Sea of Memories

Forgetting the past. It’s not easy to leave behind what we once lived, what we once loved or hated. People say to forgive and forget- but what they don’t quite express is how.

In my head, I always give people the benefit of the doubt. That is my issue. Because even when someone has treated me worse than garbage, for some fucked up reason I still find myself caring about them. I need to stop doing that. I need to cut the ties and move on with my life. My life isn’t coming to halt because a person is no longer in it, life is moving on with or without me. And, no other person ever should have the ability or power to make me change my life and lose myself because of them.

I keep using too much of my vivid imagination to remember the memories clouding my judgment. Every time I look at the horizon of the future I see the memories of the past and justify my actions using the genuine good moments. My brain has boxed up the negative memories and stored them deep underneath the sea, the positive ones floating on the surface.

The positive ones are easily within reach. But in life, the things easily within reach, is that what we always want? No.

We want to aspire to go further. So, I bend my knees, stick my arms together and a pulse runs through my lengths as they propel me into the air. My lithe body cuts through the surface of memories and suddenly I am surrounded. I’m choking, coughing. My wet head pops up to the surface of the sea, inhales a deep breath, and then I duck back under.

I feel a tug pulling me deeper into the water. Playing with memories is a dangerous game. The most lethal memories have sunk to the bottom, but they’re the most enticing because to re-live through them is to learn why they ended up there. There’s not always a guarantee you’ll make it out though. I need to keep my head inside and stop the flow of memories in and out. I go up for another breath and back under.

As I look below me, I see memories play out one by one, a movie screen on the seafloor. I’m treading water, but the calling of the depths makes me want to stop. It isn’t time for me yet. I came here to find closure, to close the pages of the last chapter of my life. To stop clinging on to memories that do not exist in the present, to banish those to the depths where I can’t re-live them.

The memories of people that became toxic, the memories of moments that should never be spoken of, the memories of conversations that broke boundaries and burned bridges. The memories that led me here, the memories I want to stop clouding my judgment and veiling my decisions. The memories that have disrupted the magnetism of my moral compass, one that used to overpower anything it encountered.

The images extending hundreds of feet below me through the water begin to flicker and change faster. My flippers keep kicking and my face is contorted into an inexplicable expression. Why would facing my past help me forget it? It has been said that in order to move on, you need to face the things that are haunting over your future. For me, that is my memories.

The faster I kick, the faster the memories flicker, the more rapid the water movement. I’ve seen what I need to see. With the flick of my hand, the images go out and the crystal aquamarine water is back to what it once was, except the murky depths seem a little higher and little darker. The flickering moments exist there now, in that draining, daunting area that every child is warned not to go down into.

Now what? The silence is deafening. I don’t quite remember how I got here. I know the second I poke my head above water I will be flooded and overwhelmed with happy memories. Those need to stay at bay, on the horizon. My clean slate needs to remain untainted, baggage-less.

I throw myself on the sand of the shore and lie sprawled star-fish style. The sun warms my salty skin like a warm blanket and the droplets of any traces left of the memories begin to evaporate. I want to forget my past. I want to reinvent who I am. I want to give myself a new start. I want to begin again. I’ve got the lessons of the past in my storybook- I need to learn from them instead of re-living them.

Here I am. Ready to face the future without clinging to the memories of the past. My wings are dry and I’m hoping to soar without looking back beyond my shoulders. I’m going to speed head first into the open air ahead of me. The sand flies from my skin as wings flap strongly behind me, the wind fingering through my hair. And this point onward, I don’t want to look back. I have no regrets. I only want to make a future worth remembering as I soar towards the never-ending horizon on the sea.

M

Living in the Now

You know that feeling when you do something you haven’t done in a while and then it sort of hits you in a cinema style fashion, why haven’t I done this for so long?

Lately since my life has been going through a great deal of all that. I’ve started dancing spontaneously again, breaking out singing Hamilton on my way to class (quietly of course) and in the shower (when the belting comes out), not caring what others think, being sassy, spunky and flirting again.

I met a cute guy in one of my classes a little while ago. Well, let’s just say it’s been funny so far. It might progress or it might not, but regardless I just need to stop acting like I’m in 6th grade and dysfunctional around boys every single time he talks to me. I literally have forgotten what to say around him sometimes and well it is, uh quite bad.

