Fragmented childhood

An image is not simply an image produced by time traveling back to the original event-it can be an image that is somewhat distorted because of the prior times you remembered it. Donna Bridge

I have written a lot about NLD and Asberger, and have tried remembering how it was like growing up with these challenges. It’s been difficult, not to say impossible, and it almost feels like it’s not my own childhood.

The brain is very unreliable. There is some research to suggest that we change our memories every time we recollect them. They get a little less accurate every time because it’s not the original memory we recall, but the memory from last time we recalled that particular memory. That moment will slowly disappear.

I’m trying to focus on what’s ahead of me, and I don’t want to think back on negative experiences. Some might say that this is not coping with life, but I guess this was the strategy I developed when I realised that it was every man for himself in the grown up world. So I’m trying my best to resist the temptation to look back, but it’s not possible to block out everything.

I don’t think much about what could have happened, but this is sometimes entertaining as a thought experiment. According to the theory of parallel universes there is a version of us in all the universes. I sometimes find it amusing pondering what the other me’s are doing, or what they would have done in a certain situation. What would have happened in another universe if I had followed an impulse I had in this, but didn’t follow? I mentioned goth style and Star Trek-conventions in Liberated childhood heroes. It was often a financial question, but not always. I very much wanted to take a one year break from high school so that I could become an exchange student in the USA, but even if it had been financially possible, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I had problems making decisions as a teenager and young man, and wasn’t exactly encouraged at home.

I lived the first twelve years of my life in one of these apartments, but those years seem so distant today, and I’m not sure how reliable my memories are.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I went through all the decisions I made/didn’t make, and did the opposite. This is nothing more than an entertaining idea. My life would be different, and without my wife and daughter in it, I can’t see it as an improvement. I used to think, from time to time, on a girl I knew as a teenager. We weren’t close friends, but we went to see a film a few times and sometimes we talked. She was very talkative and I was the opposite, which is probably why this never would have gone anywhere. I have a feeling she just felt sorry for me. I moved away to go to college, and by the time I moved back six years later, we had both got married. I met her from time to time in the grocery store, but we never said more than hello.

She was a positive memory from my teens. I didn’t have any friends and I suppose she was trying to be nice, but this memory has a touch of sadness too. I’m thinking about how much fun it was, or maybe that was me adding something later, and of how shocked I was when I heard about her untimely demise. She had become a faded memory, but reading a book called I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live (my translation) brought her back again. The Swedish author Ann Heberlein ended her book with such a moving farewell letter to her family that I had to google her just to see if she was still alive, and she was. I sometimes wonder whether my old friend felt the same way. She had small children that will probably only know her from photos, but a small part of her will linger on in the minds of the people she met. I have one of the puzzle pieces, but whether it’s accurate I’m not sure about.

I’ve never gone to any reunions because I have very mixed emotions about my childhood. These are also the memories it’s been hardest to displace, as well as trust. I suspect that some of this could be why I’m so restless. I have always had an urge to do something special, go places, explore the popular youth cultures when I was young. I couldn’t do it, either because I wasn’t allowed or because I was too intimidated. I would probably have been among those 800 000 Norwegians that moved to the USA (about 1820-1920). The number of people with autism and ADHD may have increased in modern times, but I suspect that many of the people that didn’t stay in Europe had similar symptoms. America was different because different people were welcomed in America

I still have the restlessness and I hope there are some adventures left for me.

Brain distorts memory


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