Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Real Memories?


It lies around us like a cloud,
   A world we do not see;
Yet the sweet closing of an eye
   May bring us there to see.
    Harriet Beecher Stowe


I listen to the words flowing from her mind. I smile and nod. She is a very good storyteller; she is in the middle of one I have heard many times before. When I was a child I hung on every word of those stories and I believed them all. I could actually immerse myself in the story and see all that she was seeing. I loved listening to those words flowing from her memories. Her childhood was fascinating.

As a teenager the stories were the same but I found myself having doubts as to whether they could possibly be true. They sounded so “out there” and unbelievable but I still listened non-the-less and questioned every sentence. I could no longer place myself in the middle of these stories.

I always told my children stories when they were young, true pieces of my life. I can remember every little detail as if I was standing there. They listened to the words flowing from my memories and I could tell that they enjoyed them. They would smile and giggle. When they started listening to the words flowing from my mind and only smiled and nodded, I then started to doubt my own memories and I stopped telling those stories, I was afraid of their questions.

As adults my children said “We know nothing of your childhood, why do you not talk about it?”  “Tell us your stories”, I started telling the stories again. The words flowed from my mind.

I listen to the words flowing from her mind. It is the same story I remember as a child but now the story has a completely different ending. I listen, I smile and nod. She is a good storyteller. Is that all it was? Were these stories real or an interpretation of what she wanted her life to be? Are my stories real or what I wanted them to be? I keep telling them even if I am not sure now. Do we ever really know?

Later

12 comments:

  1. The past, like the future, is infinitely malleable. As our perspective shifts with time and experience so too with our personal story, if only because what is important to us about it is experienced relative to what is important to us now.

    It may not be THE truth but it is our story and so it is true, even when/if we attempt to make it not true.

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  2. Everyone has a slightly different take on the same event. It's interesting how memories are formed. My favorite class when I was doing my masters was Human Memory. Fascinating how the brain works. Don't ever stop telling your stories - even if you have doubts.

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  3. My mother has some wonderful stories of her life that she will share willingly -- I urge her to record them somewhere for us but she resists. I'm afraid they will likely die with her.

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  4. It is so important to tell our stories so the they will be told from generation to generation. They do take on differences as each of us has our own perspective.

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  5. I agree with Jacqueline and Lisa.

    I keep figuring out that our perspective does change with time and experience. Thoughts I had as a kid on a subject or issues are different than the way I seen them now.

    Like Lisa said, each person has a different take on an event and each mind remembers different pieces of that event. Most of our experiences are relative to our personal feelings.

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  6. This reminds me of sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, talking. Her memories are still with me, but I have no children to share them with. I am not sad about this, it is just a fact of my life. But I just had a thought of how much I enjoy sharing my stories with my blogger friends.

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  7. I like to tell stories through my songs. Some are true and some are loosely based on feelings and experiences.

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  8. Telling stories is so important!

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  9. the more you tell them, the better they get! ;o)

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  10. My sister and I are only 18 months apart but her childhood memories are vastly different from mine. We ALL see life through our own filters and I believe all our memories are flawed somewhat, some more than others. It's not a problem...it's just a fact.

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  11. I think that's one of the beautiful things about memories---our versions of the same things are slightly different. We see different things and notice different details. I love that we all get to tell our own story!

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

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