What's Your Earliest Childhood Memory, You Big Fat Liar?


Last week, my friend Heather of, Awesome Portraits, and creator of my shiny new cartoon avatar (featuring my face, but also not my face), linked to a rather interesting piece in The Guardian about first memories. A new study suggests that most of our first memories aren't actually real and are, more likely, built around family stories or photographs we've seen of our childhood. The article also asked readers for accounts of their first childhood memories and whether these recollections differ from, or were informed by, their families.

My family have always remarked on how sharp my early memory is so, I was definitely intrigued to see if Mamma Imposter recalled this particular event in the same way as I did. In any case, I thought it was worth sharing my contribution here:




YOUR NAME
Nadia

HOW OLD ARE YOU
31. From now on, I am always 31.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE
Somewhere.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOURSELF, OCCUPATION ETC

Freelance features writer, isn't it (I didn't really write isn't it).

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?
When I was about three or four years old, I was attacked by our dog, Sheba (she was a queen, you see). I went to pet her in the garden one day and she knocked me down, overpowered me, and went to bite me before a family member, thankfully, intervened.
My memory of the incident doesn't contain violence or her ferocity. Rather, it's in fragments. The feeling of falling to the floor and my puffy coat hitting the ground. The pressure of her weight on my chest. A snippet of a large animal standing over me and barking nose to nose, but my mind has edited this quite heavily. Then a swinging sensation as I was gathered up and rushed inside and the grit and dirt were being washed away from my tiny hands under, what seemed like, enormous taps. Then I remember calm and ease and being carried back into the garden, because I wanted to be outside again, and being gently placed on top of our car in my puffy coat and one of my parents holding me as I ate a box of mini Smarties.
I remember the colours splayed across the palm of my hand, dimpled by gravel and scuffed all over, and thinking how lucky I was to be eating so much chocolate before dinner.

DO YOU THINK IT REALLY HAPPENED LIKE THIS? HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO FAMILY ABOUT IT?
I have spoken with family, my mother in particular. Her recollection of the event is a great deal more jarring and frenzied. The reality of it must have been, especially with a loud barking animal in the midst of things. My parents have spoken about this incident over the years but my memory of it appears to have focused more on snatches of physical sensation and colours, as opposed to the violence or trauma of the event itself. My version is also, notably rather silent which it, obviously, wasn't in reality.

DO YOU HAVE A PHOTO OF YOURSELF FROM THIS TIME? IF SO, YOU CAN UPLOAD IT HERE
Yah. it's up there ya binch. (I didn't write this. I just uploaded the photo and submitted the form. Well, I actually uploaded a current photo of my face because I'm an idiot. So, I resubmitted with a correct photo of my past-tense-face and my apologies for said idiocy).



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It's curious isn't it, the details we hold on to and how this moulds the reality of the overall picture in our minds. In terms of the theory discussed in the article, my version of events omits a great deal of the details we supposedly add in after the fact and that are constructed from family stories or photographs. So, how very dare you call tiny me a liar thankyouplease *glove slap, challenges The Guardian to a duel*
I don't remember which house we were in, or the colour of the car, or even who it was that whisked me up and out of harm's way. Rather, my memory of this incident is rooted in protection and care giving, where I am swooped up deftly and feel completely safe. But, of course, that's very far from the shouty, woof woof circus that everyone else who was present that day recalls.


Food for thought.
Right, that's all from me today. I'm off to nestle into a puffy coat and eat a thousand Smarties.

Until next time.

-N



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