Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sticky Note Tug of War

People leave Post-It-Notes to remind themselves of all manner of things. Sticky notes are a billion dollar industry because memory is a tricky thing. 

But, memories at their core, are sticky yet fluid conundrums, especially during times of loss or grief. They adapt and change depending on how, when, and why we look back at them. They become what we need them to be or become the validation we seek.

They are the emotional outlet to ourselves, the pieces which make up our whole, including the good and the bad, the beautiful and the hideous.

If we need the comfort of nostalgia, we alter our memory to reach for the best of what has been, sourcing out a safe place from our past.

If we need to validate a hurt or lay a blame, we hone in on the mistakes and failures in the past to give our current pain merit.

If we want to reconnect with something or someone we've lost that we wish we hadn't, we'll instill the memories with a dreamlike quality, removing all imperfections for a flawless reminder of what once was.

We play with our memories as often as they play with us. A tug of war of emotions, safe places, and reminders.

The truth of a memory lies somewhere in between, with all the positives, negatives and beautiful flaws of life, shared with people and places in all their imperfections.

Survivors spend a lot of time in the past, because it is so much a part of how they got to where they are, so much of what they lost, so much of what they're trying to hold on to, and so much of what they are fighting to get back to. 

But, most tellingly, because during times of pain and crisis, the future becomes harder to envision. It can be so difficult to imagine a tomorrow that we cling to the past for our hope. We turn to what was or might have been to find our way to what might yet be.

Our memories hurt and comfort, support and destroy. They are our foundation and the bricks we use to rebuild or reshape ourselves. 

It is alright to remember yesterday, if in doing so it gives us the strength for tomorrow. Because, with our memories, we never have to be alone, even during our loneliest moments.

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