memories and the body

The mind and heart can be very funny things at times. It seems as though they decide to release their hold on specific memories when they are ready.

The past few days have had me reminiscing about my life between July 30, 2013 and August 10, 2013. As friends have processed the loss of loved ones as well as their own impending mortality, I’ve been revisiting my thoughts and emotions as Larry lay dying in the hospital.

What strikes me as funny is that as the body releases its hold on these memories, how real the sensations are and how vivid the memories are.

It seems that the body and mind finally decide that it’s time to loose the control and hold these memories have over one’s heart and psyche. In the process they create a sensory environment or you can recall even the minutest of details such as the texture of the curtains or the sound of the woman’s voice in the bed beside Larry as she asked “what is wrong with that man it sounds like he’s dying?”

My reply was a succinct and spat out “he is” and soon after that she was moved to another room.

This morning I had a very ugly cry in the shower as these sensations, memories, and emotions overtook me.They came with no explanation, context or overt trigger aside from the fact a friend discussed his funeral plans and another friend posted on the anniversary of her spouse’s passing.

At the same time, it was clear to me that my body was releasing these memories and clearing itself of the hold they’ve had over me For the past five years. It’s clear that they exist however than my chest no longer tightens up in the lump does not raise in my throat anymore. This morning’s reaction in the shower was visceral and painful like excising a tumor or vomiting up a toxin that is poisoning me.

These memories came with tactile, sensory information that my body relived. I could hear the noises, smell the odors and touch the physical objects in those rooms I could taste the bile in my mouth as I angrily spat the words to the woman.

This is something that has always intrigued me, particularly as memories are triggered by scents, tastes or sounds. When I was losing weight, it became clear to me that the body is the storage device as my past indiscretions and recreational chemical use were brought to the forefront as my body processed the stored fat that I accumulated over the years.

In Douglas Coupland’s “Microserfs,” The main character explores the connection of body to memory as he reconnects himself with his physical form. Throughout his childhood and young adult days he felt that his body was solely a vehicle to store and transport his brain and intellect in, however as explored his physicality he began to realize that his body was a component of his identity and self and as he reconnected with his body, physicality and sensuality, he discovered memories that he had buried deep within himself and became more connected with who he was as an adult.

Since reading this in 1995, The concept has fascinated me and only recently have I realized how accurate this is. I look forward in exploring what further memories I reconnect with.

I can only say that after having been through extensive therapy treating me for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As it used to be impossible for me to even consider revisiting certain memories as my body would shut down and my mind would turn itself off when the pain if certain circumstances overwhelmed me.

I never realized until exercising the pain, the rage and the trauma of my sexual abuse, how connected one’s own physicality is to your memories and emotional state.

It wasn’t until I purged the negativity and excepted the rage and anger and hurt within me that I was able to free up my body and let my mind and heart work together unfettered.

Oddly enough, what led me to this path was a hug from someone who was at the time, a relative stranger. This is why I sometimes comment about being touch starved or needing a hug. The human body and the human emotional state thrive with physical contact. When I’m feeling particularly vulnerable I’ll actually book a massage or a back rub just to reconnect myself my body and feel another human’s touch beyond a handshake or friendly embrace.

In the case of human contact, for me, you don’t know how much you need it until you don’t have it in your life.

So if I tell you I could really use a hug…most of my friends know that I’m not a “hugger!” It’s an invitation and I hope you take me up on that offer.

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