Monday, January 04, 2016


I have memories of times when I had almost nothing to remember whatsoever...

A few hazy instants of me being carried by my mother in a grocery store, in former Yugoslavia. I remember the completely empty shelves. The understanding that they are not being as they used to... There were things on them before. Father is talking to the owners. We wanted something.

Me sitting on the concrete of the Main Street in Bečej, watching as a lean rush of blood flows from my knee. Its warmth is surmounting the dull pain, its deep crimson mesmerizing me with the knowledge about a significant property of my flesh. My father smiling and saying the words that carry the meaning: "It happens, son. Does it hurt? No? Then let's clean You up and continue." Mother wiping the blood clean. The weather was hot, I was wearing shorts.

Grandfather, I called Him Deda, not bringing a toy with Him this time. I can't really recall His physical gifts as much as this incident when there was none but a piece of personality carving wisdom: "I couldn't. It can't happen every time. It's not a habit to receive gifts. A gift is an appreciation of the moment and the bond between the giver and receiver, it is not for itself." From then on I know that I am not alone in this world, that there are many people who relate with each other and that little toy birds and cars are mere objects to relate among people with.

Or when I was with my other grandparents... My grandpapa whom I called Tutu is driving the car and we are going uphill to Their mountain gardens, up with the old Škoda on an impossible, ninety-degree slope. It's a physically impossible thing, yet I remember it as clear as looking through a spotless window.

Most of these are fond memories from the first perspective, and seemingly distorted by the lack of comprehension of the worldly order, overlapping post-experiences and who knows what else. Back then I couldn't form memories as I do now since I was missing the necessary acquaintance of the human ways of knowing. Vice versa, I cannot be sure that I can understand those memories now since my mind was taking record of stimuli in a wilder manner than it does now.

Lately, I have decided to unravel more of my past than I cared to before. Understanding how we came to be by the events in our lives, or even those before our birth is a significant tool in unlocking our current reality. This is an impressive adventure on its own, and it also brings out the suppressed memories which were buried beneath the vigilant watch of the guardians called Fear & Shame.

Like that one time on a bus with my Mother, when I recognized a boy from kindergarten who never talked, and He recognized me as well. He joined our group in the institution later than I did and even left us by that time this event occurred. I didn't dare to mutter a greeting, as I stole a marble from Him. The most beautiful marble I have ever had.

A similar incident, when I wept for a Pokémon Trading Card Game booster pack to my Mother, and despite not having money for far more important things, She bought it for me. I received a Chansey in it, a rare holofoil card of a cute Pokémon bringing luck and happiness. I remember my Mama's tears.

Or once in Hungary, when in a wheat warehouse of a children camp's I fought alone against a friend, over what was probably our first futile masculine outrage, and lost after being pushed onto the ground full of grains.

When I wanted to scare my dear friend on the school playground by throwing a big block of ice from a distance, hoping it would land just beside Her, but managed to hit directly the top of Her head. I remember running there to say sorry, to explain, the teacher comforting Her, Her hurt gaze through Her tears with the burning accusation of an unspoken inquiry: "why?" This was a different kind of defeat. Not like the one in the previous memory − being physically bashed to the ground over some silly misunderstanding, but being emotionally asked for accountability after a silly physical accident. Assault doesn't seem to make things right since.

My grandmother, I called Her Baka, always called me Her "Sunshine". The last time we saw each other, in Her dementia caused by multiple sclerosis, She called me Her "Gloria". I cried then, and I cried when my other grandmother went into a diluted state of mind after years of immobility. I don't think I cried because I saw Them as They were. I cried because I couldn't spur up the maturity to see them for what They are instead of what They were. They both departed eventually and left memories of shared and cherished moments, but my self-induced pain lives on as a guide for the present.

How can I forgive myself for things that have no resolution in the so cold tangible or world external to me? It is not an unknown viewpoint that I might never have learned to know better if I hadn't done deeds wrong and thought about them. Morals are learned, but also understood, for the better or worse. Stories are a necessary component to life.

My Stepfather told me some of His determining recollections: when His grandfather sat down to tell stories of war and peace. Each time They gathered, the children were entranced by His words. Stepfather sat there among the others and knew: "I want to have a life by which I can tell stories like these to my grandchildren." To live is to have stories, so let the stories be epic.

I remember the brief period of my life when I used to steal. We were poor, I was hungry and my body was developing, so I stole a lot of food. I even got caught twice. I saw nothing bad in it since the food was getting spoiled and thrown away anyway. Yet, eventually, I stopped. I believe in the parole 'be the change You want to see in the world', and I don't want to live in a world in which people are stealing. But that's not all there is to me ceasing the ventures towards my idealistic career of a master thief.

When I was a small kid, we were in a café in Budapest, and this guy came by and stole my Stepdad's shoulder bag. There wasn't that much money in it, but all of His identification papers, car keys, and some photos were gone with the crook. Stepfather's passport was in the bag and He couldn't visit His sick mother for months on as a direct result of this theft. The relatives said that every time the door opened, in Her death bed She was hoping for Him to come. She passed away before He managed to get all the papers in order.

