June 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
I have a lot of stories. Some of them might even be true.
I don’t remember huge patches of my life. Some of that is because of alcohol. I spent so much time drinking (and doing other drugs, true, but alcohol was the primary intoxicant) that I induced many a blackout, many a night or a day I don’t remember. I paved over my brain. I covered this before, but it bears repeating. I did great violence to my brain, poisoned myself time and again, because there were things I didn’t want to remember. Some of those things I did actually manage to forget. I recently remembered one, and it was pretty traumatic, so I may even have to admit that I’m glad I managed to repress it for as long as I have. If I repressed it at all.
If you’re familiar with the concept of recovered memories, then you know that there are those that maintain it’s exceedingly easy to get someone to remember things that didn’t actually happen. With the amount of damage I did to myself, I can’t pretend that I’m perfectly certain that everything I remember is real. A lot of the things I remember are stories other people told me about myself. For instance, there’s a story I like to tell people about my stealing one of my father’s friends watches and hooking it up to a tractor battery charger and an arc welder and turning on the juice. I tell it fairly well. The problem is, I don’t remember doing it, I just remember my mother telling the story to a group of relatives a few years later.
I don’t know how common it is for other people, but for me, a great deal of my life is remembered less in the doing and more in the telling.