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Memories: What are they Really Good For?

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

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Your memory is the glue that binds your life together; everything you are today is because of your amazing memory. You are a data collecting being, and your memory is where your life is lived.  Kevin Horsley – Unlimited Memory Positive

Jeez, I don’t even know where to start with how much a hate that quote. I get weirdly triggered when it comes to memories. People often talk about them in either one or two ways. Either, “think of all the good memories” or “they’re only memories they can’t hurt you”. Sometimes memories can be bitter-sweet, painful but thankful. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand their importance but if your memories are what makes you who you are; who are you if you have no memories.

I’ve struggled with this for a long time. I don’t believe I had a bad childhood. I had a mam and dad who loved me and who stayed together. Even when I didn’t think they would sometimes. I had a little brother who annoyed the life out of me. I had friends, small number of them but good ones. I suppose a classic standard fit family. What I don’t have is any memories from before I was about 15 years old.

What happened at 15 to make you forget I hear you say! Well if I knew that then I’d have memories wouldn’t I? At 15 life got a little bit harder, I was already diagnosed so that wasn’t it, but my dad got very sick. We were told not to expect him to recover in a large sense. Now I wonder if you read this and think, “ah, well that was it. It was the stress of her father which caused the memory loss”. Because that’s not what I think. I have no evidence to back myself up other than it’s just a feeling.

I remember everything about my dad being sick. I remember having awake-nightmares, that I was being pulled out from school to find out he’d died. I remember my mam crying on a night alone in the living room. But I don’t remember it being traumatic.

trauma noun 1.a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. “a personal trauma like the death of a child” 2.MEDICINE physical injury. “rupture of the diaphragm caused by blunt trauma”

So we’ll say it’s not trauma, humour me. I wonder how many of our memories are actually ours? I think a lot of peoples memories are made memories. You hear the stories being told, or someone tells you the story, then it’s your memory. Example, you ever been so drunk you woke up and couldn’t completely remember everything. Then a friend tells you that you vomited in a taxi. You now go on to tell that story, “I was so drunk on Saturday I vomited in the taxi!”. Sure this is a simple example, but it is true. Their memory is now yours. It’s hard not to fall into a paranoid trap, do I really remember anything correctly?

Did something happen that was so traumatic that my brain thought it safer to just ease anything that could lead me to it? That is even scarier to think, why would you want to know something like that? I don’t know if I would or wouldn’t. Curiosity did kill the cat.

So what was it? What happened to me to make me loose 15 years of life? And can I really know who I am without these essential building block memories? Or I could take this opportunity to renew myself, make up new memories. Apparently not, because if I could I surely wouldn’t be writing this post analysing what I don’t know.

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