Sunday, February 18, 2007

False Positives

"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never never forget!"
"You will, though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it."
– from Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
For most of my life, I've avoided keeping any diaries, personal photographs or mementoes. I had this idea about living in the moment, instead of wasting any time recording it. I vaguely remember thinking that the most important moments would remain with me. I wasn't mature enough to recognise the way they might change and become distorted over time – I couldn't imagine that what I recalled would be heavily revised or redacted rather than reliable fact.
Some of my memories were already not particularly true to begin with. They were stories that I had been told, over and over, about myself, usually by my parents. After a while, I created visual images to go along with them. Much later, when I examined them, closely, I remembered nothing of the events themselves.
I don't want to live like this anymore. I want to be able to look back at my own experience of my life, not other people's perspectives of it.

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