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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On Living Without a Memory

I have no idea when my children got their first teeth. I can get you to the airport but I can't remember the names of the streets to get you there.

I've got some lovely perennials in the back yard. Every spring I'll ask a seasoned gardener what the names of all the plants are.
Next spring I'll ask again. Well, I'll wait until next spring, but I should ask again in a week.

I've got all these mental files upstairs and they're packed full but I have sporadic and undependable access to the information. This can be embarrassing when someone asks me to repeat something that I apparently once said. If its not written down or tattoed on my inner arm.... good luck.

Its frustrating when I know I've learned things and I'd love to communicate them because they set me free in some area of struggle but I can't pull up the specifics on how I got there.

My brain works like a song you hum, but you can't remember the words. You have an excellent feel for it, and it evokes the emotion that the words carried but its hardly karaoke material.

Everything is kind of swirled together and melted around the edges. Its a brain that is not regulated by intellect so much as by emotion sets. Its hard to express the effect of information when all you can remember is the effect and not the event.

I can't remember why I started this post...


Joy said...

humm humm hummm... Hey I think I know that song!!

I giggled as I read this, but the familiarity is a little painful also.

I have a game I play with myself when I am trying to remember a word or a name... I start with a question. "Animal, vegetable or mineral?" Then if that doesn't work, I start going through the alphabet.

I'll wait... I know the reason you started this post will come to you.

(Do you have a lot of stuff tattooed to the inside of your arm?)

Daphne said...

You nailed it. I'm the same and it is baffling and sometimes embarrassing when days or weeks later I remember something and realize that I told someone an entirely different thing with confidence. It happens when I'm exhausted or overwhelmed...I think.

QueenHeroical said...

Wonderful post -- if I remember correctly -- good thing it is there to read again if need be.

If you have any interest, what you are describing may fall under the category of intuitive information gathering ( one of the four classifiers for the Myers-Briggs personality type model). Makes for a good writer type person --

(And yes, you can quote me anytime
And although I wrote this already as a reply on my blog - I wanted to say that I think some of your joys (sounds like joyce) poke through amid all the other stuff - just in case you wondered)

Heather said...

Oh boy, can I ever relate!

Gloria said...

yup, I get this. only there are sometimes when I SWEAR I heard or was told one thing and U SWEARS that I am wrong. Does your mental state lead you to invent information as well?

Valerie Ruth said...

love it

Bonnie said...

Wow! Nice to know that I am normal, I thought I was the only one like this!!

Heather said...

It happens as we grow older but some of us have dealt with this since they were born. It runs in families you know--which makes for interesting conversations. In our family it makes for very interesting conversations because all the females have information retrieval issues. It also makes for long pauses in conversation as each member tries to gather the right information and make her mouth say it. There is even a name for it--it is a form of learning disability if you are born with it but a form of aphasia if it comes on in adulthood. Don't ask me the specific names, I can't remember. In our family all the females are also visual thinkers so you get conversations with plenty of "you know, it's pink and it is stored on the top right side of the back bathroom shelf right behind the extra bars of soap" and even more guessing games: " What is the word I am looking for, not red, not pink, kind of in the middle and really bright?" "Fuschia." "No." "Magenta." "Yeah that's it, magenta."

It keeps things interesting. :)

it's a gong show... said...

Oh Joyce, this is all too familiar to me. I went to date a cheque at the store the other day and had to ask the girl what year we were in. How embarrassing!

Bobita~ said...

Me, too.

"You have an excellent feel for it, and it evokes the emotion that the words carried but its hardly karaoke material."

Your description is Absolute Perfection.

Linda said...

The problem is that there is just too much stuff up there for you to access it efficiently. At least, that's the excuse I use all the time.