July 28, 2009

A Woman of Destiny.

I have never had a good memory.

I remember a very precious few snippets from my childhood- moments that seem utterly mundane at first glance, except for the fact that they are all I have left of that time period, causing them to become poignant and extremely consequential in hindsight.

Sometimes I feel like I am building who I am, or who I think I should be, around these moments... because they are the only past I can conjure, and we're all products of our pasts, right? But what happens when you can't remember who you were? What you were like? What happens when you can't grasp the moments that you know have shaped you?

When I think back- even on high school, a mere ten years ago- all I see in my mind is a blur... like information trying to compute, but that ultimately ends up in a big, hostile question mark.

I can't even tell you how much I hate this.

It's like I wasn't actually living, or something. Because, if the person whose moments they were can't even remember them, what good are they? "If a tree falls in a forest"... am I right?

There are few words in the english language that terrify me as much as "Hey, do you remember that one time when...?" I instantly begin to sweat when I hear these words. I feel lost. And desperate. Because... no... NO, I don't remember it. None of it!! Accomplishments... achievements... hard earned goals.... moments that shaped the woman I am today... events that shattered me, broke me all to pieces, made me so uncomfortable I wanted to die... made me laugh until I cried and cemented hearts together... ALL gone! They are all a milky blur like laundry spinning around in a washing machine... ghosts of shapes surface every now and again, but I can't tell what I'm looking at... I can't tell if it's real or false.

I am BAFFLED by people with good memories. Just... how... how does that even work? What is that even like?

Can anyone out there relate to this? This feeling like you've somehow missed out on your own life? Like there is no going back, and no recreating, and no possible way to force yourself to remember your OWN life? It's like it is somehow not my own, after all. Like it belongs to the minds of those whose paths I've crossed... those who remember snippets of time in which I was present. It makes me feel... splintered. Ungrounded.

It terrifies me.

I'm realizing now that this is why my biggest struggle has been feeling like I am not being heard or seen... feeling like my life won't ultimately matter or measure up to anything whatsoever. Like I am just another face in the crowd. Because, on the inside, I feel that way. I feel that it is true. If I can't remember my own story, who else is going to remember it? If a life can't be consequential enough to be remembered by it's main character, it's a lousy book.

This is what I think I've believed about myself and my life all these years. This has been my constant uphill battle. This is where I need to fill myself with truth. Truth that will STICK. Truth that doesn't depend on the reliability of my memory, but that builds a solid foundation under my feet, that becomes second nature.

God has seen every moment, He remembers it all. No breath or tear or weary sigh are overlooked or unheard. Not one ever. He pours over my story like it were the best thing He's ever read. (Chris had a picture for me once-- where God was sitting at my desk, reading through my old journals-- laughing along with me and crying along with me, handling those notebooks like they were his most prized possessions.)

This is truth.

I wonder what my life would be like if I were to be freed from this burden... if I stopped believing I was so goddamn inconsequential and forgettable all the time. What if I finally put my foot down and got blind-raging ANGRY and refused to let such a rotten, filthy, disgusting lies seep into my ears for even one second longer? I feel like I'm flexing against old ropes, here. Like something has to give or I'm going to be tied to this mediocre spot for-frickin-ever. How would I live differently than I do now if these ropes were cut away? Who would that girl even be???

I'm dying to meet her. I'm running to meet her.

She believes she is a woman full of destiny and purpose, and she laughs in the face of anything that tries to tell her otherwise.


Kayla said...

Hi Emery,
I'm a long time lurker, but first time commenter. I found your blog through Danae's...and then thought that I maybe met you sometime when we were teenagers...and then got totally hooked by your writing! I am a newlywed and expecting my first baby and reading through your experiences with these things has been invaluable to me. The best part is when you tie God's incredible story and purpose into these everyday things-it makes the grand plan that much more tangible. I love that!

Anyways, YES I can totally relate to this feeling! I remember soooo little of my childhood, and everything until a couple years ago is a TOTAL blur! I have some insecurities about it, but never really thought about what that means to me. I always just kinda felt an underlying unease about not remembering these things--mostly because I worried that what I had said or done was probably embarassing and ingrained in other people's memories while I am happily unaware of stupid or brash things I've said.

I've vaguely realized that this all boils down to pride...and vaguely thought about what that means for who I am now--to be worrying about that when I think of those times so many years later. But this post opens up a whole new world of how this skewed memory might be holding me back. It very well may be speaking lies to my heart that affect me more than I know....Thanks for giving me a glimpse into myself, it's something I'm definitely gonna think about.

Anyways, just want you to know that you have a reader in Northern California who is really inspired by your little blog, especially as I get ready to enter the realm of motherhood!!! Thank you, Emery!

sufferingsummer said...

right there with you. I could have written this, though not as eloquently for sure and probably 2 or so years ago...wish we lived closer...this would be a great sit over coffee or tea and dive headlong into it...conversation. suffice to say you are indeed not alone in feeling this way.

Samurai Scrivener said...

Not to be the voice of dissent, but I'm the opposite: I have a very vivid long-term memory (can't say the same for the short-term) and am able to remember much of my life, all the way back to when I was 2.