Last time I saw him in passing, he smiled adorably and waved. I felt like an absolute idiot with this dumb grin on my face when I waved back. I haven’t done anything quite so embarrassing yet around him (key word- YET) but stay tuned because it’s bound to come. Love always starts with embarrassing stories right? Send me some help.

I’m not quite sure he is fully aware of my existence for sure. He has my number. We have texted quite a bit, surprisingly, but at the same time, how can you tell if a guy is interested if well, the way you text him is strictly business? I’m wonderful and great with boys. Not. I guess we will find out- you and I are both curious as to where this is going, which is well, hopefully somewhere!

I absolutely love the way things are going now. I became extremely sick a few months­ and also fell into a relationship then that supported me when I needed it most, but realized through all of that I sort of became dissatisfied with my life because I was unhappy and lost myself. Things broke off with that relationship for their own reasons and it just wasn’t working, and everything happened for a reason to get me to where I am today. And now, I’m gaining it all that I lost in myself back.

When you’re sick and cannot be yourself, you lose the flame inside you. The spunk that fired the sassiness; the throwing caution to the wind so that the road can rise to meet your feet. Even though I was supported and loved, I wasn’t me.

And now, slowly and steadily I am regaining who I was and transforming into who I want to be. I am rebuilding piece by piece the shattered glass I became, broken and scratched and unknowing of the uncharted territory I fractured into.

But this territory, it’s a new place I find delightful. I may have different people surrounding me and be a part of different things, but I have never felt brighter or clearer or sparkled more.

I feel at peace with certain things of my past and am leaving those things there.

Now I am bubbly and bright, sassy and spunky, unfiltered and willing to be riskier than I used to when I was that shy, timid, complaining, whiny sick good girl who never felt good. Now I smile like an idiot at cute boys in the hall and go out with friends until 4am and not worry about if I’m going to enjoy it or be healthy enough to go out.

Now I participate in writing and theatre and am a recognized photographer on Instagram by a few professionals that have reached out to me. Now I have started working with cerebral spinal fluid of rats as I work with my neurobiology lab’s model to discover more about Alzheimer’s. Now everything feels as if it’s falling into place.

Now I live without looking back, something I’ve wanted to do forever.

Now I have the chance to do it, and I’m not ever letting go.

xox,

M

It’s a start with the Head and the Heart

The head and heart are two peas in a pod. They are what dictate the way one lives their life, the choices a person makes, and the risks a person takes. Via the carotid artery, the myocardium sends blood to the brain at a rapid rate of three feet per second. When danger is sensed, a cautionary alarm is fired to the hypothalamus in the brain, the hub for the human hormone system.

This causes the sympathetic nervous system to jump start which pulses cortisol throughout the veins and begins the process of surging adrenaline. At this point, the myocardium steps in jolting to a rapid heart rate, speeding up the pulsing of blood throughout the body. Our bronchial tubes open wider and with each breath, our focus intensifies and the strength of the head and heart working together only becomes stronger as we protect ourselves.

But what are we protecting ourselves from? Sometimes this is imminent danger, obvious in its own nature. But other times, it can be similar to when we hear bad news, or something is about to drastically change. In this particular instance, our vagus nerve connecting the heart, brain and stomach is affected, resulting in contraction of the digestive system. Our heartbeats slow and we freeze and feel like we’re choking.

Why does all of this happen? Why do these two reactions juxtapose each other? The head and the heart dictate all of these occurrences. They make us move, make us love, make us learn. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are.

To live is to make choices, but what determines our choices?

I struggle with whether I am making the right choices based on what my rational mind says compared to my heart’s feelings. Is there a way to reconcile these two incongruent approaches to living?

It’s constantly a battle between the mind and the main blood-pumping organ. Each tries to outlast and outmaneuver the other, fighting from two radically unique battlegrounds. The heart, nestled in a forest of capillaries, veins, and arteries, is shielded by the courageous ribs of the thoracic cavity. The brain, on the other hand, resides coiled up into paths of everlasting thought in a bubble of imagination, encased by a daunting skull. Together, they unite a person into a fully functioning machine with a sprinkle of soul and a dash of empathy.

Sometimes, the heart short circuits the brain, striking first. People act without considering repercussions, speak without a filter, and write about anything, no matter how ludicrous.

