Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I am fascinated by memory triggers, those things that bring the feelings back from a past trauma, insecurity, fear, or joy and happiness. There are places I drive by that bring back very bad times in my past. There are scents that carry me back to good and bad times. There are songs that transport me back to high school or college, or other times in my life.
Kristen lives very near a high school, and the corner where you turn to take her kids to school is a gathering place for the type of kids I would never want as my grandgirls' group. They take over the corner, wearing black, smoking, pushing each other around, and intimidating those who need to navigate that corner. When I am taking the girls to school, I often have to turn that corner.
Two times in my life when I felt very insecure came rushing into my memory, and I could feel the way I felt back in those days. The first time was in first grade in Arkansas. I was much more shy back then. I was also a very slow eater. We had to walk across the street from the school building to an entirely different building that served as the lunch room. We went by grade, and I was never finished eating when the first graders left; in fact, I was still eating when the sixth graders arrived. That required me to cross the street by myself back to the playground outside the school. I was a good reader, and could certainly read the "STOP" sign, but the sixth grade crossing guard always tried to make me read it before I could cross the street. For some reason, that made me nervous and I did not want to do it. I felt like he was just doing it to show off his "power." At that point, I began rushing through lunch so I could go back with my classmates. That was the beginning of my eating too fast, and I have never learned how to slow down.
The insecurity of my walk to and from school when I lived in northern Minnesota floods back into my body. This town where we lived was a rough place. There were many kids who delighted in pelting other kids with icy snow balls. I was never of a mind to defend myself - I just wanted to disappear from their sight. Fortunately, my sister a year younger than I had a lot more guts. She would actually throw back at them. This school was badly in need of more space, and as a stop-gap measure they instituted a new schedule which alleviated some of the problem. Some went to school from 7:30-2:00, some 8:30-3, and some 9:30-4, if I recall correctly. One year I was the very early shift, and one year the very late. I liked both of them, because it means I walked to school before or after the crowd.
I could write about why I haven't learned to swim, how my fear of heights has affected me, but I would like to hear some of your stories!