Have you ever heard of the brains ability to block memories? This has stuck with me since I learned about it in cognitive psychology with the dearest Dr. Deb, epoch 2012. It is believed we put up barriers or simply delete bad memories of our past as a defence mechanism. The brain does this in two different ways: suppression and substitution. Think about it. Have you ever had a messy relationship you later looked back on, and couldn’t remember why you ever broke up? You remember being so happy with this person, it just doesn’t make much sense why you don’t have five kids and an SUV in a suburb outside Toronto? Well, read your diary. It might spark some reconsideration. Speaking of kids, why do women continue to have children when their vagina is literally dubbed the “burning ring of fire”? BLAME THE BRAIN.
And now you know why women continue to have multiple babies and live in Toronto suburbs. No, but for reals, you now have an answer for your mom when she asks you what you learned at school today.
So why are we talking about messy breakups and childbirth? Because, let me rewind and remind you, we were first talking about suppression and substitution of memories. I, my friends, have a chronic case of substituting memories when it comes to new places. A dear friend and I had a well needed ‘chat’ (aka electronic words of love) last night. I will be raw and vulnerable in telling you that I had a few breakdowns this weekend. The mantra “I am OK” was recited and engraved well into my mala beads. When and why did I ever think moving to Africa was a good idea? I’ve moved away from home before – Nova Scotia… Minot… I made so many great friends, had multiple life changing experiences, and loved the independence of finding new grounds. Or so I thought. These are the memories my brain seemed to be substituting for the loneliness you feel no matter how many people are around you, the deep longing in the heart for family and friends, and the dark dooming thoughts of sorrow that creep into my mind and roost for days. I did not and do not regret my decision to come to Yaounde. I did, on the other hand, deeply daydream this weekend of what I could have made my life into instead. With these demons rooted deep into my emotions, friendly electronic words of love reminded me of why making my own home, away from my real home, is so rewarding. The good memories that clouded the bad actually do exist – I just have to get past this low pressure weather pattern to see the sun (pretty proud of that cheesy metaphor right there). It’s going to take a while, but I am here for the long hall so I might as well try my best to drop the funk. In other news, I had okra soup, rice, and fried plantains for supper. And three donuts for breakfast because, duh, I went running at 6 am and I needed to reach an equilibrium.
I will leave you with the wise words of my three little friends:
From the heart,