We come into this world with everything we need, but a history. A history will create itself in time. Or we can invent one while we wait. That is how I interpret the reason for my hysterical memories; as the audacious precocious attempt to invent a history where one has not yet sprung from time.

My first hysterical memory is that of being a boy. Perhaps I was a boy. But it is easier to justify this memory as a hysterical one, as I was soon to be a girl. I am a girl, a woman even… I could not have been a boy, yet I remember being one, a baby one. I could not have been one; I could not have had one.  I remember being one, briefly.

There was a counselor I spoke with at this time, from time to time.  My counselor understood me, understood my questions, and was able to speak to me with utmost clarity. We spoke not so much with words as I recall, but with ideas and concepts too complex to be contained within the vocabulary of an infant. I call her a counselor now; she might be called an angel, or a psychotic voice. I’ll stick with counselor.  In the manner that we spoke to each other, I asked her, why had I been a boy, only to turn into a girl? She told me it was equitable; we should all have a range of experience. She told me everyone begins as a girl or a boy and then turns into a boy or a girl; it’s only fair.

I did not understand these memories to be hysterical right off the bat. I was convinced that I’d been a boy, that I’d seen rainbows emanating from the edges of people, and things, and animals, and plants. I was convinced that I’d had pre-cogent conversations with an invisible voice in my head whose sweet chords could speak my private language; a language that no one but I and the counsellor knew, in all the world. I was convinced that I had shared my notions on cosmology with the counselor, and that since these notions met her approval, that that was how the world worked.

By the time I was two, I understood that this was nonsense… or perhaps the memory of this eureka moment is itself another hysterical memory. Toddler memories are almost as suspect as infant memories.  Hysterical or not, these memories are recalled to me now with a sense as real as that of things that cannot be disputed; even more real than most which cannot be disputed.  I remember a feeling of humiliation, over having accepted with such gullibility an unsubstantiatable world view. To atone for this humiliation, with all of the maturity of a two year old – the irony here is conscious because I know I am guilty of attempted perjury between sisters in the family court or the crib, and still lack redemption. …with all the maturity of a two year old, I took upon the task of convincing my baby sister that my false idea, angel-counsel and all, on how we came to be girls instead of boys was true. That my baby sister was not yet developed enough to stand on her own two feet, did not seem to me to be an impediment to this indoctrination. She was after all an agreeable child who typically went along with any proposition that I presented to her. However, before she was fully convinced of this nonsense, I had a remorseful urge, spurred on by some latent kernel of guilt, so I interrupted my misinformation campaign against my baby sister before she could be converted to this apostasy.


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