I’ve been struggling with a memory for the last couple of days. It came up inadvertently in therapy on Monday.

My therapist asked if I could smell anything. I have issues with smell, due largely in part to a deviated septum I got as a child when a classmate accidentally kicked me upside the face. I never went to the hospital; my mother insisted I was fine. I just sat in the office with ice packs covering my bloody nose and face.

I found the need to justify my mother’s inaction. She cares. She’s taken me to the hospital before. I recalled several visits to the ER to have Lego blocks removed from my nostrils (my mother wasn’t happy about those incidents). Then I recalled the major hospital incident of my youth: the time I walked into the wall.

My brother was playing a video game. Super Mario Bros. 3 on Nintendo. I can remember that part.

Then I remember sitting in the backseat of the car, surrounded by bloody wash cloths and towels. Don’t look. Just keep holding it there. We were driving for a long time. We lived just minutes from the hospital, but that’s not where my father went. He drove all the way to a hospital in the next county.

I remember laying in the hospital bed, staring at the lights above me. I couldn’t feel anything, but I knew what was going on. I just focused on the lights as the doctor stitched up my face. No more bleeding.

What I can’t remember is what happened in between. How did my face get like that? My parents always told the story that I walked into a wall. I was just being clumsy and careless and smacked my face right into the bedroom wall. I never really questioned it as a child. What child would?

Saying it out loud the other day made me realize how bizarre the incident was. How I could have walked into a wall and caused that type of damage? How could a little girl walk into anything with that much force to cause a deep cut across her lip like that? How was my nose spared? Wouldn’t that have hit the wall first? And why did we drive so far away to get help? I have all these questions that I don’t have the answers to.

I still have the scar (thankfully less prominent) 20+ years later. What I don’t have is the memory of how I got it. All I have to go on is a story.

The last couple of days have been full of memory flashes of what happened after, but nothing of what caused the damage. It’s frustrating for me. I want to know. Why can’t I know the truth?

Maybe I did walk into the wall. But why can’t I remember doing that?

Maybe I did walk into the wall. Because why would my parents lie?

I ask myself that last question and realize that my parents have lied most of their lives. They’ve lied to themselves. They’ve lied to their family. And they’ve lied to their children.

There’s been so many lies, that I can’t even figure out what was truth. Even the most insignificant things were lies. My mother lied about where I was born. I didn’t find out until I went to get a Social Security card after I ran away, and ended up giving what I found out to be inaccurate information. My birthplace was wrong. My mother’s name on my birth record did not match what I knew her name to be. I haven’t been able to get my birth certificate because I don’t have the right information to verify who I am. As if I didn’t struggle with figuring out who I am enough, I can’t even figure out the most basic components of my identity. I know my name is the truth. That’s about it.

I was a child who believed what my parents said because that’s what children are taught to do. Trust your parents. They don’t lie to their children to hurt them. Sure, parents lie about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. But they don’t lie about birthplaces and bleeding faces.

Maybe I’m just overanalyzing. Maybe it wasn’t a lie. Maybe I did just walk into the wall in just the right way. But how the hell can I know truths when so much has been lies?

13 thoughts on “Lies

  1. I’m sure it was a lie. It doesn’t make sense as the truth. And if it were the truth, wouldn’t your father have taken you to the nearest hospital? Given all the other physical abuse you know for sure happened, we can probably guess that this was more abuse inflicted on you.

    I’m so sorry, truly I am. If I could erase it and substitute it with a loving upbringing by caring parents, I would. If I could sit next to you during your dark times, I would do that, too. For now, I simply send you loving thoughts and my genuine admiration. Love, Q.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s weird. My brain knows it doesn’t make sense, but my heart wants it to be the truth I knew it to be.

      My therapist said something very animist to what you said, that we know about all of the other incidents of abuse that aren’t questionable, so the odds are that this wasn’t any different.

      Thank you for your loving thoughts. I appreciate it.


  2. I don’t know, but I hear your confusion and pain around this and I’m so sorry that it is this way for you. I know what it is like to question things but not on that level and I can only imagine how intense it must be. I am thinking of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You could have had traumatic amnesia caused by the abuse. I have holes in memories too. That and hazy memories plus gaslighting definitely causes confusion 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought that. But then I wonder why I have memories of other traumatic events (even some very bad ones), yet no memory (good or bad) of this event. It’s all spotty. So frustrating.


      1. Honestly I don’t know. But I agree with the others on how it’s very likely you were lied to and a traumatic thing happened. I remember some bad memories too but not all or a lot of them. It’s hard and frustrating indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I am so sorry that you are even having to wrestle with this. Sadly I can relate. Waking up to my mom nursing my broken nose and a pool of blood. And my parents telling me that I was doing something that I knew I would never have done. It’s sad and tragic and we lived in their messed up web of lives. I’m so sad for you in this story; I want to pick you up and save you. Keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My stomach turned into knots as I read this. I have a very very similar situation in my life. My parents lied about so much to cover things up. I have memories resurfacing and they’re refusing to talk about any of them, daring to continue to make me feel crazy and that I’m making it up. It’s maddening. I also want to know the truth between the gaps in my memories. And I wonder often why I can’t put it all together. I am so so sorry about your past, whatever it was. I hope you find the answers you are looking for to put your story together and find who you are and where you’ve been. And once you do, I hope you find the strength to redefine your future into something filled with love and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry that you are having similar experiences. You are not crazy or making it up, but I know how easy it is to feel that way. Memories have a purpose, even when they don’t seem to make sense.

      I hope you find yours answers, too. And thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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