Movies can transport us thru time; that’s one of the qualities I most appreciate about them. We’re still discovering how memory is created and maintained in human beings. There are savants who struggle to interact yet are capable of accessing unthinkable amounts of data, musically or mathematically. For most of us, our past is somewhat like a book thru which we page and find some images blurry, others sharp and crisp…and some altogether missing.
Now I’m not referring to the experience of entering the kitchen and pausing, without any idea for what purpose we came. That’s waiting for all of us, sadly, sooner or later…or like, now. But I know I have friends here who have survived a trauma with resulting brain injuries and memory loss. I wonder what this experience is like for them, how they regard it and describe it? My brain’s right half was without a blood source for over an hour. Mercifully no paralysis…but blocks of memory, entirely random simply vanished.
Thanks to the internet, many past acquaintances have returned to my life and have served me to help recreate some of those losses. There is no pattern, no consistency to my gaps. At times someone will recount a shared past adventure; something dangerous or funny, something seemingly unforgettable. At such times there is a…DING! And I am flooded with familiar, long lost images…somewhat like discovering a brand new room in your home, filled with icons from your youth. And at other times, I hear the retelling and I may laugh or cringe but it’s as tho all that happened to someone else, not me. I would surely remember that…wouldn’t I?
Memory is an enigmatic aspect of our consciousness. So when I watch something like HIDDEN FIGURES, I struggle to imagine how it could be, that such momentous events were afoot in the world…yet I have no memories of my own opinions about them. Since I have an opinion about pretty much everything that happens in my universe, that deficit strikes me as seeming strange.
If normalcy or routine is a horizontal line across my life graph, impactful events are spikes, like a seismic event. Here I broke my wrist, there I landed on my head, here I was strangled until I passed out, there my heart was crushed…I am all of me, all of my past, good and bad. I’d prefer to hold onto my life experiences that differentiate me from all others…but that power seems above my pay grade.