Unremembered Memories

23 Jan

When people ask about my adoption they want facts. Whether it was teachers or other people. They want to know that you know it, that you aren’t unsure of what you know.
It’s what Charles Dickens wrote in Hard Times: “NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!”

I read beloved and I remember the phrase “unremembered” used in that book by Toni Morrison. I remember how it was used in the book. I think that older adoptees often deal with such memories.

There is something in this society that says if you forgot once, from a long time ago, then you cannot remember later. This is the biggest way that people learn to invalidate each other early and often. I never understood why people feel so compelled to tell that what they remembered is wrong when that the person claiming it said they weren’t there.

Because my memories were invalidated, I often developed flashes later in life–painful and blinding flashes that overtook me. So please, please, when an adoptee claims to suddenly remember something don’t say they can’t remember. Accept, validate and love them.

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