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Journaling and memory

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been going through my old journals from high school. And today I read something that surprised me.

See, way back when I was 16, I had this brief flirtation-sort-of-thing going on with a guy in school. It never went any further than talking and goofing around, and the following year nothing came of it, but I'd always thought he was a pretty cool guy and continued to after.

I also felt kind of guilty. Since when, I don't remember. But as long as I can remember, I've had this idea that something I said to him, that was supposed to be an inside joke, came off the wrong way and offended him and that was when the flirting stopped. And that bothered me enough that every now and then I would remember it, even this many years later, and feel bad about it. (I've always had a bit of a paranoia about hurting people's feelings accidentally, which is why this particular thing stuck with me.)

So I was skimming through the entries around that time, and I got to the part when that offending thing happened... And I have no record of him being offended. In fact, I say that he smiled. And then the following day he was still goofing around with me, just as much if not more than before.

Isn't that weird? I have no clue where I got this idea that I'd done something wrong. Maybe he really did get the joke and it was all fine and then for some reason later I constructed this reasoning for why it all went nowhere. Maybe there was some reason to think he was offended and I only remembered it later.

It's a really odd feeling not being sure whether to trust the thing I've remembered for years, or the thing I wrote right after it happened.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
veschwab
Feb. 17th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
That's strange, but fascinating.

I've heard that our most precious memories are actually the most inaccurate, because we recollect them so often, and because of that minute changes happen in the script, so to speak, so that over years we actually reinvent those most important times.

Memory is a frightening thing.
anywherebeyond
Feb. 17th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Oooh, that gives me the chills.
megancrewe
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
That is kind of frightening! But it doesn't surprise me. I find I can tell with certain memories that I'm more remembering remembering than actually remembering the events directly. :)
mindiscott
Feb. 17th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
I have journals from ages 13 to 16, and I've had that happen to me, too! Usually, I believe the journal instead of my memory. The problem there is that I know I lied in my journal at least a couple of times. (Like when I exaggerated in a bit of backstory about my life that I was writing for myself. I made it sound like a guy-friend in 8th grade was my boyfriend.)

Horrifying! I don't know who I was trying to fool--the people who would find it and get it published after I was gone? ;-)
megancrewe
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
Heh. I don't think I ever purposely lied in my journals, but I certainly didn't always know what I was talking about. I've come across more than one entry that's started "x is like this" and halfway through I'm like, "wait, no, now that I think about it, it's probably actually y" (sometimes even the opposite of what I was first trying to say).
(Deleted comment)
megancrewe
Feb. 18th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm glad I have these journals to remind me how things really were when I was a teen! Though it's funny, sometimes even reading the journals at different times can give me different impressions. I checked something in them a few years back and had the impression I'd been really mean about something. And then reading that part this week I thought that was strange because it didn't seem mean now. (I think possibly I only read a few entries before, out of context, and this time I read through the whole thing, but maybe it was just different interpretations based on how I was feeling.)

Psychology is so fascinating!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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