Saturday, September 1, 2007

M is for Memory

I didn't know what to use for the letter M. There was a tug that said it should be for McAlister, which is my family name, but after last night's "discussion" with my sister about our childhood and being aware of how differently we remember things, M is definitely for Memory.

So, how accurate and reliable is our memory? I've never put myself out there as having a stellar memory, whereas my sister touts that as one of her strengths. Many times she's right, but there are also times she absolutely is not. I know I've read that there is no significant correlation between the feeling of certainty that a person has and the accuracy of the memory. That, of course, has no significance in a family discussion because memories are so subjective. I think memories get dreamier or darker as time passes, depending on the mood and how we want to remember it. My sister's memories of her childhood are just that -- her childhood. My childhood was different and my memories are different. I know this, but in the middle of an "I remember . . ." discussion, it still hurt me to not be included in her memories of events that were so rich in my memory. Maybe it stung so much because at this point, we are all that remain of our family and for me to be excluded in that way made our lives seem disconnected when right now she's the only connection I have to family.

This is one of those over-analytic posts that serves as a brain dump and is not intended to serve any purpose.


Dallas said...

The fact that memories of the same event may differ was a shock for me to learn. My brother and I are 5 years apart, and a couple of years ago, when I was recounting a memory from childhood, he disagreed with me and said he believed it happened in a completely different way. With him being older, I started to think that maybe he just remembered it better, but then I figured that the memory was what I grew up with and so I can just continue to live with it how I want to remember it. And we may never know who's more accurate, because we were two separate people with two points of view.

Anonymous said...

and, I really don't know what to say EXCEPT that when you've been hit between the eyes with a 4 x 4 in the middle of a "discussion", it has a stunning effect. And it takes time to recover. And, I will. But not tonight.

sarah said...

This is directly related to my ego discussion . . .how would you define yourself if you didn't have memories, yours or someone elses, to define you? You both are very emotionally attached the topic, as we all would be in a similar situation. Can you separate yourself from the emotions while observing them? What does that mean? Take all of that away . . emotions, memories, experiences . . and who are you??