I was young. And just like any young person, I loved playing, breaking stuff, running in tight spaces, playing with other kids, and other kid stuff, like shitting my diaper, punching my brother, and puking when I eat vegetables.
My mom always told me that I was very energetic as a child. I never ran out of energy and I always craved attention and affection. Like my other siblings, we were a rowdy bunch of kids and we were always out and about as kids.
I was told by my parents that once a frog landed on my head and I wiggled like I just finished peeing. They also told me that they caught my brother and I playing with goat dung in the fields during summer. My mom also told me that I fell from a triple bunk bed. Maybe that’s why I am scared of falling, not heights, but falling. These are some of the stories they tell me, some stories that I do not have any recollection of.
But what are they are to me are stories. What was my first memory? What was the first thing I recall whenever someone asks me what the first memory I recall was?
I don’t remember any of what they’ve told me – not even one. The first memory I can only recall was one of pain, fear, and anger.
I want to share this experience with you.
It was evening. The air was humid. You could hear the neighbors chatter as the walls were thin the houses in the neighborhood was close together. The place was dimly lit and someone was screaming. Shouting my name. Shouting about something I did. Something I don not remember now that I look into it. It was someone I love. At the same time someone else was begging that person to stop – stop was they were doing to me.
I could remember the fear. I was hiding under my grandmother’s rusty mechanical sewing machine. I could recall the cold metallic pedal underneath me as I sat on it. The loud voice was lingering in my ear even and stayed there even after minutes when the shouting was over. I tried to cover my ears, but the fear remained.
I remember the pain. My hands were hot and my thighs and arms were aching. I don’t know how many times I was hit. I could feel the strikes made on my thighs and arms. I was crying. I was protecting my face and my head. I think it was instinct that made me want to protect my head and my face but I was willing to have everything else in my body to be hurt, rather than have my face and head hurt.
I remember the anger. I don’t remember why, but I was angry. I was trying to duplicate the aggression the person was showing me. I wanted to shout at the person who was hurting me, but I could not. I love and respected that person so as young as I was, I was still unable to project hate.
I could remember that they were trying to reach for me under that sewing machine; however, since the entrance was narrow, thanks to the machine being in a corner and stuck between a cabinet and a sofa, I was unreachable. Additionally that other person who was trying to stop my aggressor did succeed but the trauma had set in. Little too late? I personally don’t think so, but the damage was done.
I didn’t know what I was feeling at that time. Maybe resentment. Maybe hate. I was too young to describe what I felt. I was too young to know what to call these emotions, but I was feeling them. I was unable to project what I really feel. I could not even recall what my age was when this happened.
This was my first memory. A memory of fear, anger and pain. A memory I do not wish to share with my offspring. A recollection of my past that I don’t want my grand kids to experience.