Shy of narcissism, people are self-deceiving, seeing themselves as more important, smart or attractive than they truly are. But, deceit does not stop simply at the perception of self. No, we are all capable of deceiving ourselves to the point that our unconscious mind can shape an experience for us that is so vivid, it transforms the self.
Last week, I learned from my mother that one of the most important events in my life never happened, or at least not in the way that I had remembered. I never went to the funeral, although I did insist on wearing a tie to the grave-site afterward and the weather was poor. I never witnessed the lowering of her casket into the earth. I did not sit in a pew in the left side of the church during the service; I was never there. Too scared to attend, I had remained at home.
My memory had been falsified, but it gave me hope:
“Really? What about walking away from her at her house before she died? When she wanted a hug?” I asked.
“No, that really happened.”
It turns out that the unconscious mind is only capable of erasing a finite level of guilt, the rest is left for me to deal with.