I have been lonely, and alone, most of my life. My family are the only people that I have ever felt comfortable enough with to let down the barriers keeping me sane in everyday life. Memories that are carried by strong emotions are indelible, and they swallow you in at every single glimpse of a connection to them.
Emotional openness is something that I learned to avoid at all costs within the first two years I was put in contact with a lot of people outside my parents’ immediate sphere of influence, i.e. school.
I was homeschooled for quite a while after a breakdown in the classroom where I was sobbing into my desk about too much information. The teacher, in an effort to keep me quiet in her class, supplied me with books and puzzles, and like the good little sponge that I was I started absorbing them.
I had not yet learned to pace myself; at home, my Mom would regulate the amount of concentrated information available to me, interspersing with relaxation or physical activity after she’d learned that I had migraines from the age of two onward due to my lack of filters for information.
I still remember the laughter, the jeering, the pain. Migraine sufferers know just how devastating the brain hurting can be, this one remains one of the worst attacks I’ve ever had, and all the other children had to say were taunts and laughter and “TMI! She said TMI!”. It was too much information, too much too fast, the web expanding outward.
I do not visualize a building or pathway for memory techniques. I hardly visualize at all, if ever, but if I do I have my memory web, where every strand consists of thousands of others that are all linked to one another, ever-growing and changing. Start adding too much too fast and the stability of the construct is threatened, shocks occur and strands unravel resulting in unpredictable flashbacks about mostly completely unrelated topics that vary in length (and that I can’t get out of most of the times).
I have learned all these things later. Back then, I knew I was in pain, I could surmise a cause for it and all I knew was that, emotionally, I had dared to open up and show that I was hurting and all I received for it was more hurt. That, on top of the taunting and bullying that had been going on before then, caused a complete shutdown.
I was lost for two days, jumping from one place to the other in memories, some that are still too vague to accurately recall and feel like dreams, others as clear and sharp as glass because they have been called up in more than one flashback since then (once flashed to, memories are harder to put in their places again).
I learned my lesson. I would love to be able to have the easy interaction I observe between my friends and their partners, the closeness, the reliance on one another yet I am too scared to even contemplate letting down some of my walls, creating indelible memories of pain and hurt. I can’t think of the good things, because they’re so much less strong than the bad ones.
But I want. I yearn. I observe.
One day, I’ll learn. Hopefully soon.