Jan 25, 2011
If You Say So
I have a really bad memory. Anybody who knows me would back me up on this one. Sometimes I call myself absent minded but that's only because it makes me feel like I have a good excuse to forget things. Like there's so much going on in my head I can't cram it all in there. I'm not selective either. I'll forget people, events, places, appointments, facts..... whole episodes of my life. I wonder sometimes if other people experience memories the same way I do.
Some memories are so crystal clear. I could close my eyes and be taken back to that moment in time. Remembering the sights, exactly what was said, someone's tone of voice or a facial expression. Most surprising of all, these memories bring back the feelings, both good and bad. Life changing moments like the first time I held both of my children in my arms. Or the first time I laid eyes on my husband. The time I sat holding my uncle's hand as he lay dying.
Sometimes I wonder if some of my memories are only there because someone captured a picture of that moment. I clearly remember cutting my sister's bangs when she was five and and I was nine. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get them even. I kept cutting them shorter and shorter until my mother finally intervened. My shortlived career as a pre-teen hair stylist was memorialized in her school picture the next day.
I remember more details than just the haircut. I sat her in a chair in the backyard while I chopped at her bangs with the dull kitchen scissors. I put a towel around her shoulders to catch the hair. I even remember it was a blue towel with flowers on it that my mother got out of a box of laundry detergent. Is it the picture that solidifed those memories? Every time we pull out my sister's kindergarten picture the story is retold. How could I ever forget it? Or was it my mother's anger that cemented this memory in my brain? Why this memory above so many other forgotten moments?
Sometimes a memory is nothing more than a flash. I have a picture in my head of myself up on the roof of my neighbors garage with all the neighbor kids trying to coax me to come down. A big tree is just within my reach but the two inch gap looms like the Grand Canyon in front of me. I had to have been three based on where we were living at the time. I don't remember getting up on the roof and I'm not sure how I got down either. I remember the terror I felt though.
Most troubling of all is when I can't remember something that somebody else remembers so clearly. A friend saying "Hey remember the time we......." and I have no flipping clue what they are talking about. Could have been something from high school or it could have happened only a few years back. I'm also ashamed to admit that a good 20% of my high school facebook friends are people I only think I know. I really don't remember them. They have the same friends I do. The name seems familiar. But if my life depended on it I couldn't recount one single conversation I had ever had with them.
It sometimes seems as if I'm racing through my life leaving behind key pieces of it. It's very unsettling.