The Memoir Files

A Rerouted Personal History

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 "A well-documented feature of trauma, one familiar to many, is our inability to articulate what happens to us. Not only do we lose our words, but something happens with our memory as well. During a traumatic incident, our thought processes become scattered and disorganized in such a way that we no longer recognize the memories as belonging to the original event. Instead, fragments of memory, dispersed as images, body sensations, and words, are stored in our unconscious and can become activated later by anything even remotely reminiscent of the original experience. Once they are triggered, it is as if an invisible rewind button has been pressed, causing us to reenact aspects of the original trauma in our day to day lives.

...still, all is not silent: words, images, and impulses that fragment following a traumatic event reemerge to form a secret language of our suffering we carry with us. Nothing is lost. The pieces have just been rerouted." (It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End  The Cycle  by Mark Wolynn) 

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Throwback Tuesday: 1982-1983

My mother sent me these photos last night via text that I've never seen before. I've seen and have so few photos from my infancy & toddlerhood that to see myself just days old has been quite a shock.  

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It's also been surreal because as I sit here looking at myself, I see my boys' faces and expressions. I'm transported back to when they were each placed on my chest and looked into their eyes for the first time. They looked just like I did!

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I think of Brennan and Alex during their toddler years and Austin now as he's going through his and I see my smiles, my cheeks, the way my eyes would light up when I was happy or being mischievous.

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My mother said at birth I looked just like my mother did when she was born. That makes me smile because I only met my maternal grandmother once before she passed. I have no memory of it and she has only lived on in pictures and stories through my mother and other family members. 

At a baby shower for my cousin during a visit to my mom's hometown of Philly. It was the only time I met my grandmother before she passed. 

At a baby shower for my cousin during a visit to my mom's hometown of Philly. It was the only time I met my grandmother before she passed. 

There's so little I remember from these years. Being able to catch new glimpses of who I was back then has been a beautiful surprise. I  even feel inspired to open the draft of my memoir and put down some words, something I haven't been able to do in months. Sometimes the inspiration we need the most comes in the most unexpected forms, doesn't it?