Meeting Mexico; part two
part two ….
This strange, vague memory has haunted me many a time in my life. I’m looking through a window, and there is darkness all around me. I feel frightened and alone, and as I look out of this small window to the bright world outside, I feel panicky and stricken with fear. I’m looking at my mother, and I am filled with sorrow and worry. And everything seems to fade to black, fading into a dark fog, like a giant eye closing itself up and the memory is gone along with it.
For the longest time I wasn’t sure if this scene was from a movie I’d seen at some point in my life, or maybe a book I’d read. It was strange, and disconnected, and I couldn’t recall anything surrounding it, no context for what this memory stood for or what it belonged with.
It is my memory, actually. Many memories that I have – that people with MPD have – can be in the form of a snapshot; like a tiny picture in a photo album, or feel like a tiny snippet from a movie reel. This snippet felt like a movie for a very long time, until I was able to connect it to the girl I call Mexico.
When I was in second grade, my life was almost good. Sort of OK. I had many things around me that I enjoyed; friends next door that I played with, who invited me to their house where they had Spanish TV and lots of colorful decorations. I had neighbors on the other side who let me swim in their pool, and gave me Barbies they had outgrown, as if one can really ever outgrow dressing up tiny people. I had a semi boyfriend from Guam, and walked over the train tracks every day on the way to and from school, and Kumquat trees in the back of my house. Life was almost alright.
But then summer came, and I found myself kidnapped.
Well not really; but it felt that way to me. My mother was working a lot of hours at the time, and I don’t know where my dad was, working or doing school, but we had a baby sitter that watched us every day during the summer. She wanted to go to Mexico with a group from our church, and so she asked my mother if she could take us – me and my sister, ages eight and ten. Sure, says my mom. Why not. A week in Mexico, maybe two? This way of course she doesn’t have to plan out meal times, and she will have a respite from my never ending complaints about flea bites.
The trouble is, I don’t think anyone told me about this trip.
Suddenly one day I’m being herded onto a long, dark bus, and waving out the window at my mother, wondering if I am ever going to see her again. I know the people I am with in the bus, and of course, there is my sister, so it’s not as though I’m all that crazy right now. But I don’t quite understand what’s happening. Am I going to summer camp? Am I going to a new church? No, I guess I’m driving for hours and going to Mexico.
Not that it wasn’t fun or anything like that. I got a cool piggy bank I would never have gotten otherwise. I got to attend festivals and carnivals and watch my babysitter haggle with a man for the best prices over cookware. I got to sleep on a concrete floor in a sleeping bag and stay up all night while the wild dogs barked ferociously at the overgrown cockroaches. And I got to wonder if maybe I had been kidnapped and was going to be sold or donated to this orphanage I was being forced to work at.
And even though it was really only a week, and my sister seemed to have the time of her life on this trip, for me this excursion was full of fear and confusion and diarrhea from drinking the water. Because I have MPD, and the smallest thing – like telling your child she is going on a work vacation with her sitter and not, in fact, being sold as a slave or loaned out to a neighboring family for work needs – well those little things can be very important. Without this information, I’m messed up. For years and years I walked around feeling a little dead somewhere inside, because when I left on that bus and was dropped off in Mexico, that part of me never really came back. THAT girl, who didn’t know what was happening, never really made it back into my fold of people. She sort of turned into a little ghost; a hanger.onner, who is sort of part black blob of misty memory, and part ghost child with a ball and chain. That girl left home, never to return. Because sometimes MPDers can’t handle certain things, or are overwhelmed by situations. And she just got lost in Mexico, when the rest of me came back home on the bus.
And it’s OK now; I still love tacos and burritos and all Mexican foods, while completely hating sleeping on hard surfaces and when barking dogs can’t settle down. It’s a balance I try to live with. And I’m glad to have finally come to remember my little person Mexico, and be able to attach her back into my system a bit.
Still, it’s hard to lose a piece of yourself to the wild…to the dark and mysterious areas of the world out there. And the memories and experiences with this little one are yet to unfold all the way…who knows what interesting things she might recall in the future!