When I was three or four I fell down the basement stairs of my home and broke my collarbone. (Which is actually the first and only broken bone I've ever suffered.) I've been told that I cried so much I looked like I'd been out in the rain. All of the x-rays they took at the hospital have my mother's hand in them - if she took it away, I wailed.
This was obviously a traumatic event for me, and yet, because of the age I was when it happened, I have absolutely no recollection of it in my mind. And that fascinates me. Sometimes I think that I remember certain aspects of the event, but I'm sure that these are simply details I have been told by other people. And yet... I wonder if I do remember, but in a different way, somehow.
I wonder if the feelings I felt that day lie dormant in me somewhere, just waiting for a trigger to call them forth. I have a bump on my collarbone at the place where it broke - a physical reminder of the accident. But I think that I also have emotional scars from the incident. I think that that trauma helped shape who I am in a way. I am withdrawn, hesitant, slow to trust, for instance, and I wonder if I am so because of that early experience.
I suppose it all comes down to the issue of nature vs. nurture. It's quite possible that my personality was fully formed when I first came into the world, and that the accident had nothing to do with who I am today. But somehow I don't think so. I prefer to believe that the accident may have had a positive long-term effect, in that I am attuned to other people's suffering and can offer them compassion and therefore help them heal.
Empathy as my superpower. I like it.