memory & why I write

Courtney Woolery
Aug 13, 2015 · 3 min read

I wish I could accurately relay to you exactly what it feels like to be me. How my mind is constantly moving. How, late at night, it glides along so many threads that I struggle to follow just one because I want to explore them all. Sometimes, when I’m by myself, I try to recall exact thoughts I had as a child. I use my mind to transport me along a string within myself; after all, I am the same person I was then — this brain is the same regardless of the gradual transformation of my outer shell. It’s hard to fathom — especially in our world that is so obsessed with having an order — that time is not actually linear. But the concept of time moving forward is a construct, completely fabricated by the human brain to make sense of ourselves and our surroundings, because it all makes more sense when it progresses left to right. However, the person I am right now is the same person I was at six, when I would sit in my backyard thinking how beautiful dandelion tufts are when you blow on them in just the right time of dusk and they catch some of the last light of the day, almost glowing in the air in front of you. When I see this beauty now, I feel exactly the same way I did then, and I am reminded that while a person can changein an improving/bettering himself/herself kind of way, the true foundation remains the same.

This is one of the reasons I am fascinated by the concept of memory. We remember what we remember how we remember it. But because our own perception of the world and events cannot encompass every single tiny detail — or, in another sense, we cannot confirm that what we have seen is, in fact, confirmable — memories can skew and develop and grow into their own entities over time. Memory, to me, is a living and breathing being that is constantly changing. However, memory, to me, is beautiful because regardless of specific details evolving over time as a memory gets retold/rethought, the emotion and feeling of it is stagnant. Regardless of if I’m seeing the dandelion tufts floating in the air in front of me in the exact same way as I remember seeing them as a child, the feeling of this experience is the same, which is why I connect so deeply with the memory.

Sometimes I think that human beings are simply made up of feelings and memories building on one another, which creates a personality and a life story. Everything you experience and feel influences you — and then how you remember it is also impactful. For example, this dandelion memory is a crucial moment from my childhood. I could interpret it as the first moment I very directly confronted the sheer beauty of the natural world on my own, and was capable to understand that something I was seeing was beautiful. Because of this importance, it is a moment I gave significance and now something I can even recall on as a memory. It’s not like I could tell you what I ate for dinner that day before I went outside. That didn’t affect me emotionally so I didn’t grant it significance, thus it’s more difficult (and probably even impossible) for me to recall that. And because of this moment — and because I felt so deeply and thought this moment important, even then — I am someone who is fascinated by small, surprisingly beautiful moments like these. The dust floating on the air catching light in a bedroom. The satisfying thud sound of a book being closed. The scent of a candle being blown out, of grass freshly mowed, of sunscreen heavily applied on a summer day. I look for these moments, I long for these moments; for me, I can credit this all to the very first time I blew a dandelion and made a wish, opened my eyes and watched the tufts fly away. And because of this, directly stemming from this, I am an observer of life, of the world. I long to be an observer of life, of the world. I am a writer. This is why I write.

Courtney Woolery

Written by

writer based out of Seattle, I also write poetry, tweet at me @courtneyskye

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