There are memories that never should be revisited.
For some people, it’s memories of discomfort; of the days when they were not so comfortable enough to provide for themselves or their families, the kind of life they would have loved.
My friend, James is like this. He would automatically excuse himself from any conversation where it is being reminisced that he was once ‘poor’. He has made it now and I keep telling him to see his past as a reference for his present testimony. But in his words, ‘every time I remember the things I had to go through then, I feel such shame overwhelm me. Those days were very bad! You cannot understand the things I did!‘
For some other people, it’s memories of fun; when they had fun with a certain someone or when they were once fun in their lives.
My friend, Alice is like this. She is blind now, but she could once see. She also had the prettiest eyes I had ever seen. They were big and were graced with long lashes and light brown eyeballs. She wasn’t so beautiful but her eyes were enrapturing. She dated one of our other friends who is very handsome. One thing led to another however, and there existed some funny love triangle. It’s a really long story but the short of it is that the other girl in the triangle poured acid in Alice’s eyes. We couldn’t even complain that she went blind… we all thought she’d die.
Now? We all watch our words around Alice. We can’t talk of when she used to bat her eyelashes just to show us what we didn’t have; we can’t talk about how much fun she and her ex used to have (they had sooooo much fun!); we can’t talk about anything really. In her words, ‘I can’t see anything. I have no closure. The last thing I saw was an angry girl screaming at me. My personal space is my head. Is it too much to ask that you guys don’t fill it with these things’
For some others, it’s memories of life; of when someone once lived.
My friend, Busola, is like that. She lost her second son when he was 10 years old; when she and her husband had stopped trying to have kids. Daniel was so full of life. Everytime I went to their house, he’d run, hug me, jump on me and cling his body to me. His mantra was always ‘if Spider-Man can I do it, I can!’ He suddenly died in his school when he screamed ‘my chest!’ and slumped.
We cannot mention the name ‘Daniel’ beside Busola. She stopped going to church because we couldn’t really stop the pastor from saying ‘Daniel’ in the middle of his sermon. We didn’t know when the name would drop on altar and we couldn’t trust her reaction. Now she goes to church but we must never talk about how lively or happy Daniel was. She’d even rather we talk about his funeral (e.g. Why the hell did Sumbo wear a red dress to his funeral?!)
But for me, it’s memories of shameful moments; moments that make me go red with embarrassment.
I cannot deal with embarrassments and this has led to me being very close-minded about fun and adventure. ‘At least’, I would tell myself, ‘I cannot be embarrassed when I’m alone, in my PJs, on my couch, with my laptop, in my house‘
Situations get more shameful for me when it is I who cause the shame. For instance, if I feel a fart coming, and I know that it is likely to be an embarrassing one (in sound and smell), but then I go ahead to fart this fart… And people around me catch me… I feel a hundred times worse than I normally would feel shame.
I skipped writing for two days! And oh Lord! I feel shame so bad that if I could, I’d erase the memories of every follower I have so they’ll never remember or remind me that I ever started writing.
Shameful memories… with every word I type.