I’ve been thinking a lot about how time heals. The brain’s ability to cling to memory, and attach itself to specific details of a moment. The inability to pick and choose the thoughts that linger.
Like my father, I’ve always identified as someone who has a very powerful memory. I have memories (not always crystal clear) from before I could even speak. Sometimes they are significant, and other times they feel like meaningless blips of time that for whatever reason have remained in the rotation of visuals that dance in the back of my mind.
I like this part about myself. It makes life feel so much more full when you end up being able to recall the middle names of every family member belonging to your 3rd grade crush. Sort of like an extra added ounce of purpose for absorbing every corner of life in a single moment. On that same token however, I am baffled by how little I can remember about the period of life that is labelled as the most traumatic.
Being toothless again has forced me to search deep within the memories of my first surgery in 2009. I can’t believe how much life I lived during that time. This time around it has only been 1/20th of the experience and I keep turning inward for comfort. What was I eating? Was I speaking to others confidently? I was toothless for almost two years! I’m only on day 20-something this time around and my patience is wearing thin.
I’m sure it’s memory suppression, and prescription painkillers but that time of my life is so blurry. I had fallen in love for the first time, and I remember feeling so self conscious about the burden my partner had to bare dating the “sick girl” all the time. I was so brave! I cannot believe what I had the courage to do. It was probably a sense of rebellion after being cooped up for so long in between surgery recovery-but my goodness, I feel so much more crippling fear this time around.
After the implants were placed and all I had was a mouth full of healing posts, my family and I went on our traditional Florida bound road trip. All I remember from that trip is fun. Nothing bad or amplified self consciousness. Maybe it was the freedom of knowing no one in a country foreign to my own, or needing so badly to be 18 and just to simply enjoy life. I’m baffled by how often I return to these memories of life looking for crippling memories, yet only finding positive ones.
I remember a therapist telling me while I was healing from a breakup that “in due time, only the good remains” and I still believe that to be true. So many of my strongest relationships were solidified during that awful time. I made lifelong friendships and found so much beauty in allowing others in during a time where I really, truly wanted to lock the world out. I’m so thankful that after all this time, that is what remains. It’s truly an every day motivator and, especially for when times are dark. Really reminds me of those cliche sayings like “you need the rain, to see the rainbow.”
I’ve been going through it these past few weeks. There is no denying that. I’ve kept looking back in my memory for validating memories from that time to help me get through this. However unsuccessful, I’m glad it is the good that’s coming forward. How strange and unusually optimistic of me to say that out loud. How positively poisonous of me to acknowledge that I’ve been through worse, and come out on the other end a better version of myself. We’ll get there. I’m not setting any expectations on myself. I’m human, life is glorious and also horrendous at times. I’m just here existing in my own little bubble doing the best I can. I think that’s okay.