Clean Slate

“Clean slate.”

“Let’s start afresh.”

Just like the word “again,” this is the stupidest concept I’ve ever heard. Cognitively speaking there is no such thing as a clean slate. Nope. That is not how the brain works. Unlike a whiteboard, you can’t just wipe it clean. It has memories, while they may be faulty, they exist to help you.

We use the past to inform our future. It is an evolutionary advantage that has a lot to do with our species surviving for so long. Some say even more powerful of an adaption than that opposable thumb. Being able to remember the past allows us to make informed choices about the future.  Not going to eat those berries again! I remember being really sick last time.

For most of my life, I’ve had people close to me asking for a “clean slate.” Or not asking at all, just pretending that none of it happened. Just pretending that the last 4 days of screaming and crying didn’t happen and never speak about it again. As a child, I welcomed this clean slate. A clean slate sounded wonderful. Anything to make the present stop and the adults around me promised each time it would be truly clean. But it never was, because a clean slate is not real. 

A clean slate does not exist. 

A clean slate is Santa Claus.

I wish I could say for those believers that this concept serves them. That they get presents from Santa even. That the clean slate allows bliss. An ignorant bliss. But I have enough evidence to say that is anything but the case. Instead it’s just the same movie over and over. The same misery over and over. The same “surprises.” The same berries that made them sick. 

Just noting here to remember. When someone asks for a “clean slate” know that is the biggest bunch of bullshit ever. 

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