Friday, July 19, 2013

Spinning it

When it comes to memories, the good and the bad never balance.
- Jodi Picoult, Handle with care

This morning I complimented one of my friends at work on a necklace she was wearing. It was a big reddish-orange circular glass pendant with geometrical patterns attached to an inch-long thin silver pipe and hung on three strands of orange and black threads. Very like the jewelry I would like to wear. I asked her if the pendant was made of glass. And she said, ‘Don’t you remember? You got it for me!’. I did?!! I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that I forgot an act where a lot of thinking and care was involved, albeit a while ago. I mumbled that I forgot and speculated on where I might have bought it from. Badly done.

That makes me wonder (it is Friday after all when freewheeling, self-indulgent thoughts are excused. Actually, it is excused on any day under blog-ic license) on why we remember the bad deeds much more than the good ones. Why is it that it is easier to remember times when we were wronged or when we wronged someone. Why is it that bad behaviour is hard to forget and good behaviour is but expected and thus unremarkable.

I remember almost every instance when I was slighted, ignored, offended or rebuked. I say ‘almost’ because there could have been times when I might have just been clueless and not have recognized it as such. Anyway, I have a novel’s length worth of material to work on. I am actually even inspired, sorry, rightfully indignant, to put it all down in writing. I think it might read something like the ‘Diaries of an ugly duckling’. Or ‘ A misfit’s journey’ or ‘Wounds within’ or something like that. You see... it is not so hard at all.

On the contrary, I am not so keen on writing down all the wonderfully kind and caring deeds I was a recipient of. Or those that I supposedly did. Happy times are not really fun to recall, especially when you have an overactive imagination. Not enough melodrama I think. Not enough material to spark the creative fire. ‘My Happiness Journal’ doesn’t sound nearly as interesting.

I wish that my bad deeds are forgotten, as in ‘completely erased from memory’. Deeds that I am not proud of. Deeds that devour my self-esteem. That’s why when I read the likes of it in books, I can empathize and find excuses for their behaviour. There is always one, at least. I like to read/watch stories with misunderstood characters. Where they appear to be evil but are not so and their goodness is realized in the end, before it is too late of course. You know, kind of like ‘Gru’. When I started reading books with characters that were neither all good nor all bad, I came to realize that  they were so like someone I could meet in everyday life, or even maybe, someone like me. Gasp! Then could it be possible that a human being is not inherently bad! Oh well, there goes my excuse for my bad memories. It all comes down to perspective. And attitude. I have neither when it comes to recalling my past. Or maybe it is that I have very poor perspective and even poorer attitude.

I do have happy memories, of course. Loads and loads of them. If I care to recognize them, that is. It is an effort. But I don’t have to dig deep to remember the kind words, the attention, the care, the sacrifices for my sake, the laughter, the kindness, the conversations, the giggles and the love. But I would much rather delude myself into thinking that some of my past was largely messed up just so I can avoid taking hold of the present. Good things might happen, magically, in the future. After all, I am the heroine of my story. I better be.
Anyway, harking back, maybe there is a reason why we very easily remember the bad stuff. Maybe it is so that we can learn from it. That if it stays etched in our memory then we try, consciously or subconsciously, to not repeat it. To not perpetrate the accusations, the lies, the judgments, the demands, the impatience. Who committed them in the past is irrelevant at the moment. Its purpose is purely to serve as a reminder. To not rinse and repeat. So I better pay heed. And in the process, maybe spin a story, in my head, for fun.

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