I clearly remember events dating back to the summer I was three years old when we had a family vacation on P.E.I. Years later we returned, and my parents were shocked that I remembered places and events from that young age.
This highly retentive (but not photographic) memory has been both a boon, and a burden.
It made any subject highly dependent on memorization easier for me than my classmates. In turn, this left me more time to study the subjects requiring logic and reasoning.
A boon, because the latter are the basis of science and engineering, which were what interested me anyway.
A burden because not only can I vividly remember painful events in my past, the memories bring back the emotions.
When I think an awful moment, I don’t just remember what I did (or what was done). I remember the sick, twisted awful emotions of the moment.
I can relive my self hatred of 12 years ago with a thought, and with that thought re-enter that terrible place.
I can relive the events and emotions of my two closest brushes with suicide as if they were happening right now. In fact, just typing those words, I am experiencing them right now.
I have spent over a decade trying to reconstruct my self-image, but I can’t. All I have to do is have one of those memories come back to me, and I relive it. Then I lose all progress.
What to do?
I cannot forgive myself, and without forgiveness, cannot move on.
How can I successfully redefine myself if I’m forever trapped in that horrible place?
The answer is as simple as it is useless.
I. Don’t. Know.