The Limbic System
The Limbic System, located in the Frontal Cortex, is the shoe box stuffed with memories in the brain. My Limbic System, on the other hand, is fucked.
Walking into my room, I notice I do not have many objects that have stayed permanent since I was a child. Many things have been changed, moved, sold, given, or even thrown away, to shape my room into the grey, windowed box it is now. My walls are the main things that have kept their permanence, and even though I do not miss my broken excuse for a childhood, I look to my closet. Clothes of mine and my mother’s hanging on the bars, a shoe rack lacking the things that fulfill its purpose, and boxes, shoved and crammed, in hopes that they will not burst or budge.
One box stands out in particular. A glorified shoe box, honestly, but the paisley and almost royal designs on the sides contrasting with the white and black stripes on the top caught my 13-year-old eye. I pull it out and sit down on my queen size bed. Reminiscing on the memories within it, and leading up to it. “I have to have it, grandma.” The top doesn’t stay on unless everything within it has been placed perfectly, and even though the edges aren’t bursting at the seams, it’s already somewhat broken. “What are you even going to use this for, sweetie? It just looks like a shoe box.” Holding memories from high school, is easily one of the most grueling jobs one may have. “Memories, grandma.”
I hold the box close to my chest and think about the times from high school. I like to call myself a ‘sentimental hoarder’ because I only hoard items that people have given me, such as cards, and flowers, or things I found that I assumed would have meaning, like every movie stub from 2014 that I had in my possession at one point. Things that I will never use again, but assumed I would at some point. Scrawled on the top in black sharpie, I wrote “High School Memories. 2011–2015.” I knew that I would use this box, I just didn’t realize how much I would have within it. Photographs of a 14-year-old child huddled with her friends inside of a photo booth, lanyards that felt as if they weight 15 pounds when I was forced to wear them, dried up roses with 16 petals each and baby’s breath tied together with a silver ribbon and some elastic, a pamphlet with my name in cursive among the other 75 graduates; I was 17th in my class. Keeping every single movie stub, notes passed in class, award, pin, anything to help me remember high school. But some things cannot be placed in a box for one to open up a year or so later and look at. Some things, are not necessarily things, but can only stay memories.
I was always told that high school will be the “best time of your life.” Fuck that. High school was easily one of the most mundane and exasperating times of my life. (College, on the other hand, is amazing.) If you did not know already, I attended an Early College located in a small town named Bolivia in Brunswick County on Brunswick Community College’s campus. In the long run, going to an early college is most definitely worth the time and effort that one has to put in to succeed at an early college. Having an Associates in Art and an Associates in Science before I even graduated high school was pretty cool. But taking 15–18 credit hours along with one or two high school classes every single semester took a lot out on me as a young teenager. It was very difficult to do this, be in four to five clubs a year, and have a job. I busted my ass to graduate with 3 degrees, and it was worth it.
High school was a time where kids started to finally grow up. I was making decisions on my own about religious and political beliefs, what I want to do with my life, where I want to attend college. I was starting to grow up, and it sucked. I hated trying to make decisions, I felt as if they were always wrong, or I was going to regret them at some point. I never really knew what I wanted exactly. I always tried to keep my options open, or I would try one thing and then try another. My career path was all over the place. I wanted to be a lawyer one week, and then the next I wanted to be a teacher. I tried to keep items that would help influence me on my decisions. I kept drawings that children made for me when I would go volunteer at schools in my county, and sometimes even kept the visitor sticker they would give me. I kept pamphlets from church, and tried to decide if that was what I believed or if it was what my parents believed and I followed. I tried to decide for myself but influences always got in my way.
I kept a memory box for four years of my life. The size of a shoe box holding the contents of four years of my teenage life. Memories of me growing up, changing, believing (or not believing). I kept this box in hopes that one day I will look at it and reminisce on the best times of my life. I kept this box so I could keep my memories an arm’s reach away. Or maybe I keep this box so I can let go of some memories. Memories that I might not be on good terms with. Memories that I need to make peace with, and one day will. It may be five days from now or five years from now, who really knows? But I will do it, when it feels right to let go of those memories. As I look back on my memory box, and open it to find its contents hold photographs of my friends and I, cards from my birthday, even a candle from when I was inducted into National Honors Society, I notice that the things I previously found meaning in, still hold some kind of meaning, whether it’s good or bad, it’s there. I keep my memory box to remind me of the times where I worked my ass off, and grew up into the woman I am today. I keep them to hold onto, and to cherish, but one day to let go.