I always knew memories are the one thing that never changes, even when everything else does. But the point is, they hurt. The good ones most of all.

Sure, it’s okay to take a walk down memory lane, as long as you don’t live there. Inescapably, you still think about the people faded in your memory, fabricated by your nostalgia. But, I would say, nothing is ever truly forgotten. Maybe, in another reality, somebody still remembers us beautifully and serenely, and we don’t have to act as if a certain memory never existed. Maybe in a parallel universe, it’s okay to remember and it’s okay for your memories to sometimes hurt.

Lovers, friends, loved ones. How could we forget about the people we once loved greatly? “Some people are better to stay a memory”, and I won’t argue that. Sometimes it truly is for the best. And I’d never argued that you should hold on to the past, in absolutely any case at all. But I don’t think that we ever truly appreciate the great gift memory is. Without our memories, we have nothing. We don’t know who we are or what we’ve been through. We have no idea about the people who’ve loved or hurt us, and what guided us to becoming who we are today. Why do we fear cancer less than we do Alzheimer’s? Because we are terrified by barely thinking that we could forget.

And we do get to choose favorite memories and terrible ones as well. But, at the end of the day, they are both equally important. And I don’t think I’d ever become who I am without holding onto both of them. You see, we tend to want to forget whatever pinches our heart in the middle of the night. Reasonably, is all I can say.

But isn’t it fucking ironic to forget what once made your heart beat fast? To regret? Why do we feel the need to let go of anything connected to our past so much? We can move on and keep the memories too. Besides, no matter their kind, they will always come in handy in the future.

But one night, I was made to question my entire state of mind.

I was scrolling through my computer when I came across something.

If you could only keep one memory what would it be? 

Take a moment and think about it.

For the past three years, I have never been able to answer this simple question. Maybe it’s not that simple after all.

But how can I not be able to set apart, or even think of the most stigmatizing anamnesis of my entire existence? Does it come from my mother’s embrace and my father’s tough love? Or a lover’s hands and the way they held me at 2 am? Would it be a summer night with my best friends, dancing on the beach?

I think the reason why I can’t come to a conclusion, and why every single time I think about this question my head is filled with a rush of everything I’m able to remember, is because there isn’t one. I will never be able to choose. And I think I have to apologize to myself for it, for all the brain torture and damage.

Ideally, the perfect memory would be one where every single person I’ve ever loved and will love would be in it, only because I’m so afraid to forget the faces of the ones who shaped me, and made me who I am today, whether they belong in my past, present, or future.

It would be reckless to choose a memory now. What about all the memories to come? What about all the people you’ll come across? Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see who we’ll be later in our lives and what experiences we’ll have obtained? Who stayed and who left, or what made our hearts beat fast throughout the passing of these years. What about those memories, the ones of things that haven’t happened yet?

Even then, I don’t think I’d be able to choose. It’s a question that’ll be probably left unanswered and I’m fully okay with that. Because I want to remember life multifariously, not one-sidedly. And limiting myself to choosing just one favorite memory would be against whatever I believe in and live by.

Maybe one day I will be able to give a proper answer to myself about this, but I think that this is the right answer for me, and a much-needed closure for all these nights I’ve spent analyzing it.

Memory is so precious. It can break your heart and heal it at the same time, so I don’t want to let it go to waste. I am so proud of the memories I’ve built, for I know that I took risks, and made mistakes, loved fiercely, and was loved not widely, but deeply.

And when it comes to how I want to be remembered, all I can say is that I’ll leave it up to the others to decide. All I can hope for is that in ten years from now, the love will still be remembered. I don’t seek to be anybody’s forever. I just want to be the girl you think of, ten years from now, thinking you poured too much milk in your coffee to resemble my dark brown eyes.

Author: Ioanna Vargianiti

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