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Childhood memories

Coach Richard Harkness by Richard Harkness
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70’s Rich grew up on a council estate in the North East of England. Working class mum and dad and went through a state school system.

I had few but close friends growing up. I favoured depth of connection over popularity. Of course I didn’t see it that way back then. It may have been a preference that was forced onto me because I wasn’t like the other kids and so I formed deeper connections with those that were around me.

When I sat to think about writing something about myself part of my challenge is I honestly can’t recall a lot of things that have happened to me. Especially around my childhood.

In thinking about writing this post I realised I’ve always felt a lot of shame around my lack of memories of my childhood.

The thing is it’s not because I’m in my mid forties now. It’s ALWAYS been like this.

I can’t recall places we went. I’ve forgotten holidays even and they were few and far between too!

I can’t recall things I had said and done. People I had met. Gifts I’d been given.

It’s all just mostly a timeless blur and vague memories of having fun, playing with friends, Lego and Star Wars, reading lots of books and riding my bike.

What was wrong with me? I had a happy loving childhood so why can I recall so little of it?

Did I not care? Why can’t I think a little harder and try and remember?

And yes… these are things that have both been said to me and to myself.

What can be even worse is I was am more reliant on others to fill in the missing pieces for me. This feels unpleasantly vulnerable. Like that feeling people I used to get when I’d drank far too much in my 20’s and asked with trepidation “Oh no…what DID I do last night?”.

Letting others fill in the gaps is fraught with issues. Even if the person recalling them is a good friend or family member, memory recall is notoriously unreliable and is significantly tainted by the persons perceptions of what happened and of you.

For years I could find no good reason for it and I knew I wasn’t suppressing any kind of childhood trauma.

Recently I’ve come to realise that might not be my “fault” and that was a real relief to me. That’s a path I’m still exploring…

If you can’t recall much of your childhood despite it being an uneventful one I want to tell you you’re not alone. There are a multitude of reasons why you might have few childhood memories some more significant than others.

I’m glad to know now that for me it had nothing to do with there being anything wrong with me.


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