chapter  3
18 Pages

Jan’s story

ByViv Martin

Research into memory in recent years suggests that memory is constructed as well as stored. As Jan considers 'the facts', she goes on to explore and construct memories which convey a 'narrative truth' that adequately captures her experience. Jan's earliest associations are the smells, the sounds and the sights of hospital—'not the usual memories' but 'a different experience', which is embodied. Jan spent a lot of time in hospital throughout her childhood and adolescence, and therefore it was an environment with particularly powerful associations and complex meanings. Jan's repeated periods in hospital are set against the backdrop of an English education system, where at eleven or twelve, the transition from primary school to secondary school takes place. In having access to her own vulnerability, Jan is able to recognise how important that is in her relationships at work and more able to undercut those power dynamics and to empathise with others.