Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Time Goes By

We all have remembered dates noted on our mental calendars: birthdays and anniversaries, but I've always had such a good memory of the history of my days that I carry a lifetime of associations with dates. People have told me they are envious of good memory. I've always said it's a blessing...and a curse. You remember the good things, but also the bad.

This summer I had a conversation with someone who was once close to me, and he told me "I have never forgotten a thing." He meant "about us." I held him to his boast when I asked him if he remembered what had occurred on the day we were speaking. My mere mention of it angered him so much he hasn't spoken to me since. Granted, it was a time when he acted less honorably than he should have with me. I've had time to regret mentioning it in hindsight, but in my own defense the matter preyed on my mind that day. Now when I remember that day next summer, I will undoubtedly go back to what happened that day in 2000, and factor in his ongoing silence of 2005 as another remembrance. Today is another one of those days, and it too involves Mr. Mute. Sadly, I remember what happened on this date in 2002, but I am sure he doesn't. I wish I didn't.

I asked my friends their feelings about dates and memories. They said when they are life-transforming you never forget them, and we are attached to them in the sense of experiences creating who we are. People say "we are only what we remember." I suppose this is true. Having been around people with Alzheimer's: people who lose all sense of their history and their selves, I've seen their personalities altered forever from that loss. It truly is frightening to see a person disappear before you, so I should be glad I haven't been ravaged by such a fate.

But... there are times when I have to ask and even wish, "Why remember?"


Blogger cuff said...

I don't keep the dates in my mind so well, but the events haunt me. I can't speak for the happy memories, but I think the traumatic ones stick there so we can work through them. Pure forgetting would be repression or worse to have no history. I'm thinking right now of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- can't just wipe that trauma away.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Remembering is good, at least I think so, as long as the emotions change over time.

May the memories stay clear but the sadness fade away over time. Thinking about you, oh mighty Cube of the powerful memory.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Megarita said...

Ugh, I chew on my memories until they are like sodden bones worked over by large canines. There's something to saying to oneself, "Let's not go there" when the memories become too present. But without those awful remembrances -- of shame, of anger, of hurt -- the hilarious ones and the happy ones would have no meaning. Anyway, all cliched out now.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous datingrulesforsitcoms said...

I always THINK I remember everything...until someone mentions something that had completely slipped my mind. For me...I tend to remember the bad stuff that happens to me...moments life didn't work for me and sorta skim over the good stuff. Eternal optomist, aren't I.

10:45 AM  
Blogger always write said...

Now that I've packed away the pain of some experiences without shelving the lessons learned, I sort of cherish the annual reminders; They keep me from making the same mistakes over and over again.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Lizzie said...

Like Mass, this post immediately made me think of Eternal Sunshine. Except I like the idea of a selective lobotomy of sorts. Sometimes I think it would be better to make the same mistakes over again than to live with painful memories.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Wrethcat said...

I tend to think that it is our memories that keep us sane. I keep thinking about the Alzheimer’s statement and know that even should we never suffer from such a thing, losing a memory means losing a piece of yourself. There are cases where a person suffers amnesia for whatever reason (trauma, either emotional or physical) and they can no longer relate to their "former" lives.

All of my reminiscent moments are important. Sometimes people ask me why I visibly cringe for seemingly no reason, and it is because I may remember some conscience wrenching choice from the past that just pops into my head from Hauntsville, or maybe even that moment when I met "The One" comes flooding back.

Good memories can soothe the soul, and even though I hate bad memories, I wouldn't trade the lessons I have learned from some of them.

9:08 PM  
Blogger A Unique Alias said...

I make every effort to remember nothing.

I re-read novels ten and twenty times and they always seem new. I can listen to my friends tell the same stories over and over again. I quash the pain of horrific shit that has happened in life.

Screw memory.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Chit Chat Man said...

I don't know if I agree with the "we are only what we remember" statement.

To me that statement implies that if we are our memories and that is so not true. I believe that we are who we are at this moment.

That doesn’t mean that who we are at this moment is not based on our past experiences, it just means that who we are is not predicated on what we remember but what we have gone through, whether we remember it or not.

Does this even make sense?

10:18 AM  
Blogger asianpixie said...

I like to remember as much as I can in my life. It grounds me in a sense. So maybe there is some validity to our memories providing a great deal of our identity.

BTW...I loved "My So-Called Life." I ended up developing a mild obsession with Claire Danes from that point forth.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

The things that I've loved the things that I've lost
The things I've held sacred that I've dropped
I won't lie no more you can bet
I don't want to learn what I'll need to forget

Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me

3:35 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I agree with Megarita. It is just like emotions; without the low times, can you truly appreciate the highs?

5:49 PM  
Blogger DCLastCall said...

What a curse to remember everything, especially in such detail. I much rather just remember the lessons learned.


9:23 PM  
Anonymous drew said...

"Memories fade, but the scars still linger" -- Tears for Fears

9:37 PM  
Blogger playfulinnc said...

Being haunted isn't such a bad lets you know you came from somewhere, and can get through those places again, if need be.

I have been told by an ex or two that I have a "cut and run" mentality when it comes to break-ups.

Maybe I do, but at least I know when it is time to move on. The new skill is to know this before I have wasted more of the good looking years. :)

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Mataz said...

I was reading "A Prayer for Owen Meany" yesterday and stumbled across a quote that reminded me of this entry:

"Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!"

Just thought I'd share.

8:43 AM  

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