Thursday, February 6, 2014

still mundane and simply me

I felt like starting over.

So I have.

My old blog is gone and this is Simply Me now. 

Who am I? 

I'm Megan. I have a son and a computer and a car. I kind of have a cat sometimes too, but he isn't mine. I paint my nails and then I chew off the paint. Plain colors or intricate designs, it's always the same. I paint my nails, they look great for a few hours or even a day or two, and then I start chipping, peeling, and chewing it all away. I complain about being sleepy almost every day. I hate living in Mesa, but I'm comfortable in my house.

That's who I am. It's what I do.

I've been thinking a lot about memory--not specific memories so much as memory in general. What do we remember and why and how does that shape our lives? 

My mom wrote a letter when she was living in Panama nearly forty years ago. I found it when I cleaned out my grandma's apartment last year. In it, my mom wrote about driving from Provo to Panama when I was just a baby. Somewhere on a road in Guatemala, they stopped to change a flat tire and the van started to tip over. My dad and another man barely caught it. The trip could have been ruined. Someone could have been smashed. In the letter, my mom wrote that I was in a hammock in the van at the time. Reading the letter so many years later, though, she told me she clearly remembered holding me in her arms and watching the van descend. 

I was (and am!) fascinated by the differences between the letter and her memory. Why were there differences? Which version was true? And does it really matter?

Last weekend, in Memphis, my brother told his friends that when Ari and I became vegetarians in high school, my mom announced she wouldn't be cooking separate meals for us and, so, my siblings were forced to be vegetarian too. I was surprised. I don't remember things that way at all. It's true that my mom cooked with tofu sometimes, but I always suspected her of sneaking meat into my food, mixing the tofu with chicken and putting beef bullion in my beans. I don't remember support and vegetarian meals. I remember lectures from my dad for being disrespectful and wasting their food whenever my mom "forgot" I was a vegetarian and put meat in front of me. My brother and I lived in the same house and ate the same meals and we remembered things so differently. When I stopped to think about it, though, I realized that it made sense in an odd way. He wasn't on the receiving end of the lectures and he wasn't worried about bullion in the beans. He was inconvenienced by the tofu. Everything else was mundane and every day and easily forgotten. The tofu stood out and, because of that, those vegetarian meals, forced on him by my choice to stop eating meat, are what he remembers. Meanwhile, over the years, I've often credited my parents' opposition for cementing that teenage phase into a lifestyle choice that still affects the way I eat today.

So, memory ... blah, blah, blah.

I'm fascinated by it. It's unreliable. On some emotional and subconscious level, we decide what to remember and what to forget. I feel like memory is our way of telling our own stories (even if we're only telling those stories to ourselves) and sorting out our feelings. Because of that, I want to start writing more often again, to help me remember and to help me explore my memories, to tell my version of events.

With my old blog, I felt like I'd lost sight of any reason for writing so I'm starting over.

I'm not plain jane anymore, I'm simply me.


No comments:

Post a Comment