the presence of memory

The past occasionally creeps up on me like a spider stalking its prey. I can feel it coming but because I am entangled in the web that is my life, I am helpless. I surrender to my helplessness, bracing myself for the inevitable wondering if the past will devour me whole or wrap me up like a cocoon to snack on at a later time.

My history is always with me. Mostly, it remains hidden behind the piles of other, more recent memories. I have selective recollection for the most part, but when I am on a quest to heal my present self, inevitably a forgotten memory slips past my selectivity. These are short memories, snapshots that crystallize a significant point in my life so I can see how I was made and who I was at that time.

One poignant example comes from my first year in school. I have a sister who is one year older than I am. She was in the second grade. We had bicycles to ride to school, but on the way home one day, the chain to my bike broke, so I could not ride it. I had to walk, but I was not sure I knew the way by myself. I asked my sister if she would walk with me, but she said no and pedaled off.

I walked whatever distance it was alone and very sad. My sister had abandoned me. Obviously, I found my way home. I do not remember my mother’s response. I think my father was in Korea at the time. In the big scheme of things, this was a very small matter and one that I survived just fine.

As our lives evolved, it would turn out that I learned to be as totally self-reliant as I could be, even to the point of isolating myself to prove that I did not need anyone because other people are unreliable. I struggled through co-dependency issues with my mother, finding out in the end that the only kind of relationship she can have with others is that of co-dependency.

This particular incident is an example of the theme of abandonment in my childhood. I am not special, by the way, we all have abandonment issues because at some point somebody we depended upon left us to take care of matters on our own. That is the nature of life. I waver between feeling sorry for my little self while at the same time finding it remarkable that I could take care of myself in a very adult way. When I wonder what I came to this existence to learn, incidents like this stand out for me. If I take ultimate responsibility for my existence, then I absolutely must ask myself: What is valuable about the incident that I need to learn?

On the heels of my life lessons comes wisdom, and then I must untangle myself from that web and let it go. Constantly poking and biting at my sister and my mother through my memory does not serve me well. That particular spider will have to find other prey.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

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7 Responses to “the presence of memory”

  1. holessence Says:

    “On the heels of my life lessons comes wisdom, and then I must untangle myself from that web and let it go.”

    Barbara, in the big scheme of things — when all is said and done — I think it all boils down to letting go. I have a feeling that at some time and place we’ll each be given the opportunity to have an “overview” of our life where we can see the people, places, things, and incidents we clung, embraced, and hung onto that weren’t positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing. We’ll realize then that had we released them, we could have moved forward in joy.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I agree with you, Laurie. I struggled for a very long time to make myself happy in situations that were not good for me and I had to let them go, along with the people in those situations. I am so much happier now living my life, finding myself, and have my eye set on eternity. I know whatever I learn here, I take with me when I die.

  2. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Peaceful words to me in more ways than one, as I have relied others opinions way too much, rather than my own, which has shaken self esteem self confidence,all to cause me to be more distant in my needs of other and more independent.
    Rather than just being in the moment, thinking about the importance of what others will say and think, rather than just being. Saying what I think is to heard, rather than being totally open and free…

    You have already opened that cocoon for yourself!!

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Kim, no one can live your experience so you know you have to respond to life as who you truly are. You are smart, lovely, warm, compassionate, and caring. Respond to everyone from those parts of you and it will never matter what anyone thinks ever again because you will be so much YOU all the time.

  3. sandiwhite Says:

    Barbara, I will side with Laurie on this one for sure. It might be time to clean out your upstairs closet and use that space for something else. I’ve often heard you mention that you had to fend for yourself as a child, so I wonder if you are still carrying baggage that wears you down and out. I mean we all do, and after a while we think, ” you know, I don’t think I need that anymore, I’ll just leave it here and go on.” Mercy, I will never try to remember the awful things Linda and I used to inflict on each other. I would surely run screaming. Of course, I did cover her toothbrush with Dial soap and put garlic oil in her shoes. I hope she has let that go as well!

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I certainly do have a lot of baggage, Sandi. One nice thing about being with Jonathan is that he supports me in ways that no one else has (he made gazpacho last night that was to die for). I think these odd memories of my past are coming up because I am in a place physically, mentally, and emotionally secure enough to deal with them. And I intend to take advantage of them. My next step is dealing with the forgiveness aspect and really getting that clear inside me.

  4. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Thank You……

    I am all that and more….

    Why is there that feeling of still getting walked on and walked over?? I guess because that is a perception that I will have to ponder that I have?


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