 16 years old had always been fuzzy. It seemed I had packed them away in a box and tucked them real deep into my sub-consciousness. That was then.

I couldn’t figure out why I don’t remember any friends from school except 2 or 3 or spending time with them or hanging out. I didn’t realize I had never been with my sister before she was 6 years old. I couldn’t understand why I had aunties and uncles and cousins and yet when I’m sick, I didn’t have them on my emergency dial. Actually, I don’t have anyone on emergency dial.

Then I had to remember. Because it’s been years and I should really deal with it. There was no big traumatic event or an accident or a day I could say that changed my life. Not really. It was just incidents, little by little, day by day, and all the experiences that added up and now, it seemed to make more sense.

I didn’t have friends or remember hanging out with anyone because I had started working when I was 12. Every school holiday, I was somewhere working from 7.30 – 6 and after that, I’d be so tired that I slept. My friends didn’t call me because my younger brother, the darling of the family, didn’t allow me to use the phone when he wanted it and that’s all the time.

I didn’t talk to my aunties or my uncles because I didn’t know what to say. My mum was hitting me and screaming at me and she would be really upset if there is trouble in the family like my brother having a fight with me. And when she was upset, she would take it out on me. She had lots to deal with, money, children, work, etc.

I didn’t remember many things. I knew there were there but the memories were mixed up. I had the idea that my mum was 21 (that was when she had me) when she started beating me. Then I realized, she was 33, right about the time I realized that. I thought my sister hated me then I remembered we didn’t grow up together. She was with someone till she was 6, so I didn’t know her before that. I remembered why I still can’t quite eat canned sardines. I ate it every day for lunch for years. When I started remembering, I thought these must be dreams and I made them up.

I remembered some things really well. I remembered being the “smarty pants” in school and everyone hated me. I remembered joining so many clubs and activities, my school grades and activity points combined would blow you away.

Someone told me, I should write about it. Now that I remembered, it can’t be my story or my only story. Because if it was, I’m not sure I can forgive. There was so much going on with my mum and so many different reasons I’ve built up for her that I was never angry with. There was no forgiveness when there was no fault. And who can it harm if we just keep them in the box and dig a hole and bury it?

But now I remembered. There is no return. And it’s not so much the remembering but the realization and the timeline and the outcome. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. I am afraid, afraid that I will blame everything on others and become an angry and bitter person. I am so afraid. The inferno of anger could eat me alive and take over.

I don’t know. Memory is an idle man’s poison. To some, I’m sure it’s a cure, bringing a smile to the face, giving faith in love and strength to face the future. I’m not sure mine will be. But idle I am and I’ll need to face the past.

There is nothing tragic, just circumstances. I’m breathing, eating and has a shelter. I’m not in a warzone or fighting a terminal disease or sold to slavery. That’s just life.

But memories are a powerful force. And my life made sense to me now, I have no more excuses, I’ll have to fight against the damage of the past and find a way out to a future. That’s where it gets tricky. How do you know if you love someone if you’ve never been loved or hugged? How do you feel secure when there is no “fuck it all, I’ll just go back to…”?

I’m not sure remembering is such a great thing. But this I’ll say, don’t have a kid if you’re not sure you’ll going to be able to love it. Don’t have a kid for yourself but for the kid. Don’t have a kid because it’s the passage of life or because it’s what people do. Because a life is at stake here. Not that I’m generalizing but trust me, if you are not that kid who wasn’t loved, you don’t know the amount of work it takes to be happy. And sometimes, hard work don’t work too.

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