Friday, May 7, 2010


Memories are funny things.  I went to a seminar wednesday about the biology of memories and the role of Capase 3, which I will not bore you with, but it got me thinking.  Sometimes the memory is clear and sometimes it is not and that is independent of whether it is a real memory or not.  For example, I remember very clearly watching the Challenger explosion in third grade.  I know it was third grade because I remember the room.  But the Challenger exploded January 28, 1986.  I was five.  I was in Kindergarten in a different state.  Maybe I remember watching the Discovery being launched September 29, 1988?  Maybe I associate it with the Challenger because it was the first flight since then.  I don't know.  Maybe we were watching a movie.

Anyway, you see my point.

I have always believed that my first memory is of my first panic attack.  Of course, I didn't know that it was a panic attack until many many years later, but I always kind of used it as a turning point in my life.  Before that attack and after.  I always kinda felt as if my memory was wiped clean in that moment, that is why I don't remember anything before it.  Or perhaps that is false too.  Maybe it is not my earliest memory, but just a very clear early memory.

Recently my mom has been saying that things we remember as children didn't happen.  Thankfully there are four of us children, so when our four stories match and she says we're lying, we know it is her.  Makes me wonder, though, if she doesn't remember, if she doesn't remember correctly, or if she is just plain lying.

I know that sometimes your mind makes you forget unpleasantness.  I'm sure I don't have to tell you.  I don't remember most of my son's birth.  I've read that your brain does this so that you will have children again, because, God knows, if I remembered how much that hurt, really, I'd surely never want children again.  I also do not remember what happened when the car hit our house.  I remember tiny snippets, like thinking my ex was dying and my dad yelling at the driver to turn off his engine because the house was filling with exhaust.  I remember the driver apologizing and me not giving a shit.  But that is about all.  No one was hurt, but it damaged the house so much that every time we look at it we are reminded.

Sometimes all you can remember is the unpleasantness.  I was with my ex for 7 years.  We were happy for most of it, I think.  God knows I don't remember when.  I sure as hell remember the bad shit though.  I wish I could remember some of the good times, too.

The last memory I want to share is a memory that I have no idea why I retained.  I was young and on a bus with my Nanna.  The bus was tilted, so we must have been on a hill.  I remember looking out the window and seeing grass.  That is it.  Just that moment.  I don't know where we were going or coming from.  I have no idea if this is even a real memory, because why would I remember it?  It was nothing special.


  1. funny thing memory.....mine is very spotty like yours, some good , some bad....but all real


  2. Did you talk to Liz about this? Mom keeps on saying what I remember is wrong and that I shouldn't want to remember the things that I don't... She makes me feel awfully crazy...

  3. I remember when I was four, I was riding my bike with no training wheels for the first time.. it's one of my first memories ever.

  4. Raine...I too have these random blurbs that hang out in my periphery seemingly without reason.

  5. yeah, I know what you're talking about. Sometimes a memory, like a snapshot, will just pop into my head. Driving by a gas station in my hometown, the park in Lima, sitting on my front steps as a kid, the pine needles that fell off the neighbor's tree... Other things, like my ex, are all bad. Even good memories are bad because they just make me sad. I wish there was a way to erase them. I was trying to remember something about him/us that didn't make me sad and all I could come up with is that he taught me how to drive on snow and that there's no reason to be in a hurry all the time.

    Memories can be awful things. I wish the good times were the dominant ones :S


Whatcha think?