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Memory

I have moved a total of twenty-three times, and I have yet to leave anything of mine behind. I have resided in four separate states and ten towns (give or take), some as far away as Salmon, Idaho, and not once have I left anything that I owned among the abandoned toys, clothes, books, and many other objects that I once considered to be “mine”. Instead, I have left fragments of one of the few things that I do own, and the only thing I care to keep – and that is my memory.
My mother, whom I have lived with for the majority of my life, spent years running away from herself and her memories, and so she was gracious enough to let me tag along with her. I find it rather amusing that the one and only thing I try to preserve is the very same thing that my mother sought so desperately to destroy. We sped from place to place, swerving across the country and jumping state lines in an effort to escape both the police and what we thought of as our “past lives”. Once we had moved on, I was no longer allowed to speak of anything to do with them. She would tell me over and over again, “You need to live right now.” My mother was strictly an atheist, but whenever she would have some sort of flashback to another time, she would sing part of this old gospel song my grandmother used to listen to; “Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never come, so please give me the strength to do everything one day at a time”. This is all I can remember of my mother as she used to be.
Unfortunately, the majority of my memories before I turned thirteen have been forgotten. The reason for this I have yet to determine, however my psychologist believes it to be a result of my past. He says that it is probable that my memories are being repressed because they are traumatic. This information would most likely be immaterial, if it weren’t for the possibility that if that is indeed what happened, I may know how to reclaim those years of learning. I suppose those memories would be unpleasant once recovered, but I do not care enough to leave them be. If I learned one significant thing in those forgotten times and could somehow bring myself to remember it, it would be worth whatever distress its resurfacing would cause. Amongst discarded teddy bears, broken glass, and lost teeth that the tooth fairy was too intoxicated to find, are countless musings, discoveries, and universal truths that I am fairly certain I have not retained.
In order to avoid (as much as is possible) the further deterioration of my memory, I have employed several devices. I keep everything that I write simultaneously in a notebook, on a flash drive, and on a floppy disk. I have a photo album overflowing with scenes of all sorts, and all of them are backed up onto a flash drive as well. On yet another flash drive, there are countless audio files containing conversations between myself and others. I have kept every shred of text I have found that I believe has taught me something important. I have a digital camera, a camcorder, and a voice recorder that I try to keep on me at all times, so that if something of significance is said or done, I will have record of it. I do not attempt to prevent or remove scars that I have earned; neither do I allow myself to airbrush things into or out of my memory. I do brain teasers on a regular basis that are supposed to improve it as well. It sounds a bit like insanity to some, and although I suppose technically I am insane, there is a method and a matter to my madness.
Tragic as it is, most do not understand why my memory loss is so upsetting to me, or why I go to such great lengths to document my experience. I do not bother to explicate the matter, because whenever I make an attempt to explain myself to another person it usually both confuses and offends them. However, for you, I will make an exception. So, at the risk of sounding philosophical…
My reasons for treasuring my memory trace back, as many of my principles do (and I assume it’s the same for many others), to the justification of my own existence. I am possessed by the need for a purpose and the knowledge that I will fulfill it. Of course, I do not know what that purpose might be, or how to go about fulfilling it. In response to this I am driven toward knowledge, in hopes that I will discover it there. I choose knowledge, because I can validate it with logic. I depend on logic because it is the thing in which I have the most faith to be real. Of course, logic may be fallible because it can only be proven by itself, but I digress…
The point is; my memory is my most valued possession. In my opinion, it is highly unlikely that I would reach my destination solely by means of some other force. It is one of the few things that I and I alone can own. What I own must be solitary, autonomous, irreplaceable, and not lacking its own beauty. It is the only thing that truly represents me, because all that I have been subject to is contained therein. It has made me who and what I am, and therefore has determined where I go and what I do. Without my memory, I do not believe I would ever find whatever the hell it is that I am looking for.



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