This post is part of the ‘What I know about …’ series my friend Sarah is running on her lovely blog ‘That Space In Between’
Given I am currently writing a memoir I can say I know a lot about remembering right now.
I can say that it is incredibly painful to remember sad events and this is why I generally go to great lengths not to remember them. When something sad happens in my life, I cry a lot at the time, and then I sequester the sadness somewhere it can’t hurt me – behind a very thick wall in my brain.
When I am forced to go behind that wall and access those memories and those times in my life – well it stings and it makes me highly emotional. The next thing I know I am crying a river of tears onto my keyboard. I hate being emotional because it makes me feel a little out of control!
But I have come to realise that writing down your memories and the way you feel about those sad times brings a great deal of clarity. Clarity that you just wouldn’t have been able to achieve back when the event actually happened. So while remembering can hurt, from that hurt can come great comfort and dare I say, a measure of closure.
Remembering also brings shame.
When I was writing about the lowest point in my life, the overriding emotion was shame. Shame that I let myself get that low. Shame that someone like me, who had spent an entire lifetime creating a façade of someone who ‘had it all going on’ was actually fighting such horrible demons.
Living a lie if you will.
Admitting that I did not in fact have it all going on was just about the hardest thing I have ever done and I nearly abandoned the whole project right there. But then I told myself that if, by making that admission, I can help just one other person who is in the same situation, it will be worth the shame.
And finally, there is the remembering of good stuff in life. Like the moment I walked down the aisle on my dad’s arm on my wedding day – revelling in the pride that radiated from him. Seeing Ant’s face and knowing that he was a hair’s breath away from fainting from sheer emotion. Remembering all the challenges we had faced and surmounted together to get to that point in our lives. It’s goose bump territory and memories like these, I will never tire of accessing them.
And this is what I love about writing – it can take those memories and immortalise them, preserving them not just for our lifetime, but many lifetimes to come. I know they say a picture says a thousand words. But pictures can fade, while words, I believe they gain in power over time.