Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fact and Fiction

I have been told that some of the things I put in this blog are lies. Since everything I post in this blog is memories (in other words, not just things other people have told me, but stuff I have actually remembered on my own over time) this statement got me wondering. How do we tell the difference between real memories and memories we have created in our minds/fantasies?

How many of you have looked at a picture and thought "I remember that!" when in fact you are "remembering" a story that has been planted in your head by your mother (father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparent) repeating what happened so many times that you built a memory around it? How do you know when what you remember is real and what has been influenced by others around you?

When I first remembered who I am and started to get to know those around me, I was told many things about myself. That was all I had to go on as far as who I was when I went missing. I had no memory of my adult life to use as a reference point, so I had to go with what I was given. As my memories returned to me, I realized that some of those things being related to me were idealized versions of who I was, perpetuated by lies I myself had told people. I am a person who valued others opinions of myself far more than I valued who I really was. That was the way I chose to live my life.

There were distinct and definite differences between what I had been told and what I eventually remembered. However, those were easy "memories" to debunk. There was no depth behind what was in my mind originally and what eventually came into my mind was full and complete.

That is the difference between false memories and real memories, too. If you take the time to examine the memory based on a picture and what others have said to you, there will be much missing information. There will be no depth to the context.There is no reality beyond the surface information. In a real memory, there is layer upon layer of information within a single moment. Plus, if you examine a real memory, you will have memory of the use of all senses.

These are the memories I choose to share. Even when I don't have all the details of a memory back, I realize that it may never happen for some as certain memories are more clear than others, I have enough to know what is real and what isn't. Please don't call me a liar for stating unpleasant truths. This is life. It is full of unpleasant and pleasant things. Without the rain we would never appreciate the sunshine.

I have never once portrayed myself as anything more or less than what I am: imperfect and, in fact, downright awful when it comes to certain things in my life. I don't lie about myself, and I don't lie about my life. If this means that certain unpleasant facts come out about other people, then that is unfortunate, but I am not trying to portray my life as a storybook situation with a protagonist and antagonist. That isn't reality. I don't have an "enemy" in my life with his/her "henchmen" here to make me miserable. I am just trying to tell the truth of who I am and what I am experiencing. Simultaneously I am distinguishing between what I've been told is reality and what reality truly is. I need to be able to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

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