Memory is a strange thing

18 Nov

The human mind is a strange thing.  It represses the most horrific events and regurgitates the weirdest and most mundane facts.  For some reason, there are some things I can’t seem to forget. I don’t know why these are stuck in my mind – vivid – almost too real – with every minute detail.  I remember once when I was maybe seven or eight years old.  My brother killed a snake with his bare hands.  The unfortunate creature had been living in my mother’s ‘Ugu’ patch when some local kids found it.  Rather than thank my brother, we banished him to the back of the house.  None of us would play with  him or eat from the same dish with him.  When my mother got home, she was just as upset with my brother.  Rebuking him for killing the snake.  “What if you had been bitten?” she had asked him then.

The memory of that incident for some reason refuses to go away.  Maybe it’s because I have a strange connection with the idea of snakes.  When I dream of snakes, it is usually a sign of danger in my personal life.  The dreams feel so real that I have to literally get up and shake my sheets just to make sure there are no remnants from my dream.  Kooky?  Maybe.  But snakes have me on edge.  Both real and imaginary.

Memory is a really weird thing.  I remember the strange mesh underwear my mother made us wear when my sister and I were little.  I remember  the house I grew up in was…down to the color of the peeling paint and the texture of the wall, the patch of green moss growing on the side of the house, the rusted tap that still spurted unusually clean water, the sound from the mechanic’s shop beyond the wall at the back of the house, the roughness of the ground on my bare feet, the warmth of the sun on the exposed top deck.  If I close my eyes and focus – I can feel, see and remember everything.  Yet the closer I get to current times, memory starts to fail me.  I can’t remember where I spent Thanksgiving three years ago or where I bought a particular pair of pants.  I increasingly get bewildered at the chunks of time that are missing from my memory bank for the last five years. Yet, I can tell you the color of my father’s favorite suite in 1988.

Memory is a weird thing.

I wonder if anyone else has some strange memories that pop up once in a while for no reason.


18 Responses to “Memory is a strange thing”

  1. blogoratti November 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    Memories do pop up all the time in the strangest of places 🙂

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

      Tell me about it. Sometimes it makes me so homesick!

  2. Vera Ezimora November 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    I remember the day of my 4th birthday party in Russia. We (mom, I, and someone else whom I can’t remember right now) had gotten off a can, stepped on to a curb, and I had almost missed a step because it had snowed heavily that day and mom had to hold my arm tightly in her right hand. In her left hand, she had my dress, the dress I wore for the party.

    Don’t know why I remember this. I don’t even remember what I wore for my birthday this year! Oh, well.

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

      Wow. 4 years old. I don’t think I remember being four. Maybe five or six but four is kind of all muddled.

  3. Vera Ezimora November 18, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    By the way, it may benefit you to read my blog 🙂

    …. Just thought I should give you a heads up … you know how nice I can be sometimes.

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

      Vera – if i catch you enh!

  4. Ms. Sula November 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    Powerful post.

    I believe what you describe is a function of our immigration and the sensation of living those “before” and “after” lives. It might be a way for the brain to cope with the absence of the familiar and entice us into this sweet nostalgia…

    I generally have a good memory of the sequence of events and faces/people… but lately I tend to remember very specific events that remind me of happier(?) times. When I call my mom to talk about them, she often tells me that I can’t possibly be remembering that because I was too young… oh, but I do remember my majorette outfit I received for christmas at age 4… and how we staged a Michael Jackson dance in the outfits…

    Meanwhile, for the past 3 days I have been trying to remember who I was dating in the first quarter of 2006… Just goes to show!

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm #

      Hey, you may have something here about the before and after of our migration. As I definitely remember more befores than afters. I think I mostly repress my afters cus they are fraught with misery and loneliness and homesickness.

  5. Favoured Girl November 18, 2009 at 8:46 pm #

    Yeah, memory is a strange thing. I have random flashes from my childhood – nursery school, birthday parties, making friends. Some memories are more vivid than others. Some are just so completely mundane that I wonder why my brain is still retaining that bit of information. And sometimes my memory is triggered by a song or a smell…

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

      lol @ wondering why your brain retains such info. I really don’t know either.

  6. Tatababe November 18, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    Memory is good…I think it’s amazing that much of the stuvs we remember like that are from when we were very young.

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

      Memory can also be a double edge sword. I try to forget my lonely Sundays when I first got here. I worked and went to school but on Sundays I was always alone. *sniff*

  7. RepressedOne November 18, 2009 at 9:42 pm #

    Memory/the mind sure is something. I was just telling a friend whose wedding anniversary is today that i remember her wedding day 7years ago like it was yesterday but ask me what i did 2weeks ago and i couldn’t even tell you. Crazy stuff i tell ya!!

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

      Ha ha ha ha! Crazy – absolutely. I can’t remember what I had for dinner two days ago. I remember what I ate on my way from Lagos to Boston almost 12 years ago! Airplane food is nasty!

  8. mike November 20, 2009 at 5:05 am #

    i wonder what the mystic behind memory is. i really want to understand it. there are some worth keeping and some worth deleting. well, i think it’s meant to be there. nice post

    • Rosie November 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

      the problem is that we have little control over what we keep and what we delete, eh.

  9. Original Mgbeke November 21, 2009 at 2:43 am #

    I remember a whole bunch of ish, down to what my crush wore to the teenage disco in 1993 abi 1994. lolll. But, on the flip side i might have a convo with you today and not remember every bit (blame that on my decreasing attention span) but for the most part, the memory is serving me well.

    • Rosie November 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

      Please my dear do not remind me of the mid-90s. It makes me feel so old. Did we have disco then? Okwa Boyz II Men ne ewu (was it not boyz to men that was the IN thing then)

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