The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing




I spent yesterday’s therapy session crying which continued in bed last night.

The memories I have, the ones I never lost, the ones I’ve found along the way these past years too, the chronology that I’ve painfully put together, fished out of over eight thousand pages, kept playing inside of me while I lay awake.

The context was this strong, sad, and endless reflex that comes to me when I consider giving up my house—which I want to do—and moving in, officially, no back-up plan, with Pete. 

I go back to a place I can’t remember but it’s a place of splitting, of having head take over because heart cannot go on anymore. I turn off my emotions like a faucet and I find relief, nearly immediately. It’s a drug that works and I mainline it for decades. 

I reach this place, I conclude last night, due not to one incident but to many.

I was being abused by an older sibling, severely and daily, with no help or hope in sight. I did not even possess the concept that hope for better things existed. 

My mother took to beating me in my bed with a hairbrush, its handle so hard it's remembered into this day. And around the same time, the same year, she lets me know she is leaving

In bed last night I became clear that somewhere along the line I made a decision to not love my mother, to not be close to her, to not confide in her, to not trust her. I chose to grow up without her.

And that choice remains. 

It’s lived inside of me for my entire life, with enormous, as I can see and feel it now, consequences and pain. 

Last night I thought about my father, the incident where his temper flared, and he did something to me I cannot remember. I only remember the aftermath of the incident, feeling lost, perhaps here beginning to experiment with dissociation, putting my hand on a knob and beginning to turn it. 

And then the incident with my father in bed. Last night I find and remember the distinct disloyalty to my mother and my father’s disinterest in her. 

Perhaps that was the final blow. 

But it wasn’t the only one. 

It was an entire situation and possibly a little testing of the dissociation waters, little doses here and there that lead to the decision to turn the emotional knob in the off direction and to keep turning it. Like a faucet, it wasn’t likely absolute. It probably dripped, or would be turned on a small amount or sometimes completely off, depending. 

But mostly off I’d say. 

The theory is that this mostly off position left me, emotionally, mostly without much of a relationship with either of my parents. Both relationships were too complicated and too painful and, I think I unconsciously concluded, way too dangerous. 

Very similar to the bad therapy in that respect. 

I needed to jump out of that burning building to survive so I did. 

It was a desperate, chaotic, not understood or processed, jump. 


We process now what we couldn't then. 


Nothing new to this tale. The bones of this narrative can all be found in the Read This First section. But I suppose what’s new is that this story seems to be settling in more, my entire narrative finally slowing down so that I can feel it, feel the pain, feel the consequences of what feels like a choice but wasn’t really much of one at all. 

I fear moving in with Pete without any Plan B, no other house, no back-up, because I fear losing him. I could not—cannot—bear this thought. One way or another this is a leaving fish that will swim up to me. Whether it be death or divorce. And I cannot face the thought of it. 


Allow, allow, allow. 


I keep reaching for that faucet to turn off my feelings but the knob is stuck or gone. And I’m left with nothing to do. 


Up, up, up and onto my park bench. Where, S, we do…nothing. For as long as we need to. 


Thanks, B. 


Of course.