Would I really want that though?

Last year one of my ex-students asked me what I wanted for Christmas.

I told her a remote control so I had the ability to erase the last six months of my life.

Memories can be a fucking shit of a thing. Good ones become better, etched into your mind as things that are exaggerated as time goes on, and yet the bad ones, either become worse or you convince yourself that they weren’t as bad as they were.

That’s the trouble with memories. They exist, but only because we remember them.

If you think about that, it’s pretty amazing. We give something completely transparent and non-existent in a material sense, a solid, ‘body,’ as it were, to continue living.

But what if you could erase the bad memories and never have to think about them again?

That’s exactly what this article talks about. Using drugs you can completely alter your memories and thus, they will never have existed.

My first thought was: Great! I could get rid of that horrible experience or the series of events leading to it and essentially obliterate a person I used to know.

My second thought was: but if I erased all that, wouldn’t I also erase all the valuable lessons I learned as a result of those shitty, shitty experiences?

And finally, my third and final thought was: what happens if the drugs also change my other memories?

I’m starting to think I would rather have the bad memories which fade over time as I add new ones to my brain.

But maybe that’s just me.

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A tribute to Hiroshima

Dear Hiroshima,

Well, it’s been three and a half years now and I’m still here. My mum reminded me of that the other day. She seemed surprised to think that I’ve remained in a place that has given me the best and worst times of my life so far.

Why?

Probably because I used to run away from a lot of things when I was scared or when I felt like I’d just had enough. I guess you taught me to stick it out, or not necessarily to put up with things, but to change them when they were no longer serving me.

Hiroshima, I’ve learned a lot from you.

First and foremost, you helped me to finally find my groove.

I learned exactly who I am and I also learned that I will never be the same person I used to be because of you and my experiences here.

I learned that there are ghosts of my own here, but that rather than let them haunt me, I need to lay them to rest, or at least, let them go and do their own thing separately from me. Just like you, Hiroshima, I need to find that peace that exists within the depths of my soul.

I realised the other day, Hiroshima, that you are like my hometown in Japan; you have served a purpose that I so desperately needed and I thank you eternally for that. You have been a home to me, a place where I feel 100% comfortable and yet, recently, I have finally admitted to myself that I don’t feel the same about you as I once did.

I’m not saying I don’t love you anymore, I do, but it’s changed. I’ve changed. I feel that rather than growing, I’ve become stale and flat and lifeless. I can challenge myself here, but I want and need bigger opportunities and more stimulation than I know I will ever find here.

I didn’t want to admit that to myself because it meant I would have to leave you, Hiroshima; I used to feel the same way about my hometown in Australia. It meant starting over and going on new adventures and finding new people and new situations to learn from. Yet, if I had stayed where I was, I would never have met you, Hiroshima.

As much as I love you, I love me more and that means letting go. I cannot be with you forever because I know with all my heart that you are not who I am supposed to be with. You were for a time, but you’re not anymore and I will never meet who I am supposed to if I stay with you.

I’m crying here, Hiroshima, because it hurts. It hurts to admit that I was wrong and it hurts to know that even though I once loved you, I don’t feel the same way now.

My memories of you are good and bad and you’ve definitely given me some scars I will live with forever. Just like you, Hiroshima, I now wear them proudly because it shows I survived. I want to think that rather than letting them define me, I define them. Hiroshima, you have chosen to see your history as a marker of events that changed your life; you have turned them into something positive.

I am going to do the same.

Thank you, Hiroshima.

 

A tribute to my friend, Luke

Yesterday I received a very lovely email from my friend, Luke, after hearing about my visa news. I was surprised because he said how much he admires my bravery and adaptability for being able to live in Japan. Even more surprising was that he enjoys reading my blog posts and emails because I’m inspiring. That is the highest praise that anyone who writes can be given. Money is nothing in comparison.

So with that thought in mind, here is a tribute to some of my favorite memories of my friend, Luke.

  • I know that we met in primary (elementary school for all you other people) school and one of my most vivid images is jumping on him, pinning him to one of the wooden seats in our big school shed and kissing him. I have no idea why because, A. I was six or seven years old and B. I wasn’t interested in him like that in the slightest. Maybe I was just doing it to be annoying… THAT I can understand.
  • Luke was the friend that in Year 7 was obsessed with the X-Files and who wrote a story about spontaneous combustion. I remember my teacher laughing and me being confused and going home to ask my mum what that was (Google didn’t exist in those days).
  • And of course, there was his brilliant idea to rope me into walking a donkey down the main street of town with him for a competition to promote his favorite radio station, Triple J.
  • Another stand-out highlight was in Year 9 when he decided one day to liven up our English class by sticky-taping his face into various expressions. We thought it was hilarious, but not so much as our teacher who didn’t even try to be angry. Last time I saw her she fondly remembered the incident and couldn’t stop laughing. “His creativity knew no bounds,” she’d remarked. And that’s true, even today. He was also way smarter than any of us at school; light years ahead, in fact. We were still reading books about kid stuff, while he was devouring scientific journals on various diseases and subjects like quantum physics. Best of all, he actually UNDERSTOOD these.
  • For years too we used to go horse riding together. We’d drive to his house in a tiny lane in our town and pick him up without fail every Saturday morning. Those were good times.
  • Speaking of his house… the most impressive thing there was his cubbyhouse/treehouse that he’d built himself, complete with doorbell that he’d hooked up so you could ring to let him know you’d arrived. Genius.
  • And who can forget ‘Dolly,’ the mannequin he and a friend had found at a nearby vacant lot? I certainly can’t. “Dolly, this is my dear friend,” he’d said, introducing her to me. This was followed by, “Dolly, don’t be rude! Look at her, don’t ignore her!” It didn’t seem to matter to him that Dolly didn’t have eyes (or a head) for that matter and was therefore, unable to do so. I remembering loosing my shit it was so funny and to this day my mum still reminds me of the story and can’t keep her composure.
  • Then there was the year he designed a Christmas card for me with a penis in a Santa suit going down the chimney with a sack (no pun intended). Best Christmas card ever! I’d love to get that for Christmas… 😉

Luke, I haven’t seen you in years, but I don’t think either of us has changed who we are in essence. We’ve had many experiences and although neither of us is married (I think we made a pact to get married to each other if we were still single at 25 if my memory is correct???), I think that we’ve had more than an own fair share of adventure in this lifetime. And remember, it’s not over yet!