When it comes to memory, I lead to lives. In one life I had a perfect childhood. I think of warm fires, worlds constructed of Lego, my family close by watching the hockey game. I think of my mother's voice reading to me, or being held in my father's strong arms. I think of the Wonderful World of Disney, Beachcombers, and the Muppet Show. But there is another life, one that occurred exterior of my family. One of taunts, abuse, and pain. I think of shame and rejection.
And the parallel lives continue. I look back on the last years and see either great joy that continues to blossom or terrible struggle ending in defeat. I see the birth of my children and the dissolution of my relationship. But I find it is only with concentrated effort that I see these happening at the same time.
I suppose the easy explanation is that this is a protective mechanism. By separating events, the good memories do not get tarnished by the bad ones. But I wonder what kind of disservice it does. We are shaped by all of our experiences, the good and the bad. I believe refusing to acknowledge either causes great stress on the spirit; the heart; the mind - call it what you will. Does separating them cause stress just the same? It seems to me it works against what we are. After all, if we can find joy in the midst of turmoil I think it says something about our strength. They say hindsight is 20/20. I do not believe that is always the case. We put blinders on when we look behind just the same as when we look ahead. In doing so, I think we only deny ourselves.
Yet here I stand at the beginning of what I am certain will be a painful journey. It will be a journey occurring in the first few years of my children's lives, and I know when I look back upon this time I do not want to see it as an unhappy time.
So why is it so hard for us to simply see it as time? One life where all the pieces simply add up to life itself.
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