The Thing About Letting Go

I’ve always been fairly decent about letting go of grievances. It’s not something deliberate that I choose to do, but I think I’ve just always been so burdened by my daily thoughts about my daily existence, that holding onto other burdens from the past would be too much.

I also think I just like the feeling of liking people. And if you hold on to the things that might make you dislike someone, then when you see them you don’t get that “Yay! There’s that person I know!” feeling. Instead, you get that, “Oh…look. There’s that person that stood me up when I needed her so much” feeling and THAT IS NOT A GOOD FEELING.

But mostly? At least the most deliberate part of being someone who lets go? Is that I have done plenty of things in my life that I really hope people let go of. Everything from forgetting a Thank You Card to Betrayals of the most personal sort. So there is a part of me that catalogs past grievances and knows that I don’t want my past grievances cataloged in the “Quick Reference” section of someone’s memory…so why should I catalog them that way in mine? Some things you don’t forget, but I just don’t want the first thing I think about when I hear someone’s name…to be negative. I also don’t want to hold someone’s worst as their totem for the rest of their lives. “Oh…yeah…HER…she totally didn’t give me a wedding gift when I spent $100 on hers one month earlier.”

I don’t want to be that person.

But – here’s the thing – I think the avoidance of cataloging those type of grievances has maybe influenced my memory as a whole. Or maybe my bad memory is what has made it easy to not to catalog grievances? Either way – THERE MUST BE A CONNECTION.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. The same people I know who can tell you how someone wronged them – IN DETAIL – 20 years ago…are the same people who also can tell you the exact time of day their kids were born and the first stuffed animal they slept with. Or they can tell you all of their kid’s teachers and soccer coaches names.

I HAVE NO RECALL FOR DETAILS. I only remember a small handful of E’s teacher’s names. There’s the one who has the same name as Nikki because that’s where we first heard it. There’s the middle school TV show teacher and his theatre teachers in high school. THAT’S ALL I REMEMBER. I can tell you the general time of day all of my kids were born and if you ask me what they weighed I’ll say, “7’ish. All of my kids were very average.”

There’s got to be a connection, right? That the part of me that has forgotten who I overheard calling me a “f*cking dike whore who shouldn’t be allowed to have kids” in 1999 (I remember the moment clearly, walking up on the conversation, I remember where it was in detail, and I can even hear the words in my memory, but I can’t remember said it) has got to be connected to the part that can’t remember the teacher’s my kids had TWO YEARS AGO. I’m not sure which begat which but I feel like they must be connected somehow.

So…on one hand? So glad I can’t jump into a conversation about someone and immediately recall the last 5 things they did that upset me. But on the other hand? Would be nice when someone says, “Who was Wes’s Kindergarten teacher?” to be able to easily recall the name (TWO YEARS AGO) and not just be like, “The stern one. She was great for him. Gray hair? You know. Sometimes we see her at that restaurant?”

5 Comments

  • heidi

    Hey, me too! I can’t hold a grudge to save my life and there are very few grievances I hold onto. The grudge thing is because it takes way too much effort. But also, my memory is TERRIBLE. I too can’t recall anyone’s name. I try! I do. It just… doesn’t stick. I wish I remembered more stuff but on the other hand, like you said, I also don’t remember who annoyed me. (I think it makes us happier overall)

  • Cheryl

    My husband can remember conversations he had 5 years ago VERBATIM. It drives me batty. I had a class in college that I failed the midterm of. I immediately went to drop the class and when I told them I wanted to drop, she says, “Why? oh I see, you already took this class.” “I did? what did I get?” She told me I got an A- in the class. I FAILED THE MIDTERM the second time through the class and had absolutely no recollection of taking the class. So, yeah, let’s not rely on my memory of anything.

  • Rowan

    That’s really interesting. I do the same things but I never put them together. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

  • Fraulein N

    See, but I typically have a TERRIBLE memory … but if you wrong me, my brain cannot let that go. Stuff like due dates and blood types and what year I got married (I am so serious) I need to write down or at least think about for a minute. But people being awful to me just gets cemented in my brain for some reason.

  • Beth

    I was born at 11:07 PM and weighed 8lb 2 oz. my daughter was born at 7:12 AM and weighed 8lb6oz. Mt phone # when I was in K was 3842W1 and there was an operator. I can also name all my teachers through 6th grade and most of them after that. So yes I am one of those people that remembers details. So , yes I can tell you the name of the girl that kept taking my crayons in K because she couldn’t read her own name and the name of almost everyone that pushed me around and threw mud at me when I was 12. The important part is to forgive them. Harder to do than it sounds when you remember in detail