The Smashing Pumpkins’ lyric is my acknowledgment of the difficult, almost oxymoronic task at hand as I set out to find the combination of words that can describe the seemingly ordinary events, observations, thoughts and feelings in my life in a way that conveys their extraordinary impact upon me. I feel inadequate, but practice is part of this exercise.
I have named my blog Consigliere (I’m not Italian, but neither was Tom Hagen) . It won’t take long before my strongly opinionated voice is exposed and I’m advising you to read Nabokov’s Speak Memory, find the movie Ponette to see the most honest portrayal of a child that I have ever seen on film, and always use Herradura Silver in your margaritas. However, wielding strong opinions can be dangerous in the wrong state of mind and I reserve the right to rename my blog Apoplectic at any time.
The following is the introduction to what I call my “therapy term paper.” I have been in therapy and/or marriage counseling for many years and as hip as it might be to have a shrink (my third), I would really like to untether myself from him soon. So, as a sort of final exercise, he has asked me to write an autobiography, which covers very specific things from my past and how I have successfully dealt with them. This should suffice as a brief introduction to me and should also help establish a thematic tone for this blog.
Once, when I was young, I had amnesia. Unlike the ordinary, harmless fog which prevents me now from recollecting my age at the time any more precisely than to be able to guess about twelve or thirteen years, or a temporary alcoholic haze that can dim a clear look back at a night of partying (of which I also have some experience), I suffered a sudden and hard break in the very continuity of my self-awareness. For about the same length of time as the eighteen and a half minutes missing from the Nixon Watergate tapes, my own tape record is utterly blank.
Consequently, my memory of this begins like I have turned-on a television to find a story already in progress. I had locked myself in the bathroom of my home, bewildered and frightened, and not knowing why. Darkness shrouded the preceding moments of my life. I did not know where I had been, or what had happened to me. Clearly, I had been functioning, but with questionable purpose and reason. For at that moment, I was frantically trying to look-up amnesia in our blue bound Readers Digest family medical encyclopedia, as if to find there some neuropathic first-aid, an unlikely tape and gauze memory-splint to ease my suffering. All I really needed to do was go talk to my father, but I was afraid. I donâ€™t remember why.
Eventually, I remembered the trauma. I had been out riding bicycles with my cousin. We were riding in a concrete culvert, when my tire slipped on some moss. I fell backwards and cracked my head on the ground. Remarkably, even when these memories began to return, they did not fit themselves neatly into their rightful chronological gaps. Rather, they fit themselves at the end, like the stories that we are told of our infancy by our mothers. No matter the vigor or detail in which we are told of our earliest achievements, they can never become a part of our true memory. They are a memory of someone elseâ€™s memory.
Now, I find myself in a similar position. I have just begun to regain consciousness in a life that is already in progress. I find myself married, employed, and involved in church. My life of the last many years is cloudy and uncertain to me. Clearly, I have been functioning, but it was with questionable purpose and reason. I locked myself in the bathroom and looked in books to find the answers, but I was looking at the wrong books. All I really needed to do was go talk to my Father, but I was afraid. I donâ€™t remember why. If I think back far enough, I remember the trauma that led to my amnesia, my sleepwalking through my life, and the events that led to it.
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