Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Journey Through and To Memory

Sneak preview of the
Memory in Silhouette cover
Sometimes memories are curses. I've been working on a book of poetry, Memory in Silhouette (release date to be announced soon), for the past few months. I hadn't planned on doing a book of poetry surrounding memories or the idea of what memory represents, but all these poems about memories and the effect my memories were having on me poured out of me. As I looked back over my unpublished work I began to realize I had enough to compile a book, so my planned book Life in Silhouette (a title I never particularly liked. It felt like a cop-out.) started to change before my eyes. It grew more focused on memory. And, as the focus shifted, I was reminded of the importance of letting things develop without pushing too hard.

Plans changed. This book started to take shape. This collection scared me. This collection felt raw. My last two collections, Love in Silhouette: Poems and Reflections in Silhouette: Poems contained some new poems, but they also contained some poems that were quite old. So does Memory in Silhouette, but Memory in Silhouette also contains some recent poems that took me to depths of emotions in my heart and soul that I didn't even realize were there. How could I feel something I didn't know I felt?

As I delved into my memories through the poems I wrote, I became acutely aware of who I am at my core. My inner self grew both insecure and more confident as I remembered different times in my life. I fought some memories because I didn't want to own them. In that fight, I realized those painful memories have as much to do with who I am today as my happy memories do. This seems to be a lesson I have to learn over and over as I travel through life.

The next few weeks, perhaps even months, are going to be memory-laden as I face moving forward with my life. We can't just box up the past, store it away, and promise to tend to it someday. That box of memories can too easily become an anchor to a life we need to release.

The longer we ignore whatever our pasts holds, the longer we tether ourselves to the anchor that pulls us under. We must lift the anchor of the past and allow ourselves to float upon the sea of memories that will take us to new adventures.

Our memories have the ability to tether us or to free us. We can decide to repeat the past or forge a new life. We can choose to learn from the lessons in our memories or never acknowledge them. We have the option to use our memories to honor who we were and move forward or to hide our heads in shame for the mistakes we made. Our memories are ours to do with what we wish, but those memories are what make us who we are today and who we will be tomorrow.

So when I say sometimes memories are curses, there's a reason. Our memories can show us our mistakes, our failures, our successes, and our triumphs. Triumphs and successes can ring bittersweet or truly joyful. Mistakes and failures can teach us to do better or embarrass us. Often, we find even a happy memory twinges with a moment of sadness or a sad memory divulges a triumph of adversity. Memories are always more complex than meets the eye.

While the journey to explore memory and its effect on my current life wasn't planned, I'm grateful for what I learned, and am still learning, by embracing the role memory plays in helping me evolve to be my best self! I hope you'll find inspiration in my journey through memory...


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