Friday, August 3, 2012

Tricks of Memory

Memory can be a tricky thing. Two people go through the same experience together, but their stories will differ slightly when they recall what happened. Sometimes a person's mood even affects how they remember an event. The memory may be a little different one day than it is another day, not in the big moments but in the little nuances. We tend to forget the things that don't support our point of view, especially if it challenges our view of ourselves.

Other events can also taint our memory of one event because our brains make connections between events even if only in our memories. Those connections help us identify patterns in our lives, but they can also mislead us into believing two events are related when in fact they may not be. Of course, since they are memories that are part of our lives, how can two events that happen to one person not have some connection however remote?

Sometimes other people's recollection of an event makes us doubt our own memories. What we forget is we bring our own perspective and experiences to each event in our lives and to every memory as does the other person. Often our perception of an event is too clouded to even hear another person's intention or understand another person's reaction to an event. The taint that stains a memory can often make it impossible to heal the hurt or ever see the issue clearly, especially when two people see the whole event incredibly differently. Just because we don't understand someone else's perception or memory of an event doesn't make them crazy. Sadly, at times our points of view are so jaded, we can't relate to the other person.

As a writer, much of my work relies on memory, so I tend to commit things to memory and sometimes to put too much emphasis on my memories. It's not that I live in memory, but when I need to draw on life to write what I need to write it often requires me to delve into memories, good and bad, to give my writing more depth. At times as I delve into memory I discover hidden emotions and denied truths in the depths of my heart that I regret not recognizing before. Sometimes I find myself in tears over missed opportunities because I let fear of vulnerability stand in the way of me expressing a truth. Sometimes I chide myself for not taking a risk, for risking too much, or for being gullible. Sometimes, I can't help but play "what if" scenarios as I remember decisions made and options chosen.

The memories in my heart and mind are only one side of the story - my side. When I express those or use those to add layers to my work, I must always remember there are others who may be affected or who may remember things a little differently. It is my right to use my memories as I see fit, but it is my responsibility to use those memories in a way that doesn't misrepresent another person.

When my memory meets someone else's memory, the result may give us a foundation to grow closer or it may create a chasm that drives us away from one another.

Memory sure is tricky.


No comments:

Post a Comment