Slightly Broken: Putting the Pieces Together

I’ve always hated jigsaws. Except when I enjoy them of course. Contrariness seems to be the way of things this week. The last couple of counselling sessions and a great deal of my mind time has been spent on reconstructing the timeline which I only have a sense of – a sense which rather frustratingly tends towards the imaginary. Or at least the fictionalised.

Why I Hate Jigsaws
Initially there’s that sense of anticipation when you tear off the cellophane (assuming it’s not that awful modern crap that you need an engineering degree to deal with) and there’s the picture it is your task to compile from cunningly shuffled, but integral pieces. Then you tip them all out and realise you hadn’t read the bit where it says that it’s a 1000 piece not just the 500 that you were quite up for. It then dawns on you, as you separate the tesselates into the edges, colours or however you choose to systematise your pre-jigsaw compilation, that there don’t appear to be any fucking edges and the colours are not those glowing tones of memory. Further, the picture on the box is swiftly revealed to be a pre-production lie and you note the asterisked message that “colours and contents may vary from those shown”. What it turns out that you have is a collection of maybe 6 different partially complete jigsaws dumped into a familiar box and cunningly resealed by some bastard who thought they were being helpful.

Why I Hate My Memory
Well, much the same reasons as above for jigsaws obviously, otherwise the metaphor would be kinda pointless. It doesn’t address everything though. It doesn’t quite capture that there are whole chunks of events that I mis-remember, and have no guide, no pieces other than what is clearly a terribly fallible memory to help me fill it. In some respects I have helped myself out by keeping a kind of diary while I was in Sixth Form. Without that I’d be properly doomed. That said, a diary is in itself a sanitised version of our pasts. We write what we want to – we choose to edit, censor and withhold. There is no way to figure out what is missing. Like a fucking genius I’ve avoided writing about some aspects of what happened to me – especially the events that came before Amsterdam. And what I’m craving/fearing is the complete chronology that explains what happened when and gives me the chance to splice my feelings and memories onto. Otherwise it’s just a big bag of shattered memories waiting to cut me at random.
Despite my occasional reticence in the diary, my habits of archiving everything are paying off quite well. I have letters from the motherfucker, scraps of notes and cards; bits and bobs, and a father who’s willing to help identify dates. As a result I’m doing fairly well. I’m tying lots of other events in as well – I guess the ages 15-18 are pretty critical in developmental terms anyway. For me it’s not only when my period of abuse finally ended, but it’s also when I had my first girlfriend, first consensual sexual encounters (with girls and boys), A-Levels and other things.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

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