Monday, January 10, 2011

Move It (On Up): A Basic Psychoanalysis

So today is moving day. The cargo dudes have come to take all of our boxes.

I've had to go through this many times but I cannot remember any of the previous instances. It's as if one day all of our boxes, filled with all of our treasures, just...went away. They always showed up in the next place and I never felt like I lost anything. I don't remember having to sort my things out, pack, or see the people pick up my boxes. It's all blank tape, all static in my head.

Whenever people have asked me if it is hard to move from one place to the next, I don't really have much to tell them. My shrugs make it seem to them like I have gotten used to it, or that I am not very effected by it. Maybe they think I enjoyed the process of entering a new life somewhere else, and that it is easy for me to let go of the place that I had lived in. That is definitely not the case.

I think my memory saves me from the difficulty of the moving situation. I believe that my brain forces painful thoughts into a place where it is hard for me to reach. I believe my body does it for my own safety, because it would be another set of Hellish memories for me to have to deal with.

Back in 2005 or 2006, during my International Baccalaureate years in Mauritius, I took Psychology and learned about that dreadful Freud character and his defense mechanisms. This is one of the few areas where I felt I could understand and relate to his theories, probably due to the fact that it could also be explained cognitively or biologically. Our bodies do what is best for us; what is necessary in order to survive.

In terms of Freud the Jerk's defense mechanisms, I am a subject of repression. I know this for a fact. Why else would there be gaps in time within my memory? Why is it that I do not remember things that I know, for a fact, happened?

When memories and moments of your life have been repressed, they don't just disappear. The thing is, they leave a footprint, and it's a pretty deep footprint in the sands of my mind. The events themselves may not stick, and it is difficult for me to retrieve them (if I would ever want to). However, they still effect me. The emotional imprint impacts things that I do in my everyday life.

This is why every time I need to pack things, I become the world's biggest procrastinator. I never, ever want to pack and I consider it to be tedious. Putting off the job for as long as I feel I can makes it disappear for a time, and I can remain comfortable. It was not until yesterday, the day before the movers came, that I could force myself to do what I needed to do to.

I don't only procrastinate during big moves from one country to the next. I procrastinate packing in general when it comes to packing things to go just about anywhere: when I have to leave for the summer, when I am going on a quick trip to visit family for a weekend, even to go to class that afternoon. I hate putting things in bags and suitcases and boxes. It becomes a stress every single time and I would rather do anything than put my things away.

I like my stuff out in the open. I like my clothes on a chair, not in a closet. I enjoy disorder, and I hate the idea of having multiple storage compartments in my room. My dream home and room doesn't include storage units. I seem to always forget them and now I am beginning to understand why. It isn't about having things on display - it's about keeping them out of containers. I don't want things enclosed. I even hate things like schedules and timetables, those metaphorical boxes that organise my time and life. They upset me more than I'd like to admit.

Could it be that all of these feelings, all of these preferences, stem from my trauma of having to leave one place? The ritual of putting things away to be shipped affected me enormously, and I know it. I know it even though I don't remember exactly why. This is the best explanation I have for it. Repression has shaped my life and has created behaviours that I barely think about. For many years, it has just been "my way" no procrastinate. I don't think that is a sufficient explanation anymore.

As much as it irritates me to say it, Freud had a few things right. He was awful to study and I'm glad I will never get to meet him during my lifetime (he'd be glad too, believe me) but he has given me the tools  to explain why I am the way I am. Maybe if I meet him in the glorious afterlife, my swears, punches and kicks won't be so harsh.

What I am doing right now, in some odd way, is making sure I don't forget what I am feeling and going through right now. I'm sure that over the next few months, once I have gone back to the US and started my grad school life again, I will not spend time thinking about my move and how it went. That will allow me to forget and I don't want that. I've even taken pictures of the chaos that existed in the villa with all of its boxes.

Yes, my brain is doing me a favour and hey brain, thanks, that's pretty cool. However, just this once, I want to keep this memory. I want to acknowledge that right now, I am unhappy and annoyed and stressed and I will continue to be until the movers are done and gone with our boxes.

Leaving this place is significant to me. I don't want to lose any of it.

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