Photo: @her wings
“I suck at remembering birthdays. I’ve always sucked at it.”
This morning I was doing some affirmations and I had an unexpected realization:
“Self, you do NOT happen to have some eency piece of your brain missing that prevents you from remembering loved ones’ birthdays! It’s your story . . . Why are you holding on to it?”
And instantly I knew the answer.
We all have stories we tell ourselves about ourselves; about our capabilities, our inabilities, our luck, etc.
These stories are, like all self-talk, a form of self-deception the brain creates to navigate reality.
And all self-deception has a secondary payoff.
As I was listening to this soliloquy a memory came sailing through me:
I’m on the phone with my grandmother. We’ve had this conversation countless times.
She’s reminding me it’s my aunt’s birthday tomorrow and in her inimitable style of passive-agressiveness exhales noisily and wonders aloud: “Why can’t you remember your own cousin’s birthday? Or your aunt’s, or your mom’s? Or mine?”
I hear disappointment in her tone and feel like I’ve let her down again.
I’m only 12 and already a thoughtless brat who must not love his relatives.
If I did, I would at least have the decency to take note of this one significant day in the year and give them a call without prodding from my grandma.
Why would my mind create and cling to the notion that my memory with one particular set of dates is ferkakta?
Child is told in order to be good (i.e. culture-specific variant of insanity) child must do/not do certain things.
When good – child receives approval. When doubleplus ungood – child endures reprimand, punishment, guilt etc., i.e. conditional love.
Good children (according to this flavor of child abuse) remember all their immediate relatives’ birthdays and call them with trite well-wishings (as if a child cares).
Thus: Child, who is still grounded in his experience, subconsciously decides he has NO obligation to conform to arbitrary demands upon him nor undertake related emotional burdens.
Child proceeds to exonerate himself from the whole odious business by forgetting it – literally.
Remembering would mean enabling others to mete out affection based upon adherence to their sick rules. It would mean foregoing one’s fundamental value as a human being – the one you’re born with, that nobody can grant or snatch away.
Now, after many years – I know that I’m fundamentally worthy. Not because somebody told me but because I’m breathing.
Today I let go of my story and allow myself to remember birthdays again.
I don’t gotta . . . but I think I’d like to!
Mom: September 10
Dad: August 11
Brother: July 28
Grandma: December 1
Older Cousin: October 20
Younger Cousin: November 30
Aunt: February 26
Uncle: January 24
Best Friend: January 26
Is it time to let go of any of your stories?
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