I was recently reflecting on a past assignment that was given to me in middle school. My memory of the prompt is vague but it went along the lines of, “write down your most cherished memories from your life.” I wrote about the experiences that I thought I was going to cherish forever. But now, four years later, I have matured and so have my memories.
I remember going into kindergarten and meeting a girl who I thought would stay in my life forever.
I remember my parents fighting over the phone.
I remember day dreaming all the time.
I remember the smell of summer in the valley and my blonde ringlets.
I remember being alone in my room but being utterly content.
I remember growing up faster than my friends,
isolating myself, being insecure.
And years later, I remember my self-realization.
I remember listening to different music, wearing different clothes, and becoming myself.
As I wrote my “memory list” 6 years ago, I have grown into (what I think) is a more emotionally in-tune woman. These memories are not actual moments from my life but rather feelings and emotions. In thirty years from now, I know I will not remember all the details from my favorite concert or my first crush, but I will retain the feelings that come along with those situations.
“I was talking about time. It’s so hard for me to believe in it. Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to think it was my re-memory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place—the picture of it—stays, and not just in my re-memory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”Toni Morrison, Beloved