Monday, January 5, 2015


I hate the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  There I said it. Actually I am pretty sure I said it right after I watched it, and any time it's brought up as just THE BEST movie and THE GREATEST thing. I hated it. I found the concept interesting, at first, but then just hated it.

Life is our memories. It's what makes us who we are. If we don't have our past we have no idea how we became who we are. And the thought of just going in and erasing the things that didn't go well? Just because they hurt to think about? Just because they didn't go perfectly? That's so against the way I view the world. We are our experiences.

It's actually part of a story I've been working on for ages. Someone with the ability to change memories. To cut them out and patch you up so you don't miss them. Don't even know they are gone. I've been trying to write my visualization of it for ages, sort of like a quilt having a square wear out and a new one patched in. If you look closely you would be able to see the seam isn't quite right, the colors don't quite match, but if you weren't looking closely you would never notice. In my story it's done without their knowledge. Which makes it even worse.

Watching Vampire Diaries (don't judge me) the other day there was a scene with Elena and Damon that made me say "Yes! That!" to the TV. See, she had her memories of him compelled away. Basically erased them because they hurt too much to deal with. (It's a soap opera with Vampires, long story, makes "sense" in the world they are living in) She thought he was dead, now that she knows he isn't and they are trying to figure out their new relationship, he remembers their old, she doesn't, she finally apologizes to him for having the memories erased. Because they weren't just hers, they were his as well.

I loved that. Yes! Our experiences are ours. They are what makes us who we are. But the shared experiences are what makes our relationships what they are. Nobody remembers an event the same exact way. But when we get together with friends or family and we reminisce about something we all did together? Those are our shared memories, those are what makes those relationships. And it's always fun to hear about something from a different perspective. What stuck out for them as being interesting, or fun, or heartbreaking?

So I get that desire to sooth yourself. To be tempted to erase the memory of a relationship that went badly, or an experience that wasn't all you had wanted it to be. We do it now with chemicals (drinking to forget, getting high to numb the pain), with rewriting history (if we tell ourselves a story often enough we will believe it), and with trying to erase bad memories with good ones (reliving events with other people to try and crowd out the original), but instead of hiding from the old memory embrace it. It's all you. And them. You got where you are today through all of those steps. The solid ones and the missteps. You are who you are because of the people that have come in to and out of your life. Don't worry so much about erasing the bad memories, learn what you need from them and then just let them drift. Still there, just not forefront, and definitely not gone.

Your memories. Our memories. Shared memories. It's all part of who we were and who we are now.

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