Stealing is not a simply physical thing. I didn't secretly make a little glass marble mine, which in my mind resembled a fantastic planet, but I took a keepsake of memories and parts of someone's identity with it. I took away what was probably a gift – a token of a bond. I made a benefit of possession, but likely lost a taciturn friend and took events from Him of which the potential impacts I cannot even imagine. My curse is this knowledge, and my blessing is having a story to go with it.

Most of us are dependent on physical mementos in an un-Zen way because we like to be reminded of the good and even bad days of our lives. As it can be seen from the flashbacks above, nothing is black and white in the inventory of the mind. We get so filled up with information, especially since this impressive global connection arose, that we may find it harder and harder to consider events gone, especially as we age. Our moments are lost forever, as they are not practically existent for us in the constant of now. What we rally to remember is the only proof that those people we used to be and used to know are the progenitors of what presently is.

As it was with the novelty of my blood flowing down my thighs, followed by the smiles of my parents, I don't necessarily need to remember this event's memory to know that falling is okay. But every time I think of my falls, I will know how I learned the fact that falling is a necessary part of learning. Whenever I receive a gift, my grandfather whispers about the importance of cherishing the person with the intention of giving. The Pokémon Chansey, which I still keep as the most precious, for me will always be the symbol of exploits that might be more important than those that satisfy my short-termed cravings. I remember it as a symbol that brought a complex of past experiences to a peak that burst into an intricacy of revelations: our ever so worsening financial situation turned into comprehension, Motherly love making clear the fact that it is stronger than rationality – it is stronger than what might be good for me, even at the expense of later internal struggles of my Mother and I –, I saw how foolish I was and how I was cast under a delusion by corporate conditioning, and that I dared to sacrifice the happiness of a deeply caring person over something that is practically a cat in the bag. That was the last booster pack of cards I got.

There is limited exploration into the levels of the authenticity of memories. According to repeated experiments, electrical stimulation applied to certain brain regions can reproduce vivid visions of experiences past. It happens rarely even in carefully controlled conditions and the periods evoked within one's memories are generally unpredictable. Since we don't have more than the spoken word as proof of subjects, we can't know if these mnemonic visions are perfect reoccurrences of past events (i.e. if in such a situation a person could observe new details) or are these relived sensations just the stored versions of already subjectively encoded phenomena. Furthermore, we don't know if all memories could be accesible via similar methods, or just an exclusive few.

I again see the white Škoda 100, incredibly riding against a perfect angle and gravity on a dirt road to a mountain garden, where I discovered my first favorite fruit, the plum, on a beautiful late summer day. Years later my grandmother, I called her Mumu, always offered me plums and remembered me through Her eyes. She kept telling me of the very same moment I see through first perspective – me holding a plum and cleaning the white-blue wax bloom off it with my hands – She saw a merry little child smiling in anticipation while She was pulling carrots. Later 'plum' was the first English word I intentionally memorized. Now my favorite fruit is raspberry and when I learn new phrases in foreign languages I usually ask to know how to describe a beautiful late summer day.

chansey pokémon driving car škoda 100 memory lane boosting gas experience
Lost and mused on memory lane.

What happened exactly, and does it matter? We don't have an opportunity to put electrical currents into our open skulls whenever we wish to, so if there are any hopes for further discoveries in this domain, they remain to be seen in the probably distant future; leaving us with a fading history that is relentlessly being scrambled and revised each time we observe parts of it again. This happens even through the pages of diaries, although diaries definitely help retaining a more correct picture, among other benefits. The same way I rationalize and romanticize my memories described above. Knowing how both of my grandmothers ended up, I can use the benefits of my neocortex (namely: reasoning) to avoid dementia by doing correct exercise and eating the required nutrients. That might be a way to set things right in my mind and beyond: to do what would have been the right thing to do when I did the many of my "errors"... To live a life of having great stories to share, in every sense.

We need to remind ourselves who we are; that our consciousness is really the same since we first knew of it, although we are not of the same mind and body as from just a while back. The aware processing of our decisions is the subject of all that we effectively remembered throughout our lives. We just want to remember the dying echoes before we die ourselves and we want the World to listen to the structure of our times, akin to the episode when my family and I wanted something from a shop's depository during the UN sanctions and rising economic hyperinflation.

"Although people are eager to fit Their experiences into frameworks in order to pack them into Their mind-drawers as memorial categories and then summon them from there and lurk them, like accumulated treasure; the essential moment alone is the only heritage. The dissolution of loneliness doesn't emerge from a craving towards adventures already lived, but rather from the awareness that, within themselves, our adventure companions all await the next act.
Somewhen a word, somewhen a life."

Do You have any determining and/or first memories, or some of their fragments?

Are there any among You who had a diary from a very young age? Do You still read them?

Let others know in the comments below. ;)

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