I am prone to forgetting many things I wish I remembered. I figure I am not alone in this. For me, it is not just frustrating but also interesting. How are things I remember different from the things I forget? What makes my little head cling to one thing while it tosses away something else like so much trash?
I remember the first time I kissed a boy. I remember the first time I had sex. I remember the first time I shaved my head. Is it that I remember these things because they were firsts? I don’t think that is it, at least not all of it. Consider that I don’t remember the first time I gave head. Don’t remember the first time I rode a horse. First might be some but is not all of the equation my head uses.
What about special? Is it that something is special and so I remember it? I still don’t think that is it. For example, I cannot remember one of my children’s birthday to save my life. I’ve actually had to sneak off to the file cabinet a few times and sneak a peek at her birth certificate to confirm. I remember the delivery, the process long and drawn out. I remember her smiles and her temper tantrums. I remember her big giant head that flopped about like a broken doll. I remember her, the essence of her, but her birth date…not so much. The other kids, no problem. I can rattle off their birthdays with ease. That one kid is also very special to me, but the date slips through my mental fingers.
I doubt I will ever understand how my brain picks things to keep and things to discard. The thing that I find really fascinating about remembering is when I know that some important bits of information are in there, upstairs in my gray squish, but they are not where they might be most handy. Left and right used to be like that all the time. Being dyslexic nothing is as annoying for me as having a teacher tell me for the thousandth time that a lower case letter D faces left and a lower case B faces right. Good fucking luck when you can’t remember which way is left. The weird thing about it was that I have a freckle on my right hand which a teacher once told me to look at to remember left from right. I did this check most of my life, physically turning over my right hand and looking at the freckle, but I always looked at my right hand first. Somewhere in my brain was the knowledge of which hand was my right but without the act of looking at it, I couldn’t guess. Very weird.
Forgetting where I am at a given moment is sort of like that for me. There is an element of knowing but forgetting at the same time. I find myself at work doing a little goofy tap dance to cheer a co-worker forgetting entirely that I am at work and likely as not this is considered unprofessional. One morning, I came into my office and on my desk was a framed photo taken by one of my co-workers in which I have a sock on each hand. In the picture I am clearly having a little conversation with Mr. Sock and Mrs. Sock. The photo was a candid shot taken during a staff meeting. I forgot I was at work I suppose. Someone handed me two socks, and that was enough to make me lose all sense of formality. I was just being myself.
I have been in a graduate class and answered a legal ethics question posed by my professor with great clarity and confidence. When the professor asked me for my source, I just a clearly and confidently stated I had seen it on Law and Order. Needless to say, that was not what the professor considered a reliable source though we all got a good laugh out of it. I forgot I was in graduate school for a moment. I was just me.
When my Master and I attended a leather gathering not so long ago, a question was raised in the discussion about how important suffering was to the journey of a slave. I raised my hand and answered that I didn’t think that suffering was a good plan for anyone since avoiding suffering is generally much more fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. I knew that all of the answers given before mine were in favor of suffering as a tool for growth. I knew I was the fish swimming the wrong way. Maybe I forgot my role as slave. Maybe I shouldn’t have disagreed with the flow of the conversation. Perhaps I again forgot where I was and just continued being myself. My Master had raised his hand at the same time and when he responded after me his comment was nearly identical to mine. He felt just I did and we were fishes swimming together.
In the end, I think this sort of forgetting is my favorite. Finding that I am always just regular old me is pretty nice. I am glad that I am forgetful enough of the expectations of the world around me to allow myself to blindly walk through my days just as I am. Sure, it gets you the occasional stare, or photo in your office, but it is worth it. The only cure I can think of is to be a ‘me’ that I am unashamed of so that every time I forget where I am, I am always right where I should be. Forgetting where you are is not a problem if you never forget who you are.