Memory is a funny thing
Sunday, August 26, 2018
I have a vague memory of having been sick like this once before about 12 years ago, when I was still over 300 pounds heavy... the memories were jostled free when I called the GI specialist and the receptionist was going to refuse my new insurance, only to check my file and go “oh, you’re an existing patient, so we can accept your insurance after all...”. I had forgotten about that time and those experiences. I don’t know if it’s because I was so heavily medicated, it was such a dark time in my life in general, or the experience was so awful that I blocked it out! None of those are happy possibilities. Memory is a strange thing anyways. I can remember something one way, and someone else can remember it completely differently, as the focus of our recollections differs. (And then there are the people who rewrite history because reality is too uncomfortable...). My memory of an event or feeling is valid, but so is yours... even if they seem opposed, because our baggage that we bring with us colors what we find important to remember of an event or outcome. I know this intellectually, but I know I cling to my interpretation of memories at times, especially ones with emotional heft. I think we almost all do.
I know for me a lot of my memories of my mom revolve around food. As a result I have to be careful about emotional eating when random moments of grief attached to specific memories pop up. I think of specific comfort foods when I think of mom, and all of them are super rich, and extra filling... ( lots of heavy cream and butter!). I haven’t had to worry about that particular problem since I have been sick, but prior to getting sick...
Memory is really a subjective thing. It is colored by our past and present emotional states, our life experiences, and our expectations. Yet so many people I know expect to share memories of exactly the sameness... “do you remember when...?” Not likely! I then have to decide whether to nod and smile ( my go-to)... or say okay, but I also remember xyz...
What does this have to do with live a healthier lifestyle?
I have been at maintenance weight (or close to it) for hmmm, 5(?) years now.., and my memories of being morbidly obese are being reshaped in my mind I think. I have not forgotten what it felt like to be that heavy, but the specific memories are being forgotten or misplaced in the miasma of time. I can go back and read my first blogs here on SparkPeople to get an overview, but the real day to Day effort of living at that weight is fading. And that makes me a little afraid... that if I truly forget, that I could go back there. And what I DO remember is not that it was a good place, or a healthy place, or a happy place... but maybe that faint memory, and touch of fear is all the motivation that I need.