musings | memories

yesterday it started snowing for the first time this year. i'm hearing stories about the lack of snow all over canada. but here on vancouver island it's not particularly strange. the first year i moved here, february felt like spring.

when i was little my brothers and i use to pour orange pop or pepsi on snow and then eat it like a treat. thinking back, i'm not entirely sure how clean the snow was. but then, i don't have a great memory at all for details like that.

in fact, i'm comfortable saying that i have a terrible memory. i've always been so jealous of those people who, when they quarrel with someone, they are able to list the other person's past mistakes like they are checking consecutive points on a scoreboard. i know that sounds totally horrible but there's a great deal of resentment that develops when time after time you hear someone say "name one time! name one time i've done that!?" and i have to stand there and mutter, "well, uh...i know you have...um..."

instead of specific memories, i seem to retain feelings. sometimes i'll encounter a repeat client at my job, and i can't quite recall their name, when they were in last or what they purchased. but i will have a very distinct feeling which either tells me i like them...or something they did rubbed me the wrong way.

however, since i can never name specifics, i think this makes me a very forgiving person. you can't really hold anything against others if you don't know what it you are...holding.

the other night as i was falling asleep, i started thinking of all the houses i have ever lived in. it made me very homesick. but worse than that, i discovered that the further i went back, the more unclear my memories became. less like videos, and more like pictures. less like my memories, and more like someone else's reality. i lived in a teeny townhouse for almost ten years, but i can't picture a moving memory. i can see my pink bedroom, and the heating vent where i used to lie listening to the television downstairs late at night. i can remember standing in the bathroom in the dark, trying to be brave enough to say bloody mary more than once. but i can't remember dressing in my room, or washing my face in the bathroom. i can't remember day to day life and all the little things. sometimes when i think i've recalled the colour of the living room couches, or what we did at my eleventh birthday party, i realize it's a photograph i once saw, not a real memory from my mind.

in a way, it makes me feel like i've lost a number of years. it feels like it was a dream i once head, rather than something i experienced day in and day out. jon has an elephantine memory and i sometimes wonder if he is making things up. because how could he possibly remember the names of all of his neighbours or what games he used to play with his omi? i don't know these things about myself!

does anyone else have a memory like mine? do memories fade even more over the years and how do you hold on to them?


  1. Oh, yes, I laughed out loud at the "Name one time!" comment. I've been there, stuck for an answer... I just can't remember when...

    In fact, this all sounds really familiar. I've moved around a lot and can't really remember any of the houses I lived in before my teens; in fact, some of the flats I lived in during university are a bit vague, too. But, you know what? I think that's because the details are pretty trivial - the colour of our living room wall didn't make me who I am today; I remember the events in my life which shaped me. Maybe there's just so much else going on in our heads there just isn't room for all the really old, tiny stuff; we need to save room for the important things?

  2. Oooh, Kaitlyn...I bet ya I have a memory even worse than yours! It's very frustrating, and it has even left me in tears. I can't remember movies I watched a week ago, let alone events that happened in years past.

  3. Ditto! It's sad, frustrating, and just plain weird. My partner has a crazy good memory too, which of course just makes my lack-of even more apparent.

    I also wonder what digital photography, Facebook, blogs, etc. do to memory. How strange it must have been to travel years ago without a camera! But I wonder how much more camera-less people commit to memory? I often overlook the details while travelling knowing that my camera will keep them for me. Awful, I know.

  4. oh wow, it is the same for me and I thought I just had a very bad memory :( It is really annoying if you can't remember. My dad converted all our old home videos to mpg format and uploaded them for me, I laughed so much watching them but sometimes I was just like "huh when was that?"

  5. yeah. it's almost like my memories (or what i have left of them) are more like past lives. especially if in cases when i was quite different from who i am now. i can't believe that THAT used to be me or my life or whatever. i'm with ya sister.


thanks for your comment, i love hearing your thoughts!