Friday, September 6, 2013

Teach Me to Forget

I know I can't be alone on this boat. I know I am not the only one that has tried for years to forget a certain event, a certain person, a certain circumstance.. and yet despite all that trying; find themselves staring at a memory embossed in the soul. Etched in eyelids of the heart. Forever branded in your mind.

Why is it that things I want to remember- deep conversations with friends that reveal the trenches of their being and the make up of their persona, words of comfort and direction that will light the path you saunter, pleasant memories that make your heart swell, etc- are all held captive in the foggy room in your brain that shrinks and swallows these moments away forever? Geez, it's an uphill battle for me to even remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but when it comes to one topic in particular.. it's almost instantaneous. Effortless. Like blinking. And all of a sudden.. there it is, in all its glory.

Every hue in the spectrum vivid, the reflection of sunlight, the day, the occasion, the moment. I want to forget it. For good. Not just stash it away in a treasure chest and drop it in the deepest part of the sea of my soul- only to find it gained buoy abilities and has glass-bottled its way to the shore. No. I want it gone. Out of sight and mind. I want it to be gone as smoothly and easily as hitting backspace on this sentence.

Hence, its not meant to be. (I've tried that too.)

I'd really like to crack the code on why certain synapses stay forever lodged in repeat mode. You throw them in a dusty corner, cover them up with mounds of new memories, (which require a lot of hard work) only to realize that any unexpected trigger will electrify them into rebirth. There has to be a better way.

My explanation for this- because it's the only semi-rational thing I can conjure- is that the deeper the emotion for a memory, the longer the memory sticks around. Were you utterly embarrassed, humiliated, hurt, lovestruck, shocked, amazed.. ? Then the memory associated with it will probably last a lifetime. (Sorry) Take for example, your first day of school. Because of the nervous apprehension and excitement of that day, you probably remember it vividly, if not pretty well. You probably can recreate the scene in your mind. Same goes for your first day of work, or your first time being lost, etc, etc..

But can you remember what you had for dinner two months ago on a Saturday? Or what time you took the trash out that day? If you're normal; probably not. Why should you, right? But here's the thing- somewhere in your mind, that information is there. The brain doesn't just arbitrarily choose what to store and what to discard, right?... Can it be that it takes cues from your emotional make-up to decide whether information is worth storing? In such case, you are subconsciously telling your mind what memories to hold dear and what is useless data.

So... in a nutshell.. don't care = forget. Care to a degree = remember.

It has to be the reason why I keep forgetting not to dry my face with a towel before removing my make up, even though my mother has no problem reminding me every. single. time.

Anyway- I digress. The point in case is- care less, forget more.

I've tried re-conditioning. For the most part, it's effective. I call it "Overlapping Memories". Revisit the place you want to forget, and create new, positive memories. But all the effort put into this sometimes reminds me why I'm putting so much effort into this. Which then reminds me of the original memory.

Clearly if all these years of hard work, of deleting, casting away and throwing out objects that remind you of that moment hasn't worked; maybe it's time for a different approach.

Yes; maybe it's time to take a walk down to the abandoned basement of the mind, dig through the piles of dusty boxes, remove the furniture and broken knick-knacks, drag out and stare this memory right in the face. Invite it for musing, accept the fact it will probably always be a part of you, and decide not to care any longer. Save yourself the mental homework, the draining process of burying it with a ton of physical and mental creations, and let it be.

After all, you can't control the past, or even most of the present and future. But you will always be able to-and you can always find solace in the fact, that ultimately only you can control your reaction to any situation life throws your way.


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