Even from before of the age of five, I remember many things. Images of searching for arrowheads, scaling tall trees, laughing with counselors at the camp my father directed, peeling off leeches, and finding plastic beads outside of the craft building come to my mind. Clowns painting a cross on my forehead, the lowering of a flag ceremoniously, giggling at camp fire skits, mounted deer heads filling the dining hall – I could go on and on. Growing up was a time of wonder, joy, exploration, and love.
However, my earliest memory still haunts me to this day. At one of my last therapy sessions, I spoke about this troubling memory that has wound its way into my daily adult life. Then, I saw the Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember from The Daily Post. This week it was to write for ten minutes without stopping about a memory. Immediately, I thought about this traumatic experience.
Already, I had thought about writing on this memory but wondered what purpose that would serve. After all, no one can go back and change what happened. Would it just bring back the terrifying emotions? People often caution to move on from the past and live in the present with hope for the future. However, we have to first acknowledge the pain and significance that the past had on our life. Although dwelling on memories is not helpful, stuffing them down also fails to fully heal us. Our past does not define us but we are changed for the better or worse by the events, people, and things that we face. Therefore, written in ten minutes without stopping, I am going to share with you this memory that has formed parts of my personality, fears, and thoughts.
My Earliest Memory
At two years-old, I was one of the happiest kids you would ever find. From dancing on fallen logs to swimming like a fish, I played everywhere with everyone. Bright eyed and quick to smile, I saw the world as a beautiful place full of joy and love.
However, one night that all changed. As I snuggled into my little bed, I heard something outside my window. There was a deep voice singing the song “Sally the Camel” to me. Immediately, I was filled with excitement as I dashed over to the window.
Now, you need to understand that I lived at a camp up North full of counselors and young campers. All of these people played with me and treated me like a little princess. So when I heard a voice singing this playful childrens’ song to me, I figured it was one of my older friends. Instead of being terrified or anxious about a stranger outside my window, I was simply happy that someone wanted to play a game with me. Who could my friend be who was so fun as to sing outside my window?
When I got to the window and stared out, however, I saw the most frightening thing in the world: nothing. I was all alone. The voice I had heard so clearly was disembodied. Terrified, I screamed with confusion. My whole world was turned on its head in that single moment. It was as if a black sun had arisen or a flower had begun to bite me. What had happened simply was not right to my two year-old mind.
After this, I do not remember anything. My mother, however, has filled in the ending of this story. She rushed to my side and finally comforted me to sleep. Afterward, she turned to my father and said, “We are going to be taking her to therapy for this one day.” My mother is a very wise woman.
Years later, I still sometimes hear the music to “Sally the Camel” in my nightmares. Never again will I be able to hear that silly song without fear filling my heart. Worse yet, we never did figure out what I heard. My parents questioned the counselors who all denied it and all of the campers were accounted for at that time. Could it have been someone far away? It sounded so close to me. Maybe it was something in my dreams but then why did I hear it as I got out of my bed? Other people have suggested psychotic symptoms, a ghost, my vivid imagination, something off in my brain, and my own heartbeat. I think that it will forever be a mystery.
Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember by Daily Post
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Why I can’t take part in the Weekly Writing Challenge by themagicblackbook
The Strangest Thing that Ever Happened to Me by kowikage