Next week will see the launch of two books, written by two expatriate women of our local international community, in which they share with the reader painful memories of their past, their youth. “Black and (a)broad” by Carolyn Vines and “The Singing Warrior” by Niamh Ni Bhroin. I have not had the opportunity to read the books, but have skimmed one and know a lot about the other .It is clear that while the process of writing may have been painful, the result is proving to be cathartic. Proof perhaps to the belief that once shared , the burdens of the past are no longer heavy chains holding us back, but once unburdened ,we are lightened of the load as we move forward. I honour these women who had the courage to write, share their most painful memories, and I celebrate with them the future which lies ahead.
For myself, a recent journey down memory lane was of a completely different nature – but with similar results. My load has not been lightened per se, but I have taken the lightness of the past to carry me forward. A chance memory, while watching a programme with my children reminded me that I knew one of the actors in the show. Belief had to be sustained by proof and so I delved into my memory case . And, lo and behold, there was the proof required for my children . I was cool . I knew (sorry, had once known) an actor they enjoy watching every night . Granted he was a B actor then, with all due respect, and is now a B+ one … why had I not met the other, cooler character/actor was the question posed by my son. Of course, alongside the cool comment, came, ‘ why don’t you have such a cool job now’ . A deep sigh ! ….
In retrospect, it is ’ cool ’. At the time however, it was part of ‘the job’ to pick up James Earl Jones at the airport (voice of Darth Vader among many other roles); to be time keeper at a round table press conference for Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger or accompany Terry Jones to radio and television interviews. Looking back on them now, I felt pretty cool and have opted to use the memory to make me feel lighter, more confident, ’ cooler ’ as I move forward. I have also taken some girlish pride in the fact that I was one of three women featured (of eleven people) under the headline of my University paper (year not to be revealed) which read: “Who’s Hot: Campus celebs who will be in the media spotlight next year!” … this too came to light from my ‘memory case’.
Memories, whatever they may be are part of us – how we choose to embrace, acknowledge, forget or ignore them is up to us. They are though, part of who we were then and not necessarily who we are today. We can pick and choose what we wish to retain, and make us strong ; what we wish to hang on to which keeps us burdened ; what we wish to do with the lessons they have taught us.