In Memory of Memories
I hate remembering things. The concept of memory annoys me, so much. Nothing ever stays the same. I love listening to people talk about their fondest memories, different times, giving different accounts of the same story. Last month, he was shirtless in the story, last week, he wore a blue shirt, today, a leather jacket. Hilarious.
I have a friend who says sometimes, she mixes up what has happened in a movie, figments of her imagination and real-life situations. This isn’t fair, honestly, because what happens to memories we want to keep? People we can no longer speak to, or see. Things that have happened to us that we want to lock in forever? I’ve seen people say they have to grab a picture of a loved one who has passed away because they can’t quite remember what their face looks like. I would hate myself if I ever forgot the face of someone I lost.
Most times, when I’ve been away from my partner for a couple of weeks, I can’t remember what his hands feel like or how he smiles, or how he sounds like. Then I ask for voice notes and pictures like a maniac. I just want to run my hand across his palm, or touch his beard. Its painful, honestly. Why would I want to hold someone in my heart and parts of them starts to fall off? Why will memories of things that have happened to me become distorted, reoccurring in many different ways on many different days?
I think the most amazing is the ability of violent or painful memories to completely disappear, just get locked out. I know I shouldn’t have been aware of sex when I was, and I also know it was triggered by something, but I can’t put my finger on what. I know I understood every single bit of suffering my family went through, even though I was way too young to understand poverty. I know I knew I was hated, people despised me, because I was smart and outspoken and because my parents didn’t have the money to back up my opinionated self. It changed me, but I don’t remember crying or complaining, even though I can swear I did. C’est la vie, no matter how crazy.
I for one don’t bank on my memory for anything. I can’t remember dates for the life of me, I can’t be bothered to try, in fact, most times, I push my reading to a night before my exams, so that I don’t forget what I have read. It’s not because I’m stupid or something of that nature, in fact, I like to know a lot of stuff, I love to read a lot. I just don’t trust myself. My mind loves to spin stories so much, it mixes the old and the new, and everything is just creeping up behind my eyes, settling there like residue. I love to take solace in myself, secure myself in myself, so instead of going out to be with friends, I lay indoors and day dream, create fictional characters, cross the fictional and the non-fictional and birth a very beautiful in between, well, beautiful to only me.
I always tell people we ran away to Rukuba Barracks and hid away for a week; I know it was just a day, but the story in my head is an entire week. It started by me painting it as more elaborate, to make people captivated by the story, now, my mind presents it to me as a week before a day. I remember shaving off all the hair on my head and pouring baby oil all over it because it made me feel so free, I was only in primary four and I remember one of my mother’s friends coming to tell me not to cut my hair so low, that I was a girl and it wasn’t fair to my mom. She also said my mom was concerned so she sent her to tell me, but my mom can’t remember that. My sister, one time, in a jealous fit, cut up her school bag. She sat during break and tore the bag to shreds so she could get a new one, a bag my mother got her the previous term. There was no money, sincerely and my mother was angry at her, so she went inside the kitchen, brought out one bagco super sack that she used to take to the market and gave to my sister as her new “school bag”. I don’t remember if my sister took it to school for a week, a day, or didn’t take it at all. My mind is always talking about things to me, bringing up things it wants to discuss with me, not caring if I’m interested or not. My memory hurts me, shames me, unearths things I’d rather leave buried, stirs up my mistakes and muddles up my joy.
A lot of times, I have concluded I’ll be better off without it, because I don’t want to remember stupid mistakes I made, places I shouldn’t have been, words I should not have said. I know any other person will be consoled by the memories of those they love, but sometimes I don’t even want to remember those.
About The Author: Naomi Overo is one writer with a big heart, ready to share the peace that comes with pure expressions.
Noami is a writer before anything else.
A University of Benin graduate of English and Literature Education and writer for Afrobeats360.com.
Noami believes writing opens all doors.