I had a conversation the other night with my Dad and cousin about memories. My Dad claims to have a horrible memory and when questioned about certain events, such as my birth, he says he can’t remember anything. My cousin, Emily, says her memories tie more around feelings. She might not remember the actual event so well, but she will remember exactly how she felt that day. She also thinks her long term memory is much better than her short term memory. And me? Most of my childhood memories are gone. The ones I do remember I remember vividly. I remember almost every detail from that event and can even picture it in my mind. My memories are visual. Probably explains some of my sleep anxiety issues. I never know which picture show will play on my eyelids that night. But the best part of having a visual memory is being able to laugh over and over again at the funny moments. I can still remember the frozen, confused look on my Dad’s face as he stuttered over the words “sockey and hoooooooocccccckkkkkeerrrr” when he realized mid-syllable he had gotten soccer and hockey wrong.
Who knows how we develop our method of memory keeping. I’m fascinated by those who are able to seemingly track their every past movement in a memoir when I can barely remember what I wore to work on Tuesday. Journal writing is supposed to be cathartic. It’s supposed to be a form of self-journaling where we can look back at the peaks and pits of our days, the mountains and valleys, and track the ebb and flow of life. I try to journal and I end up writing what I ate that day. Is that therapeutic? Is it just the act of reflection that’s therapeutic or does the writing have to have some sort of meaning to be healing?
I’ve often thought about writing a memoir and sharing the story of my life. If I try to explain why my life events will be interesting to others, what about my life I think is so special, and why anyone would care I really can’t except to say it was pretty normal. And that’s what I think is the fascinating part. Too many memoirs center around a pivotal moment, a moment where the author can track all of their present and future behaviors and suss out the meaning behind their lives. I could say I have such a moment, those who know the moment would probably say it is the moment, but I don’t want that moment to be the moment. I don’t want to be someone whose whole life and their every decision is influenced by that moment. I want to be a collection of moments. A joining together of experiences that shaped who I am. Because I see myself as ever evolving and if that one moment is the moment that defined me, then my changes would always be along the same trajectory.
I know one day my story will go down in writing. Whether that takes the form of a memoir, novel, poem, or graffiti I don’t know. But one day my story will be etched.