T.S. Eliot: “Time present, and time past are both perhaps present in time future. And time future contained in time past.”
After my search for Diana, she told me several times that she had forgotten for all these years that she’d ever had me. Eventually she remembered a few details: Staying in a stranger’s house when she was pregnant. Her boyfriend telling her he’d leave if she kept me. It was the 1960s, and she couldn’t raise me alone. She remembered that I had long fingers and wondered if I would play piano someday. She doesn’t remember her childhood either. Her siblings tell her that there was abuse of all kinds. It’s kind of odd that I have this exhaustive memory of my childhood, and she has virtually none.
The records say I was born in a Salvation Army hospital, and then went into into foster care for six weeks before my parents got me. But when they picked me up, I didn’t become some tabula rasa, blank slate, who was wiped clean of any unpleasant influences before adoption. If the amount of caffeine or wine a mother drinks affects the fetus, then I’m going to say that the mother’s trauma, affects the fetus. If the presence of parents alongside sick babies in hospitals improves outcomes, then the sudden absence of parents in foster care must have an effect as well.
These are the earliest Fibonacci spirals. Most conscious memory start when language kicks in; we can then encode what is happening. But I say fetuses and babies make non-verbal memories that stick to the spiral. Tiny memories of fear or abandonment nestle in the spiral of memory, maybe even the birth mother’s emotional condition before birth. It seeps into the placenta alongside prenatal vitamins.
By the time I was four, my parents called me The Little Old Lady because I was always worried. I had so many nightmares that I would sneak into my parents’ room and sleep on the floor, playing with the pink loopy rug to calm me. Worrying and nightmares could be the earliest signs of the mental defects that went on to plague me. But they were also memory spirals, the echoes from my pre-verbal past.