Un-boxing a Memory

I do want to write some more about the shenanigans surrounding the #silentselfie campaign, but I can’t do that now because I don’t think it’s quite over yet.

What I would like to write about is an un-boxed memory. I think of my brain as being kind of like ‘Warehouse 13’ (if you haven’t seen that, I would highly recommend it even if it is just for the brilliance that is Allison Scagliotti). I have boxes and boxes of memories stored. Some of them are on display, and some of them are boxed up. They’re boxed up because I can’t deal with them emotionally. Every so often, I might take one out to see whether I am able to deal with it. Sometimes, I can and then it gets put on a shelf for display. Sometimes, I can’t and then it gets re-boxed to be considered later. It’s probably not the healthiest way of processing things, but it allows me to function.

Sometimes, a memory box really calls for my attention, and I can’t ignore it. It really wants to be un-boxed, so what follows is a memory that has been desperately calling for my attention, and late last night, I finally figured out why: it’s the first time that I realised that I was considered odd.

When I was younger, I had a habit of walking around singing in sounds – not words – just sounds like “noc, nic, ick, doh”. I did that when I was content in being in my own head. I would walk around, sing my sounds, and have the most amazing stories unfolding in my mind.

So, here’s my un-boxed memory: I was about 5 years old at the time. My father was dating a woman (whom he later married) and she called me out on this. She said “Do we have a little Chinaman in this house?” (if I was to assign a bigotry level to that statement based on her attitudes, it probably wouldn’t even register on the scale). I remember the look on her face as she said it. She was looking at me as though I was completely strange. She told me that I shouldn’t sing like that because it was weird. I felt embarrassed. In that moment, my five year old self realised that I was different. I stopped my singing my sounds after that. I started trying to be more like everyone else – and I tried and tried, but even on the rare occasion when I did manage to get it right, I never felt as comfortable as when I was able to walk around singing my little songs of sounds.

So, there you go, an un-boxed memory. It’s not particularly pretty. It’s not particularly ugly. It just is.