Call it what you will, sense of self, consciousness, identity or whatever – I’ve been me for a very long time. I was watching an old television series that first ran when I was about 16 or 17 and it transported me back to those days.
And unlike some people who divide their lives into phases and identify separate eras of their development with the stroke of the clock, I realized that at that age, I was entirely me. And even before then.
I remember coming out of a childhood depression that started at the age of 11 when I was 14, and while I definitely felt like a cloud had lifted (probably the result of a hormonal shift, that plus being tired of being depressed), I didn’t feel as if I had moved from one phase to another. I was still me. So I was me at 11.
And before that, I remember a childhood filled with calculations – how far could I push my mother before she went off and beat my ass (which, translation for a Black child coming up when I did, meant getting spanked, not child abuse).
Best I can tell, I’ve been myself since about the age of 7. I don’t remember any great transition to the here and now, so it may have been earlier. But in any event, it was no older than 7 but could have been younger. Could have been 6, or 5, or 4. My first memories were when I was around 3. I know this from pictures taken at that time and memories that I know existed from that time. One the other hand, maybe I’m just projecting a memory from photographs --- but I don’t think so.
And I recall making decisions in my early twenties that I later saw others similarly situated disavowing as the hubris, and naiveté, of youth. But I did not. Not then and not now. I always said, when speaking of those times, that I knew exactly what I was doing because I was an adult. I have never used the excuse of youth for doing things in my life that I later came to regret.
Now, in the autumn of my life, I recognize that I have been fully there – fully me – for all of my life that I can recall. Except perhaps for the first four or five years of so. Of course, given the fact that science tells us that your personality is fully formed by the age of six; and many believe that we are able to tap into all of the powers of our mind, including telepathy and remembering past life experiences, up until about the age of six, I am compelled to believe that I’ve been me all my life. Fully conscious of who I am and that I have most definitely been here before. Not because I remember my past lives --- I do not -- but because I have a sense of history in my own life that I have no logical reason to possess.
I believe there was something here before. I believe that I am a continuation of something that I knew before but cannot now remember. But what I do remember is that I have been a fully formed intellect for all my days. Let’s hope that reality will persist for the rest of my life.