Sometimes you can hear a story so many times and start imagining yourself there. Eventually, you may start to tell that story yourself, but now, you’re a part of it. The more you tell it, the more you think you were actually there. Was it really a memory, or just your imagination?
I’ve been told by a few different people that there are things that I didn’t remember myself. That I was way too young to have remembered. That I just heard the stories over and over again that my imagination conjured up images and I took them as memories. But I don’t think that’s the case.
For some reason, I’ve had the clearest, sharpest memory of any person I have yet to meet. Granted, I can’t remember what I had for dinner two nights ago, but my childhood memories are so vivid, it’s like I can relive them when I close my eyes. I can remember all the times I went to the desert with my dad before he passed away, the time I fell into a cactus near our trailer. The time we went to see the horses and got to pet them. I remember going to the store every time he would pick me up and would buy be a toy horse.
It’s memories like these that I cherish above all else, because it’s no longer possible to make new ones.
But there’s one memory in particular that people never believe me when I recall it. My mom knows this to be true, and a few other family friends, but nobody else. I remember clearly my first birthday party. I remember what I was wearing–a pink bow clip in my hair–and I remember pushing around one of my favorite toys, a little think with balls inside that would pop when you rolled it forward. I can recall exactly how I was feeling that day. I don’t know why this is, and I know the smartest people in the psychology field believe that we only retain memories after age three, but I think I’m different.
I don’t ever remember seeing a picture of this day until years after I mentioned being able to remember it. My family was going through a very rough patch, and tension was high on all sides. I think that it’s because of this that this specific memory stuck with me all these years. My parents split up around that time, and while I would still have a few solid years after that with my dad, I knew, even back then, that things were changing.
There were a lot of bad times that followed my first birthday, but those memories aren’t always clear to me as the good times. I’m glad I have the few memories that I do have, and wouldn’t give them up for the world.