Friday, September 26, 2014

emotional memory and stone faces.

Its weird, unfortunate and beautiful how my brain stores memory.
People with genetic and chromic depression are thought to have a higher capacity for emotional memory, due to slight variations in the amygdala.
 Basically amygdala is a a vindictive bitch. 
She remembers everything, smothered in a thick coat of emotional responses. 
Each feeling I experience leads to another memory.
This week has been painful.
It has been a year since we gained knowledge that my father was dying.

It took me back to 2010. June 8th.
I sat on my cousins bed, while she sat on the floor, huddled. Phone book open in front of her.
I stared across at my brothers face. He sat in a chair, elbows on his knees, hands covering his mouth, as he always sits when hes mad, or frustrated, or basically anything negative. Tears were in his eyes but they were blank.
My brain was racing. What do I do, what do I do, what do I do -- over and over it asked.
This continued for what felt like an eternity as I listened to her say the words he was killed last night  to every new voice on the other end of the phone.

I sat with my father that night and told him this memory would never leave my mind. What should I have done? What should I have said? Should I have hugged her?
I hurt to badly for her. I thought about my own brother, own best friend, and what if it was me.
I couldn't imagine. I literally could not create an image of how I would feel or react.

He said, You know that is, and always will be, the hardest thing you will ever face. 

I'd say those days are tied.
The weird thing is, a lot of days are tied.
Even my days in middle school, where my depression took me over, even though nothing was "wrong" at the time.
I've learned that I've experienced many hard times, and even though some might consider one harder than another, the intensity can be equal.

So there I sat. Four years later. Again, staring into my brother's face while he sat in the exact same posture as he did that day in my cousin's bedroom, when my dad asked me to sit on the end of his hospital bed.
I think I stopped listening at the word pancreatic.
Of course there were tears. Of course there was hugging and tissues and snot.
And with my dad, of course there was laughter.

. . .

I get this image in my head from every action movie ever, where the hero is walking, the camera on there face, which is completely serious and emotionless, while massive explosions and turmoil erupted behind them.

That is what these days feel like. Where the memories are fire and chaos and damage behind me, and I have to keep walking forward and show nothing.

I wrote a piece about this  a while ago that I think I'd like to share. We'll see how I feel after I post it.
I never finished it, but thats okay. so here goes.

. . .

In third grade we played a game called Math Baseball. 
My teacher would hold up a multiplication problem to two children standing awkwardly in front of the class, to see who answered first. 

    This revealed far more than our academic development. 
Unveiled were the individual ticks and quirks if each child 
    in response to nervousness, pressure and fear.
    Who shook, who stuttered, and who raised their voice.
Little did we know how these simple reactions spoke to our mental defenses.

              I was bad at math.
          I did not like this game. 
      My teacher termed me stone face.

             Blank stone face. 
Emotionless and unmoving. Stagnant in the face of pressure. 
         How wrong, I thought.

If erosion played with my skin like it did with stone, my features would be gone by now.
If events treated a cracked foundation like weight and age did, I'd be rubble today.

  I am only the same in how I move.
Traveling through years like a small pebble being rhythmically kicked along down the street by some stranger,
                                       by this face I've never seen with a voice I've never heard.
Stopping at each point before being kicked once again.

There were many faces in the room that day who stood like granite statues.
Some jagged and chipped by blunt strikes,
    others smoothed and rounded by the of waves crashing over them.
Here, we all washed up on the same shore.

I sit on that shore now, feeling the receding tide slowly pull the sand from under my body,
leaving me to reside in the shallow hole that has been created.

But even stone can be shaped.
Rocks can be carved by strong hands
               that chip patiently through the layers that cover the masterpiece within.
The same hands that might pocket the small smooth stone that they find
 resting on the shore.


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