You’re probably much too young to remember flypaper, but they were coiled strips of sticky paper hung to trap flies during the heat of summer. Once a fly touched it, he/she was trapped forever. My mind’s like that, but it traps memories rather than flies. I cannot let go of thoughts and feelings and memories of physical things and people important to me. They are part of who I am, so how could I let them go? However, far too many things which stick there are wrongs and slights (perceived or real) done me; gaffes, blunders, and stupid things I’ve done; resentments I’ve harbored; griefs and grievances I’ve suffered, anything which the perversely self-destructive part of me can use to torment myself for my inadequacies, are things I wish I could simply let go, but cannot. They are all part of my life, too.
I always state these things as though I were the only human being to whom they happen, or who is aware of them and the reactions they engender, though I know this is not true. If you didn’t share some of the feelings expressed in these blogs, you wouldn’t still be reading them.
The exact details and circumstances of what sparks feelings differs from person to person, but the core results are the same: they made an impact on our lives. Most people seem able to either absorb or release these things. I can’t.
I can remember, when I was probably no older than five, being called in to dinner and, while eating, hearing the bell ringing on my tricycle, which I’d been riding and left on the sidewalk near the front porch. I told my dad someone was stealing my tricycle, and started to run outside to check. Dad told me to return to the table and finish eating. When I was able to go outside later, my tricycle was gone, and for some unknown reason, my relationship with my father was unalterably changed. How very, very strange that I should still be clinging to that memory so many years later.
Standing in my front yard as a kid singing Christmas carols in mid summer and being asked by a passing stranger why I was doing so when Christmas was so far off for some reason made me feel ashamed, and pushed me even further into my closet of shyness.
Along the same lines, while in fourth grade, being asked to sing a song as part of a class project, and being so horrendously embarrassed by the prospect that when I finally agreed, I had to stand facing the wall while I sang. (And I still remember the song; the Irish lullaby “To-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra.”)
Attending a neighbor child’s birthday party and having the mother insist that we must all dance, boy-girl, when I neither knew how to dance nor had the most remote desire to do so (especially with a girl) was one of my most humiliating memories. But it is still there and pops up, unbidden, from time to time.
But of course, the good memories also return: wonderful, vivid, loving memories of times and loved ones, and experiences long gone. I take comfort in them, and yet, perversely, I can only touch on them briefly, for to spend too much time on them replaces joy with a terrible longing and the knowledge that they are now only memories and are gone forever (or at least until the endless movie of time replays them, frame by frame. My belief that this is how time works, and that what was somewhere still is, and will continue to be endlessly, gives me if not total peace, at least reassurance that all is not lost when each showing of the movie ends.)
I am a strange duck. Thank God you’re normal.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com: