The answer to this question is no longer lost within a science fiction novel. It has become part of modern science, in particular, Behavioral Epigenetics. I first read from a Science Daily article about the harm from childhood sexual trauma, and a so called, ‘suicide gene’. I added the original link to the end of this article because after I read the article, well, it was as if someone had smacked me in the face with a baseball bat.
Let me set the scene, I am middle-aged, sitting behind my office desk; I had discovered the article as I researched for medical malpractice underwriting information. I literally took my hand off the computer mouse like it was radiation hot. Because I immediately understood what it ‘felt’ like, and to learn about the hard effort from scientists who had found the biomarkers within our genetic code. Simply written, it influenced me, a hardened business person who had never told anyone about his childhood, except his loving wife, to write the novel, Bobby’s Socks. And then I wrote the novel, Fishing for Light. The main character, Eddie, just like the character, Bobby, had an early life trauma that switched on the wrong gene instructions. I guess reading that article switched on a life passion.
If you think about DNA, and the interwoven helical shape, it sort of reminded me of the yarn strands that a weaver uses to create colorful, warm socks. So, the answer is not the DNA strand, or a single gene, but the genetic instructions, and how childhood trauma ‘marks’, or better, causes biochemical mutations along the DNA strands. From what I have learned, our brain does not fully develop until we reach the age of 25 years. So in a way, if you are a child and you slip on a pair of your grandfather’s socks, you might note a few imperfections, minor flaws that have developed from age, or he might have stood to close to a raging fire. That burn mark carries forward into your brand new socks, and then the frozen moments from childhood that you learned what is was like to touch a hot stove. I think we all have those moments, and if we put ourselves in context, we can in a way transport back to the exact moment and see the trauma in our minds eye. That is not just a thought, but a real biochemical reaction. At your base essence, you just do not “get over it”; it is written on your genetic code.
My hope is that as a society we continue to support the scientists shining light on those sun burn marks hidden in our genetic code, and then therapies to help sooth away the hurt beneath our skin.