When awareness of the heart happens, emotions take over. When the heart is the leading light, all logistics go out the window, despite whatever the brain thinks. But then, after the heart conquers, the brain comes back with a vengeance. It’s a slap across the face when you wake up realizing, what are you doing? No planning ahead, didn’t consider what could happen. Now what’s left is damage control and praying it isn’t too late.

Despite what the outcome may be, good or bad, happy or sad, the brain is still a beautiful thing. It makes a person brilliant in every way, handing over the keys to find out how life works.

Through all the tangles of dendrites, cell bodies, and axons that make up a neuron, information is fired through from one place to another, pit-stopping in the brain for processing. The brain prevents from doing most things that people would regret; it always keeps running, a thousand miles ahead of the last step. Always running in-depth, overcomplicating things.

Knowledge is a gift, knowledge is power, and power is a catalyst for change.

The head and the heart are a jumbled up, rag-tag team who make up who we are to the core.

Together, the head and heart remain in a constant banter, but somehow despite them being so incompatible, figure out a way to work congruently.

Will it ever be possible to have control over both and to get them to work together to help guide in the best direction instead of sacrificing one to please the other? This is a skill one will learn with practice, and I have a lot of learning to do.

xox,

M

A Lyric in a Song

In high school, I was an athlete. I chose to be a three-sport varsity athlete since freshman year, resulting in my sacrifice of other things. Tennis, Fencing, Badminton. Nevertheless, I pursued science research, the literary magazine, the school newspaper and photography. I worked with autistic kids. What didn’t I do?

Senior year, I joined a class. Stages. No, Stages was more than a class. It was a group of people I would have never talked to, never bothered with. Why not? Well, we were from different social scenes, different crowds. Some people were cooler than I was- why would they bother with me? But Stages managed to do something no other class I’d ever taken had done. Stages made us all equal. Together, we fought like siblings for a year to create a musical from scratch. The monologues, the score, the everything: we did it.

The show was called Rock Bottom, about a man and his daughter who went into witness protection to hide from a mobster who was coming after them. There was one character, one song, that I’ve realized still sticks with me, in the back of my head anywhere I seem to go. It was one of taking chances. Empathizing in a tough situation. Saying, “I’ve been there. I’ve been you.” Saying that the person being sung to shouldn’t be afraid and that if they don’t try, “You miss all of the shots you don’t take.”

Lately, it feels like my life has gone through the wringer. I’ve lost loves, lost friends, lost some hope along the way. But in the back of my head, I can’t help but remember that song. The message. Keep trying, because you miss all of the shots you don’t take. Never would I have thought that I would be here, thinking about this right now, when it feels like there’s nothing left. But in reality, there is. There is so much to be grateful for.

Right now, I’m in a position where I have everything and absolutely nothing at the same time. How can that be? Money can buy you anything but the most important thing in the world. Money cannot buy happiness. Would you rather be rich and alone or poor and happy? I ask myself this question every day. Rational me would probably say rich and alone. I could do good things and try to make everyone around me happy. But the idealist within me would say poor and happy. But in reality, can someone be truly happy without some sort of monetary source in this day and age?

Regardless, it’s weird to have everything someone could want or potentially have it within reach but feel like you have nothing at the same time. Watching other people go on in life without you, making bonds with each other, forgetting you exist. Other people doing the things that you wish you could do- if you were only healthy enough.

But you see, there’s a book. It’s called A New Normal. It was written by a young girl when she felt like she had nobody and no guidance in life. She decided that no child should feel that way, the way that she felt. So, she took her mind, her words, and created something. A something she wished that she had when she was in the loneliness she felt. But she took a shot at something she didn’t know the outcome of. That girl, that’s someone I want to be.

I’ve decided. To be that girl, the girl who I was in the past, I need to stop overthinking. I need to do. Go after what I want to make into a reality. When someone says I cannot do it, find a way around that. Because if not, I’d be missing all of the shots I didn’t take. And me, now, I don’t want to be a girl who doesn’t try. Because if you don’t try, don’t fight, you’ll never know.

So, if you know me, you know who I am and what I’ve gone through. And now’s my chance to turn things around and little by little make things a bit better. Because, this is my rock bottom and now I’m digging my way up and out.

A lyric in a song once read,

you         miss          all             of         the        shots       you        don’t            take.

 

xox,

M