Lately I have thought about the past. Are these walks down memory lane positive reminiscences? I honestly don’t know. Some times it feels like I am looking back at something sublime, and other times it’s just a memory I wish I could bury for all eternity. The past couple of months have inspired general musings on memory. There have been some upheavals in my life and they have caused me to thoroughly look at my past, my present, and what I want for my future. Recent events inspired me to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind near the beginning of February and I had mixed feelings (not about the movie itself, which I love, but about the idea behind its plot, erasing people and events from your memory). This behavior, the wish to erase the past, is not something new for me. I have always had certain events and people who I wish were cast from my memory. I always vacillate between the wish to ultimately forget something and the wish to use it as a learning tool. It is also no shocking revelation that my feelings on the subject ultimately change when I have sunk into some depressing pit of despair. The easy way out, by far, is to have the past removed, to have the memories taken away, to be blissfully ignorant of the highs and lows. And I know “ignorance is bliss,” but how happy can we actually be when we are universally unaware of the truth? Would you rather live a lie or would you rather know the truth and work towards a desired outcome?
Our thoughts create our universe, yes? It is a beautiful idea, no doubt, but it is also a scary one. I like to say I am a realist, but for the most part I am simply a pessimist. Even when the best thing for me is to THINK POSITIVE, and maintain a positive mental attitude, I always sink into the negative mind-set. I always like to think that I do this because I would rather know what the negative will be and then be graciously surprised when things turn out better. But is that really what happens? My mom always talks about self-fulfilling prophecy. When we got into a situation thinking that only bad can happen, then only bad will happen. Our mind is so preoccupied with finding the negatives to a situation that we only see the negatives. We are no longer surprised that “things could be better” because how will they become better when you are constantly looking for the bad? And even though I know this, I cannot help but to let myself sink into this absolutely negative spiral. And that’s what it is, a spiral. I take one step and fall completely into this downward spiral. I grasp at anything to try to pull myself out of it, but the negativity becomes so powerful it is a new gravity. I have been re-watching Friends and there is one episode where Phoebe tells Ross that she has an issue with gravity; that she does not feel so much that gravity is pulling her down but that something is pushing her down. When I allow myself to fall into this negative thinking, I must say I agree with Phoebe. I do not feel like my negativity is pulling me down, but that it has pushed down and making sure I stay down. There is this roaring negative monster in my psyche and when she manages to get a foot in the door, she terrorizes every thought until she has shoved me down a hole of my creation. My thoughts create my world, well then, there are times when I am simply shit out of luck.
As clear by my last post, I have attempted to coax the inner photographer out of myself. I desperately want a new camera, but the only way I can justify the purchase (whenever that may occur) is to begin taking photographs. I also believe that this new-found desire will help get me out and about in my new town. Since moving to Davis I have not had too many self-made opportunities to get out of the apartment. I know part of that is because I am still not too fond of the how and why I am here. Whether it was on purpose, meaning intentional or unintentional, I have boycotted this new chapter of my life. Whether or not I wanted it should no longer be the cause of action (or lack thereof). I am here. Now I must experience it. I have four and a half more years of being a Californian and I need to make the most out of the situation. By not letting go of my past, I cannot fully dive into my future. That does not mean I should forget my past, it just means that I should not sit here looking at old photographs from Iowa City and go, “Oh, I wish I was there so desperately.” Does this mean I am growing up? Sure feels like it.
This year I will be turning 25. A quarter century. For the past three birthdays I have had this desperation associated with it. Another year passing and no closer to really knowing who and what I am. Those thoughts still exist, and they have evoked some fear in me, but at the same time, I feel like for the first time since graduating University of Iowa, that I am settling into who I am. I may not have the job I want, I may not have the house I desire, I may not have the friends I want around me, but I finally feel like I have acknowledged a part of me that I always wanted to forget or cast aside. I have no longer been focusing on making certain feelings disappear, but accepted them as a part of myself. I have taken that facet of me and it has been the basis of some truly beautiful art. I am no longer trying to hide it, but I am trying to make the best out of it. It’s nice. It’s a step in the right direction. Each year since I turned nineteen I have had a saying associated with my birthday and it corresponds to my age. The big 1-9. Stephanie 2.0. TEQUILA (even though now I wish M.I.A. had been around with her song “Teqkilla”… if only). Double Dos. And so forth. This year I have decided on my saying: “Two dimes and a nickel.”
I think that I need to reexamine how I walk down memory lane. I don’t want to think of the “what-ifs” or “if onlys” but look at these events and people and think “thank God for these experiences” and “thank God for these people”. There is a positive and negative to everything. I really need to begin looking at the positives and not focusing on the negatives. Jesse Lacey says “my bright is too slight to cover all my dark” and I empathize with that. I often feel the same way. But at the same time I think that I give the dark too much credit and the light too little. It’s all a matter of thought, right? Our THOUGHTS create our UNIVERSE.