last night i was trying to clean some things and get some things organized. it is in these moments i wish i were oprah and that i had the money to pay people to do things for me. to sit and type things into a computer. and that i had the money to pay them really well and that i could pay my friends to become my pseudo entourage so that i could get people i really trusted. and so that i could pay them really well so they could actually quit their jobs to do it. that sort of thing. oh the fantasies i make up.
anyway, i was going over some of the millions of things i save, saving saving saving things because i can’t remember my own life and i rely on these scraps of paper and pieces of memory to tell me what happened to me. i would feel a little better about this phenomenon if i actually *were* a blackout drinker and had years of losing myself to the abyss of shots and whiskeys and beers. but no. that’s not me. instead, i have years of losing myself to a faulty memory that shorts out at any sign of stress or trauma or emotional overload. and it is just recently that i have just started to scratch the surface of the mechanism that trips the trigger to cerebral truancy.
but, i came across a binder of emails that i had printed out from my account at american national bank. i’m sure i printed them when it was revealed that we were all getting the bounce when first chicago-american national-bank one-(jpmorgan)chase* decided they were selling their land trust department to lasalle-bank of america and we could go along or we could fake interview and then jump ship and get a severance package. i think that’s the only severance package i’ve ever gotten. speaking of saving things, i think i still have the we don’t want to hire you-nudge-wink-we’re giving you a severance package-letter they gave me.
i knew i wanted to memoralize those emails, so i sat and started printing the fuckers out. a glorious waste of time, ink and paper. oh well. maybe i owe them amends. hey, american national! it was wrong of me to waste your time, ink and paper. it’s so funny. i can’t remember so much of my life, but i can remember other things so crystal clear. the layout of that place. the fact that part of our department was literally in a vault. certain things about it i can see with distinct photographic memory. i could draw out for you where everyone sat.
oh, how i tangent and tangent. i started this meaning to tell you about one facet of my life, but i’m going to digress here and tell you about something else. my friend, anne, died in july. i got word when i was down at the young people’s conference in OK. she and i hit it off right away — right from the moment i joined the city crew of land trust geeks. cause seriously, who gets into land trust? but, she and i hit it off. she was fun and outgoing and knew how to have a hell of a time.
she drank and smoked and sang and laughed and had faith and had her head on straight. she was a woman who had a huge heart and loved her family beyond words. she acted and performed and danced and was always the life of the party. she loved games and fooling around and just being a part of life. she and her husband were truly in love and it showed.
she and i were fast friends and hung out after work sometimes. we talked about our families, we talked about our lives. we talked about god and life and spirituality and what mattered to us. we talked about politics and work and things we struggled with and over. she ended up with breast cancer last year and was going through chemo and all of that, but i guess she died of a brain aneurysm not related to said cancer. i’ll miss her dearly.
however, that wasn’t what i intended to tell you about. when i was going through all of those american national era emails, i came across these emails from my arkansian boyfriend and i. and it was so bizarre to see the beginnings of our relationship — the shy start, the conversations where we learned the rhythms of each other, what made us tick. how things i came to take for granted about him i had to learn for the first time. and it was absolutely internally jaw-dropping to see him write to me with such sweet affection; adoring words and kindnesses given without care, easily given in the first flush of new love. i should have been more careful with that sort of thing.
but, it also made me feel good to know that that sort of beginning actually existed. that we actually did have some sort of connection and that he really did seem to fall for me hard. that we were caught up in some sort of whirlwind romance and that it wasn’t just me who had manufactured some sort of codependent relationship upon which to hang on to when things got rough. no, this was a joint effort between a lonely man and an insecure girl who were desperately looking for someone, something to make them okay. we’d take some outside help, too, but we’d take the solace in each other as long as it lasted.
it made me feel sane to read the words and know that with how cold and hard and final it all ended, our relationship was not the creation of a manic-depressive addict. it was the joint effort of two people who had their own demons and struggles, but who were fully engaged and involved when it started and who had some high ideals and who were pretty wrapped up at the beginning.
i think that’s why i end up saving everything. the stuff from 5th grade, from middle school, stuff from high school and college. because i can’t remember this stuff on my own and i let others’ experience of me become my own. i let the last memory i have of someone or something dictate my whole experience of them or a time or a place. and that’s just not reality. and i struggle to define reality out of a life of amnesia. and that baffles me and makes me really sad sometimes.
sometimes, it’s hard to live in the present moment when i’m not at all sure of my past ones.
*ohhhh. that’s what bank one became? chase? duh. i didn’t get it. that’s why there’s so many freakin’ chases.