As much as I like to believe that my mind is a clean slate, it’s filled with memories if not thoughts. Even if you believe with all your heart that certain things in your past didn’t happen the memories still come back undoing all that effort. I often spend large portions of my days reliving my past. I visit many old haunts, I remember them as clear as day. Memories are something I have always held very dear to my heart. They are a large part of my personality, that led me this far.
Over the past few days, I have been visiting certain memories I had forgotten about. It’s like running through an old photo album, you see the flashbacks and you can even feel the emotions associated with those memories. Your mind may forget but the heart never really does. It was refreshing, there have been so many memories that have been captured by my mind with my noticing. As I flipped through the album, old slivers of myself returned to me, little quirks that I had grown out of, habits that changed with time and people who also changed with time.
When the memories struck, small changes between then and now reappeared in my mind’s eye. I remember how different the living room looked when we had first moved in, and it has been nearly fifteen years I have been in this house and so much changed. I looked through my bookshelf, noticing how with every shelf my taste in literature expanded and changed. The breadth of the book gives away my age. The exercise still makes it feel like I am looking at those books for the first time.
I saw through my bedroom window the weirdest change of them all. The roofs were the same fifteen years ago, but now the trees are taller than the roofs forming a green, leafy blanket over red tiles. Time flies and we barely notice, we just sit around waiting, sometimes wasting. I still lie on the couch in the same position I did years ago, but the cushions on the couch have changed. Yes, it’s a simple process of wear and tear, material things often spoil after time, but if you stay in a place long enough you remember on those odd days everything you’ve ever owned.
While I walked down memory lane, I visited the shelves at the back of the house where the oldest things are kept, dusty and rendered useless with time. Piled over each other along with empty boxes and things I saw my stash of board games. Games gifted to me on birthdays, and some I junked when I lost a piece or two. My mind exploded into fireworks of memories, of me sitting during so many summer vacations playing word games with my family, Monopoly and the Game of Life. I loved the Game of Life, it was the best game for a child who loved to plan, roll the dice and you get a salary, married or a house! It was brilliant. I loved the puzzles I would sit and complete and my mind suddenly remembered the huge 1000-2000 piece puzzle my sister and I sat and put together for hours.
Of course, there are sad memories. There are people who walked out, there were fights that shouldn’t have ended the way they did. There are also tasks that should have ideally been completed. But you have to take them all with a pinch of salt. You can’t wish those memories out of existence. It’s pointless to try and forget them and on the days when you’re at your worst, they’ll come back to haunt you. I can’t stop them, all I can do is try and make as many happy memories to cancel out the sad ones.
I have this peculiar system, when I try to block something out or I am fighting a memory very hard, I get horrible headaches. It’s like my body goes into damage control to prevent me from seeing those very memories. I found with time that the more I opened my mind and allowed it to ponder I could cross those memories without fighting them.
I love memories, I have a little box where I store little bits and pieces of memories, stationery, photos, badges, things that made a difference. I am an impulsive hoarder so I have a lot of things stashed away that actually should be thrown away now that I think about it. At one point I had a huge box filled with bus tickets, just plain bus tickets and I have no idea why. It was something impulsive I would do, every time I’d travel on a city bus I’d come home and put the ticket in a box. I have a strange attachment to everything in my childhood and I have files filled with some of my crappiest writing from when I was a child and I won’t show it to anyone.
I open it only when I need a reminder of who I was and amidst those pages are letters my grandfather wrote to me. I would in my large, ridiculous and illegible handwriting post letters to him and he would respond to the letters of my seven-year-old self like I was an adult who was writing profound things. He was the first person who had faith in me, and I read those letters just to know that even when I was not much he still had faith in me and encouraged me to ask the tougher questions.
Today I am a different person but I am still the same. I am still the same person who even today will get a bus ticket and put it in the box, no matter what it’s worth. I still add pages to those files, poems written on paper napkins that I wrote at a cafe that I’d visit on my own, bookmarks, postcards and leaves too. Often people get very carried away with life. I got carried away with mine recently, thinking about my depression day in and day out. Yes, the depression is there but I have so many memories that are picture perfect, how can I let one illness take away from all of that?