This I Believe

Elizabeth - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on October 9, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in memories. When you smell the aroma of clean-cut grass and gasoline and you instantly see an image of your childhood best friend teaching how to hula-hoop. The kind of memories that make you literally feel the warmth of your grandmother’s hug and taste the orange sherbet you had every summer before she died.

I believe memories fill your past and shape the decisions you make in your future. Remembering the putrid green color of your vomit, which was the result of take-out Indian food that looked like it had already been picked over, will always influence your appetite for curry chicken.

I believe losing your memory is the worst psychological occurrence that can happen to a person. Having your memory erased completely like notes from a chalkboard. Drowning in your own pool of confusion trying to tie odds and ends together, like Clementine and Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I believe that forgetting a memory is like losing one multi-colored toe sock and only having one left that looks ridiculous without its counterpart. The feeling you get when someone says, “Remember when. . .” and you immediately start to search your brain for the memory, but come up with blurred images, is an internal travesty.

I believe all memories are valuable. The memory of your mother hurling wedding china at your father as he drives down the driveway, which instantly comes to mind when ever you hear the word “divorce,” is just as valuable as the memory of your bat mitzvah. Your bat mitzvah, the first time you danced with Seth Malter, your first crush. Your palms were practically drowning from your own sweat and soaking through Seth’s sport jacket all the way to his ribbed Hanes undershirt. Good memories do not always mean happy; they mean depressing, angry, embarrassing, bittersweet, and overall meaningful. The feeling you get whenever you see a Hurst and think of the chilly, fall weather and light rain at your classmate’s funeral when you were only 14.

I believe memories are universal. Similar experiences make acquaintances friends and in some cases, make friends enemies. They include you in conversations that begin with, “Where were you when the planes hit?”

I believe in memories. I believe in déj– vu. I believe memories are the common thread throughout humanity. It binds together a struggling single mother to an Australian explorer. Memories are footnotes in a novel, they clarify small details that in the end explain everything.