[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 14 July 2004]
Every once in a while a thought hits: “Hey, I used to x all the time. Why don’t I do that anymore?” X in this case can be anything from hanging out in bars at all hours to poking forks in my eyeballs. Whatever you do following that thought, don’t let it be x–this is your brain exhibiting what psychologist call repression. Repression is a survival mechanism wherein your brain on purpose discards memories that are too painful to remember. Or rather, the memories are still there, but inaccessible to the conscious mind.
Was reminded of this today when the Core Wife and I decided to go out and eat with the toddler. “We used to go out and eat all the time. Why don’t we do that anymore?”
Well, a rather tense and exhausting couple of hours later, that particular mystery is solved. Some people apparently have what must either be a fierce stubbornness–to be admired–or a complete lack of self-preservation–to be lamented–and thus can keep taking their darling toddlers out to eat at sit-down restaurants.
These are not traits possessed by the adult members of the Lindh family. But the toddler-in-restaurant nightmare is well understood and documented, so let’s leave that behind; what was fascinating about the experience was how the repressed memories come back in a tsunami-like tidal wave and you cannot understand how you could ever forget.
But forget you do, as the censors in your brain go to work with their smoke and mirrors…
“Hey, I used to x all the time. Why don’t I do that anymore?” Because it was a really, really bad idea and if you do it again it will hurt. A lot.