The web of memories

A good memory is like a gush of fresh air which feels smooth and pleasant against your skin, completely engulfs you in a blanket of thoughts and you find yourself smiling at the very touch of it.

But when a bad memory visits you, it doesn’t do that alone. It brings with it all the interconnected memories that creep up your mind and pull you down. You keep trying to escape from this quicksand, but the more you move, the more you inch towards drowning.

What is it about bad memories that make them so powerful? I had been thinking a lot about this. Opening my arms and mind to all the memories that visit me – Experiencing them, studying them. Can we cut emotions out of these visits? Can I invoke my emotions when a happy memory visit, while behaving like a spectator sitting in a farm house, watching cars running across the newly built highway, when it’s turn for a bad memory.

When I say ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it’s all about perspective. A memory which could have been haunting you some time back, suddenly transforms into something good, which you embrace whole-heartedly. Thereby meaning that a memory in itself is not good or bad. It is just a reminiscence of a time gone by, child of random circumstances. It is not real. A ghost from the past which has settled in your subconscious and refuses to budge. It is how we decide to face these memories, when they momentarily jump to your conscious, that makes them good or bad.

I am just thinking out loud here. There are times when we ourselves fish a particular memory out of our subconscious. Like a drug addict, all we want is one more hit. But the memory you retrieve doesn’t visit you alone. Fragments of other related events make their way out and this just spirals out of control. A cycle that never stops.

Saying that, I also do not believe that closing this door will help. Memories (both good and bad) do help you, guide you and can be a faithful companion by your side. All the blunders that you did, faith that failed you, hope that was brutally murdered (by yourself). These are not supposed to be thrown away. But kept very close to your heart. While pleasant memory is like a visit to a park full of butterflies (something which needs to be experienced and shelved), cruel memory is like that car which gets you to that park (something which you always need to keep by your side).

This approach might not work for everyone. For each, his own. I am not sure if there is some science behind it. Some framework which tells us how to deal with it and turn it into a tool. Until you come across one, you should work towards building a framework of your own. It won’t be perfect. But neither is life. Or your memories. Good or Bad.