Monday, July 15, 2013

Memories Denied

I disappear under the collapse of the padded walls in which I am mentally locked. I seem to have spectacularly careened off the solid road of recovery and engaged in behaviors that have sent me back to being someone emotionally unstable. Barely making it, I am now suffocating with the awareness of all the frivolous attempts at a sane life I've perpetrated, like so many lies spilling from my unselective mouth.

At the beginning of my summer break, I decided to begin writing my memoir. I set myself up for failure. It seems to write a memoir one needs memories and be able to recall experiences. I know nothing of the life this woman lived, and the parts have died and taken their memories and experiences with them. I have “assumed” knowledge, but I can not provide first-hand experiences of life in or out of that house.

I've been reading books on how to write a memoir, and there are writing activities provided to aid in the writer's process. One of the activities from Sue William Silverman in Fearless Confessions is a series of fill-in-the-blank sentences to help the writer to begin to submerge him- or herself in “particular moments of time.” I struggled immensely with these simple, evocative sentences. Take a look at a couple of the suggested sentences.

  • When I was ten, I smelled __________ outside my bedroom window.
  • The item of clothing I recall most vividly from childhood is _________.
  • The noise that scared me the most growing up was ________.

When I try to complete them, I go completely blank. I have no answers. I can't even come close to anything resembling an idea. If I can't recall basic memories and details of childhood, how can I write a whole book dedicated to the most poignant moments of my life.

And I hate to fail at this, too. Writing this memoir is supposed to be symbolic of making it through hell and living to tell about it, and hopefully someone reading it down the road can say, “I wasn't alone”. I don't want to give up, but is the struggle worth it? Do I even want the memories and feelings I need to write this book?

This whole scenario, front and back, inside and out, is derailing me.

And this just feels like an underscore to the emptiness, depersonalization, and lack of self I feel. Not being able to write this memoir just proves I don't really exist, and maybe I never have.