They’re fabricated like a work of art,
Full of colour and those tiny marks,
The details that will make it real
Even when it’s not.
We come along with painted brush
And fill in gaps the way we wish,
Disregarding paint by numbers,
Sploshing colour here and there.
And when the picture is complete
We stand way back admiring thoughts
That never were a part of life,
Never real, no matter how much we
Can feel we need them in our world.
I had a fascinating conversation with my son who is doing A-Level psychology today. He was talking about memory, and I guess my role as an educator means that I have a natural interest around the subject. I guess I’ve always known that memory is unreliable, but it’s only since becoming a teacher have I realised how bad it really is.
It’s amazing to hear about examples of eye witnesses totally making up what they saw – not because they want to deceive, but because their own brain has deceived them.
The effect of stress is the thing that really interests me. When I was drinking I worked in the hospitality industry and I had a very stressful time. The stress completely altered my perception of reality, so I’ve had first hand experience of how powerful and scary that kind of situation can be. I look back on that time and I still remember it being a bit like a fairytale with wicked witches and evil ogres. I guess my brain has done that to make sense of something terrible.
However, we deal with traumatic events, it is quite special what our brain does. I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences, funny or scary.
PS I’m 5 years sober today and feeling pretty flipping grateful. I just needed to put it out into the universe that life is OK.