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  • It can be incredibly frustrating not being able to remember an event, a moment, a feeling. Having the knowledge that things are definitely different now, but you're not entirely sure what happened, or who started it, or why it's over. Fragmented memories and faded details, forgetting things that you know you once knew. I can imagine what it must be like for someone with Dementia or Alzheimer's. It's devastating to realize that some very important pieces of how you came to be where you are are missing. There are things that I remember, memories and dreams, caught from a third-person point of view. I watch these "films" play back in my head, as though I'm a character in an epic story, seeing myself from the outside looking in. I don't yet know if I'm in a Comedy or a Tragedy.

    I know I've done terrible things. I've hurt people who loved me. I've burnt bridges, built walls. I've used people, some good and some bad. I've been a liar and a cheater. I've made mistakes, and I've lost a lot of ground. I live everyday knowing that there's people, places, things I'll never have back. If I could only remember exactly why.

    What a convenient excuse, right? My parents used to tell me I had a selective memory. They would get angry with me when I wouldn't remember whether or not I did something naughty, or if I'd completed my homework. "You only remember what you want to remember!" they'd yell. It seems almost ironic that they were right all those years, without even knowing it.

    When I was a young girl, a person very close to me did very bad things to me. This "traumatic period" has caused a ripple effect that I have never fully recovered from. In fact, I don't even really remember it happening at all, because you see, my brain developed a coping mechanism. I actually can not remember the things that cause me the most pain, the incidents that have forged my life in ways that I should have grown and learned from. I've involuntarily protected myself from experiencing anything genuine, anything authentic, at all.

    It's called Dissociative Disorder, and it is a blessing and a curse.

    It's a curse of course, in the obvious ways. I've never developed any close friendships, I often feel alienated from my own family. I've only ever loved once, and even though I have this "bullet proof" gauge to know I was truly in love, I had to destroy the relationship to realize who was the one person my DD couldn't erase. I don't remember the fights I've been in or the reasons why I fought, I don't remember the time I was arrested (either of them), I don't even remember my wedding day. It is a blessing primarily in a twisted sense, of course. I've never clung to anything once it was over. Relationships come and go, I can turn my emotions off like I would a hot water valve.. It's easy to move from one person to the next when you've never really felt connected to any of them, "out of sight, out of mind," my Mother would say to me. The best part is the memories I get to keep, untarnished. I remember the laughter and the love, I remember autumn leaves and bike rides in the dark, I remember Thanksgivings and Champagne and gifts and glory.

    Most importantly, though, I remember the smiles. All the faces I've known in a mosaic collage of smiles. Crooked teeth or perfect, brilliant white or stained, sad smiles and happy smiles. It's the first thing I notice about everyone, and the only thing I remember about most of them, too.
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