And I'll tell you, it isn't any easier than not remembering anything at all. When things in life started to get difficult, I often found myself drifting away to old memories for comfort, thinking that things were so much better then. It can pretty much turn into an addiction, and you spend so much time in the past that you forget to live in the present.

But I find that the more I change as a person, the further away those memories seem, even like they happened to someone else. Memories are a double-edged sword: good because you can look back on times that made you happy and see how far you've come, but sad because they're gone forever and there's no way to move but forward.

Emery Jo said...

samurai- this is so fascinating to me, and it makes total sense. My husband and I were talking about how he is definitely more like you in this aspect, and he can really relate. Thanks for your perspective. Food for thought.

Another thing Chris mentioned: maybe I don't have a super powerful memory because I'm meant to be writing the day-to-day stuff down?

Whenever I do sit down to write, it feels very significant and important-- like I'm saving a piece of myself in time. My husband doesn't feel that urgency to write like I do... he figures, if he can remember it, there's no need to write it out and preserve it elsewhere like that.

It's soooo interesting to me how we're all wired differently!

kim said...

emery, sometimes i think that we might be the same person :) did any of this surface bc of alex's lesson on sunday? if you missed it you should definitely go to the podcast. i think my struggle is definitely identity. And stemming from this my obedience is more out of an obligation of what i know i should do rather than a heart felt passion. Furthermore I don't believe 100% in the goodness of my Father bc I don't see his glory in my life. I have been praying that I find my identity in Christ, I'll include you next time.

Christina said...

You have to stop believe those lies the enemy is feeding you. They are distracting. Distracting you from your very relationship with the Lord. Distracting you from your precious family. That God has given you. Right now in this moment, you are His, You are his daughter. Right now in this very moment he has called you to be a Godly Wife, A Godly mom, and friend. To love those around you, as he has loved you.

chrissy said...

though i rarely comment, i love all of your posts :)

even though im a teenager, not a mother who can relate to all of your writing, i still think its incredible. i love all of the emotion you put into it. though i havent been in all of your circumstances, i have felt some of the same emotions you have numerous times, thats what draws me to your blog. trust me, your NOT another face in the crowd. whenever i read your blog it makes me think a little bit deeper about my own life, as im sure it does for others.

and sometimes i wonder to myself how my life would be diffrent too. though im still young, when i was in 8th grade some boy told me i was the ******* ugliest girl in the entire world. and yeah now im EXTREMELY awkward around people and super shy. i wonder if thats the reason. i wanna step out of my shell but i cant.
this gives me some hope.

Kim said...

when i was in highschool i used to say "my biggest fear is to not remember" and it's happening. i hardly remember hanging out with people i used to spend all my spare time with. why can't i even remember their names sometimes? i can totally relate to this. was my childhood so bad/boring/dull that nothing stands out?

misguided mommy said...

man em i have the total opposite problem. i REMEMBER EVERYTHING. I drives me nuts. I am remembering 24 hours a day. I will be sitting at work and suddenly have a memory of one time when I went to the taco bell on moana and then i ate a taco.

memory isn't all it's cracked up to be man!

Tanya said...

I'm the opposite, I remember rediculous things, like birthdays of people I've only seen a few times. Or phone numbers and passwords. I remember a friends licence number after seeing it once. Its redicuous, but it made me a good speller because I remember what the words look like.

So sorry, I'm no help.

Meghan Elaine said...

Hi Emery,
I follow your blog and admire you as a Mom and as a wife. I feel like I HATE my descriptive memory. I hope that doesn't sound annoying, but I feel like I remember the bad...vividly. For everything I know I have been forgiven for, I still remember it. And at times it haunts me. Makes me doubt myself and my worth. Yucky. I think you were writing more about memories in general, but I wish I could erase a lot of mine...or just find peace in them.

MoMar said...

I also have no ability to remember any details. I also tried to keep journals to compensate. When I return to read anything I wrote, I don't even like myself then. I'm somewhat embarrassed by the things I thought and wrote. I think it may be a blessing, then you can live in the present and leave all that baggage. It's all there, you just draw from it in a different fashion than those who have detailed memories. What really matters is what you are now and what you aspire to be in the future and how to get there. Even though you can't remember the details, it's the collection of all those days (great, awful and mundane)that makes you who you are...and you are special.

Anonymous said...

Emery, this is just the same with me - hardly any detail and your example with the blurry laundry is totally what I feel and I love this post, because so far I always thought it was me.

Do you have siblings? I have the feeling that being the only kid might be the reason for not remembering, because you keep just one single piece of the puzzle in your mind and there is no one who has other pieces and can help you getting them together.

My stepsiblings grew up as three (one brother, two sisters) and when our family gathers, they all tell stories and make them fit together.

I have just my Dad left and he (maybe because he is a man?!?) does not remember most of the things I ask him. My Mom used to remember things, but since she is gone, I feel like many memories are lost forever, too.

Thanks for this wonderful passage "God has seen every moment" - this was soooo encouraging.

I am reading your blog all the time, but I hardly ever commment, but this post was so important to me, that I wanted to comment on this.


Kaylen said...

My memory is almost non-existent. I have bits and pieces of memory, but huge gaping holes for the rest.
It's so disheartening- I am constantly using photos to relive memories taht I should never forget, EVER. Things like my baby's first word, and where I was when I heard it and all that...
And my own childhood is a blur. It's so sad. :(