It’s astounding, really, how quickly the human mind is able to go into damage control. The body is often the star of regeneration, regrowth, and healing; we celebrate the body’s ability to accept and become attached to new parts, grow back bits of ourselves that have been stolen and hacked off, or mimic the actions and feelings of a limb when we are left wanting.
The body can even take over when the worst happens. The main functions for the body itself to survive– blood-pumping heartbeats, air-filling breaths– are programmed to continue no matter what is happening in the outside world. Without choosing too, the body works within itself to make sure it keeps on living.
The human mind, however, works differently. A sponge of information, the mind rarely needs to work to attach itself to new ideas or memories. Instead, we constantly take in everything surrounding us. We are bombarded by a seemingly unending stream of images, soundbytes, voices, words, numbers opinions beliefs emotions faces tacticsideashopesstragegiesfantasiesdesires. The mind is consistently full and racing to process, file, and respond to all of these things.
When disaster–or at least an intense shake-up of the normal day’s happenings– occurs however, the mind must make a switch. There is too much going on, and it becomes like the body and begins to triage. It prioritizes the necessities that must remain with you on the other side of this moment, this temporary crisis.
The basic facts of the memory remain: the date, time and place, the clinically bare images that swoop through when you try and piece together something; the heart of the memory still beats and the lungs still take in shallows breaths of air. Maybe the eyes flutter and a slash of color or hint of scent peek through.
There are other things, though, that the mind decides is no longer safe to keep as a memory. Things that were too intense or too emotional or just too damn vivid to live on in our mind’s eye, and the mind proceeds to slowly rob us of them. Even if it’s something we may desire to keep, there are some things that are perhaps no longer worth knowing. To know them, to feel them, to wrap oneself in the blanket of that memory would be too raw, too confusing, or too painful to keep.
So it fades.
Morning comes, and the first gray-yellow rays sunshine creep in through your windows. Just as the sun comes up, it sheds light on the memories of the previous day. The colors are less vivid when stripped of their once-black background. The memory that had so powerfully ran through your mind in crazy loops, begins to slow, then walk, then fade quietly into the background. We open our eyes to reality again, and we re-align and re-adjust to what was once normal, or what now is normal. The mind accepts the occurrences of the previous day and, if possible, moves past them. When we try to recall the memory, it can only whisper back at us. It can no longer roar.
Are we angry at the mind for taking these memories away? Or, deep down, do we appreciate the mind for taking some of the responsibility off of ourselves?
Remembering is often considered such a sacred thing, something that we should be holding ourselves accountable to as often as we can. Perhaps, the mind robs us of these thoughts because it knows that, deep down, we may not really want to remember.
4 years old, but I still love this piece a lot.