Tag Archives: memories

Swimming in Memories


If you swim in memories do you ever have to come up for air? Or do they act like oxygen to keep you alive? For how long? Are the tiny imbedded beads of the past just like tiny buttons you can push to artificially recreate a chosen moment of an alternate reality that once was? If you relive the same moment in your head a hundred times will it become real again?

Meaning can be derived from nothingness, but nothingness cannot exist without something. Or is it the other way around? It doesn’t really matter. There was something, now nothing, and meaning fluctuates. I guess it depends on who you ask. Your memories are never someone else’s or vice versa and those moments you treasure you will painfully find out are sometimes insignificant for another. They can barely remember your name or that you once existed for them. Memories like little pearls scattered on the floor that another crushes under their foot as you scurry to pick them up. The longer you take the less of them you will find. And the other person has long left the room, building strings of pearls elsewhere.

Yet memories live within. They can be denied but never made to disappear. Age will destroy some. The most memorable always resurface, taking on various forms, and continuing to survive. And as you let your mind float amongst them you learn and relearn how to swim, breathing happy thoughts.



I recently got in touch with a friend who used to be my “best friend” about twenty years ago. Facebook is amazing like that. And of course the first thing we did was begin talking about how much we enjoyed spending time together back then, all the things we used to do (i.e. go to the mall and paint each other’s nails), and caught up on what happened to us since.

One of the things we both had the most vivid memory of was her old room where we would spend countless hours doing practically nothing while listening to bad 90’s music. I confessed to her that I don’t really like Nirvana, and probably never did. She did and still does, so I had to explain that that is precisely the reason I was so into them at the time. Everyone loved Nirvana and even though I didn’t understand it in these terms they were a cultural phenomenon that could not simply be balked at – they represented a movement that was simultaneously antiestablishment and totally mainstream, and in order to maintain any semblance of normality in the eyes of your peers, you had to like Nirvana.

So I bought Nevermind and when In Utero and From the Muddy Banks of Wishkah came out I embraced them wholeheartedly as perhaps my only means of having anything in common with those in my immediate surroundings. I spent years discussing their amazingness and how they revolutionized music. While secretly I was more in love with Kurt Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, and her band, Hole. In fact I am listening to her right now as I write this, and realize why I like her so much better, but why Nirvana will always have a special place in my memories.

Hole’s lyrics resonated with me then, even more now, and at various other points in my life, always applying themselves in the same way. Yes, I am doll parts, doll eyes, doll mouth, doll legs, and I have always wanted to be the girl with the most cake, but as much as I never wanted to arrive anywhere dowsed in mud or soaked in bleach, it is the latter words that bring back the fondest memories. For better or worse, or however you want to look at it, Smells Like Teen Spirit, not Celebrity Skin, was blaring in the background as we were experimenting with silver glitter polish and blue lipstick believing these things would get the attention of men like Renton from Trainspotting.

Things changed, I ended up with different friends, but Nirvana always managed to weave itself in and out of my social circles to where I could recognize and name any one of their songs in only three beats. Later on when I met S, despite that he had not grown up with Nirvana, he was an ardent fan. When his Bleach tape broke, I was the one who bought him the album again. Even later on I recall being at a New Year’s party, long after Nirvana’s heyday, and one of my friends was attempting to explain to another Nirvana’s music genius. He emphatically stated “You just don’t understand!” and I thought, yes, and no, I don’t. However, I was beginning to understand my affinity for the band had less, or nothing, to do with their music, or even what they represented culturally/socially, but rather with what they meant for me. They were just another band that acoustically triggered fond memories, and in a Pavlovian-like sense, you play Heart Shaped Box, and I get the urge to eat junk food and have my nails done.

Gestation Revisited

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Death is felt the most by those still alive. Even when the unborn die. However fleeting, they existed. Even if only for you, inside of you. Nine months is too long to live with a living creature and not become attached – to form even a most fragile bond. Then at the end of the gestation period you expect life but find none.

As much time has passed as the gestation period lasted, but soft hued sepia memories never disappeared. Time passed and you consoled yourself with mind tricks. It was an accident anyway. You will try again. Time heals everything. And so forth continue the acceptable bits and phrases you indoctrinate yourself with, repeating each like a mantra until it is ingrained in your head. Perhaps next time you will actually believe it. Just keep telling yourself you don’t care and you never loved it because it wasn’t really alive, and you will eventually welcome it as truth.

You still pull out the box of sonograms, wistfully smiling as if you were looking at vacation pictures, and deep down you know they torment you, but sometimes you just don’t care because that was a slice of your life you cannot deny. And then you wish you didn’t have to. That’s when it starts again in your head; the questions, the self criticism and recrimination. How could a thing that never saw life still make you scream at night?

So you don’t sleep for fear of dreaming, you busy yourself senselessly with more activities than you can count until sufficient time has passed and surely you feel nothing anymore, but just before you are exhausted and ready to lay your body limp, you remove your clothes, exposing where it once lay only to choke on memories.

But your memories are incomplete – unlike other women who were free to experience, you only made it to the birthing stage. Chance encounters with a thrashing foot, or fluttering movement of… an arm? It was taken away before you got to hold it, and that too you tell yourself was for the best. How much worse would it have been otherwise?

But if it hadn’t died, and you were still holding it, how much better would it have been now?

Yet the stillborn presence that left you (all too early) will never know this. That is the problem with the dead… only the living are left to feel the pain.