Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Curse of My Gift

I have a very peculiar gift.

A lot of people swear they wish they had it.

People are always astounded by it.

I HATE it on most occasions.

I have an extraordinary memory. I can not only remember things from 30 years ago (there I go dating myself) but I can remember very specific details like: conversations (verbatim), outfits worn, where people stood, exact locations, etc...etc. Stuff that no one should want to remember.

My short term memory is more profound than my long term memory. I can memorize vast amount of knowledge in a short period of time and regurgitate it upon command, on most occasions. This is how I made it through law school. I did not open most books until the week of finals. Since my grade would only consist of my final there was no need for me to store all that mundane jargon throughout the school year when I could just cram during finals week. It's also how I passed the Bar after only studying for three days.

So many may be reading this and saying well what is the problem..sounds good to me.. the problems is I just don't remember the good, I remember EVERYTHING, the good and the bad. And some days it just seems like the bad outweighs the good.

Maybe that's why I wouldn't commit to writing this blog as openly as I needed to...maybe that's why it took another tragedy to get me into therapy. I remember that I started going to the Rape Crisis Center... I went for a couple of sessions and just stopped going. It was too much for me. While the ladies were up sharing, I was transported back to my room, to my bed, to my apartment where I was being victimized. Do you know what it's like to be victimized in what's supposed to be your safe haven? Everyday that I came home, I relived this tragedy. Scene by scene. Because that's what it had become for me: a movie.

I hated coming home because I knew the minute that I opened the door, I would be transported back in time. So, I took to doing things to take my mind off the foolishness like dating losers (and I am not calling them losers after-the-fact, I knew they were losers before hand), eating baking soda, and writing. That's how I met my child's donor. That's partially why I am sick right now. I wrote a book about my ordeal and when I was approached by a publisher to publish it, I freaked out and shelved the book. I also started doing something else that I hadn't done before, I started editing my tragedy.

Each day I would change a scene. Sometimes it would be something small and other times it would be something big. It got to the point that I had edited it so much that I didn't even get raped, I got away...and well that's probably why the rape never really bothered me per se, I had fooled myself into believing that it didn't really happened the way that it happened. Now the twins, that was something totally different, I couldn't edit that pain away.

I couldn't change the fact that so many people told me their dying was the best because I shouldn't have tried to keep the rapist baby. I couldn't edit out the look on my child's face as I held him in the palm of my hand as he died. I couldn't edit out the pain that I felt at having to go through most of the ordeal alone because I didn't know who would be bitten with the stupid bug. I couldn't edit scenes and I couldn't numb the pain or blink away the stupid people.

There are a lot of painful episodes in my life that I can't let go of because they are so fresh in my mind, it's like they just happened. So, I can't forgive, because I can't forget that you stood there and laughed at me and played that stupid Ebony and Ivory song at a time when I needed to be told that I was pretty, that Black was beautiful...anything BUT that I was black followed by the snickering and the playing of Stevie's song. I can't trust because I hear and replay all of the broken promises that were broken even before they left the lips of the people uttering them.

So, you can imagine that this can get tiresome. It was sorta like I had pain OCD because my mind would not constantly replay the good episodes, it was only the ones that caused my knees to buckle that my brain had on repeat. Maybe it was a defense mechanism...keeping the pain fresh in my mind so that I wouldn't repeat the same mistake twice. But it had the opposite effect; I typically fell into the same situation, scenario, relationship because I couldn't mentally edit the outcome. So, I had to try and physically alter the outcome by proving to myself that if placed in the almost exact situation again, I would come away with different results.

Well, you should know how that worked for me.

Yup, it got me a whole bunch of new painful episodes for my brain to replay.

So, I developed another way to deal with the issues of remembering so much: I stopped listening and participating. I only listen to half of what people tell me so when I go to process the info later on, I can't because it doesn't make sense. I only participate 50% in a relationship so I am very rarely forced to "show-up." How can I, I only remember half of what was said and half of that I have edited to fit my needs.

And while this new technique works to a certain degree, it does nothing for the syndicated programs that play daily in my head. How do I pull the plug on them? How do I turn them off. How do I let the real healing begin? Because I can't stop treating Jack Sprat like Jack Benimble if I am reliving my relationship with Jack every second of the day.

I wonder if I can't forget because I haven't forgiven or if I can't forgive because the images are so etched in my mind and heart.... I don't know. But I have started trying something new, because you know what they say....

I have started forgetting not so good events in my life as soon as they happen and you know what, I find that I don't have a need to forgive because I can't even remember actually why I was upset in the first place. I have also started giving most people the benefit of the doubt and not instantly believing they meant to cause me harm. This has also eliminated my need to forgive because if it wasn't done maliciously, there is no need to sweat it, so I just let it roll right off my back and on out the door.

No need to make a sitcom out of a doomed pilot.

"They tell us that we should forgive and forget, it is the Christian way. But how do you forgive if you can't forget the hurt and pain that were caused by the deed? How do you forget something that you are trying so hard not to forgive? I guess the real question would be: how do you progress forward when you steady holding on to what's behind you?"

~Gotta Luv Moi, Cuz i Surely Do (smooches)


  1. Well, if it's of any comfort to you and I truly hope it is; I've experienced almost the very same thing. I've always had the spirit of discernment and I able to be keenly aware of things and people around me. My father enhanced it with all his shady shenanigans of which my siblings weren't aware of. This same gift became my curse and I began to be chastised for it and I forced myself to shelve it and in some ways dumbed myself down.

    I also had the ability to remember amazing amounts of information as you did; however, as a result of suppressed/repressed trauma resurfacing at a time when I was going through an emotionally traumatic time in my life (then marital woes), I now have a huge memory gap. I have a hard time now remembering certain times, dates, event, etc. because I could no longer handle anything.

    As I've mentioned is some of my posts, I used to self-mutilate so I used that as my defense mechanism to deal with just about everything that was making me crazy.

    Honey, you need to work through what you're going through or it's going to eat you alive. Trust and believe I KNOW your pain. I've lived your very pain. Yes, I know what it's like to become a victim in a place where you were supposed to be safe.

    If you're willing, reach me via email net and we can go from there. I'm tired of women suffering in silence or suffering at all as a result of trauma. You are safe with me and I want to help you.

    Just let me know.

  2. @ Blu Jewel,
    thank you so much for reaching out to me. I definitely will be emailing you. i also have started having memory's so weird i have to write the littlest thing down.. that is also how i knew that enough was enough and that i needed to get to the root of my evil first.

    i told you that when i read your blog i see where i want to be..where i am headed...where i am going.. there is so much that i have been holding in and much that i have to let go or my eyes are gonna close sad.

    thank you again. you will be receiving and email from l8r_4luv

  3. son has exactly the same 'gift'...he says he can remember every conversation he's ever had and has a photographic memory like you. He can learn things very quickly for exams.
    I on the other hand seem to have erased some things from memory....for a while and then when something bad happens everything comes back to haunt me. I liken it to a box being reopened. I'm sorry you are being tortured by these memories. I'm wondering if something like hypnosis would help but I expect it may not be available for you?
    Thinking of you. xx

  4. @Chic Mama,

    it's funny what we repress or forget about..since therapy there are a lot of things that i had stored away that i had forgotten about.. and i agree it's like pandora's box, once you open it, it's no turning back.

    but i am good. the more i face and acknowledge things the less they replay in my brain.