I wrote about this not that long ago. Memories are funny, and a particular memory I had been holding onto turned out to be different than what I remembered. How do we reconcile these things?
For me, I think sometimes this is why I write. In the early days, I made a point of writing down my birth story. I remember reading someone who said she would never write down her birth story because the details were burned into her memory, but I look back at my birth story now and I realize there are things I wouldn’t remember if I hadn’t written them down. And yet the simple reminder of a handful of words and I am back in that place again. I can feel the ice packs from being so warm. I can hear the worry in the midwife’s voice, realize my own fear that maybe I am hemorrhaging. I “remember” these things with immediacy. I remember them through my own words.
And then yes, there are the unbidden created memories. Why did my sister disappear? What did I do wrong? Why did everyone leave me alone for so long? They told me they were respecting my wishes, but was that their own form of created memory? I certainly never told them to go away. And I think what is hardest yet, is how so many people act like 4 years ago never happened; like I was never pregnant, like he never existed at all. Is it easier to push these painful things aside when they didn’t happen to you? Is that a created memory?
Memories are funny, and sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who cares about them. I’m the one who probes at the dark places like a child probes at a missing tooth. And I wonder why this is sometimes. Am I the weird one? Am I strange? Because memories are the only way the world makes any sense to me. Even the painful ones…especially them.