I had a very clear example in the middle of the night of how I completely restructure the past in my head. I put my own spin on it, and seem to only remember it through the haze of whatever emotion I was feeling at the time. My husband has been telling me for a loooong time that I misremember things. I have been telling HIM that HE is the one who can’t remember. He is 17 years older than me. It makes sense that his memory is going. Unfortunately it looks like he is right in his assessment of me, yet again.
We just started watching MasterChef. We have been Hell’s Kitchen fans for a while, so we decided to start watching season 3 of MasterChef the other evening. The first contestant was a young Asian man. He commented that he had recently come out to his father. In my memory, one of the judges, Graham, was inappropriately coming on to the young Asian man. I thought that he was pushing for a date, grilling the young contestant about whether or not he had a boyfriend. I remember being appalled as I saw this man in power make suggestive faces at the contestant who was only reaching for his dreams. I saw a hug at the end between Graham and the contestant that seemed to go on for too long, and involved back rubbing. I walked away from the first episode I had ever seen of MasterChef thinking that Graham was a nasty, smarmy, sexually aggressive gay man. Let me take the time to note here that I do not have an issue with homosexual people, nor do I think Graham had those negative attributes because he was gay.
As we watched the next few episodes, my view of Graham was tainted. I didn’t like listening to him. I didn’t like looking at him. I thought he was wrong to use his power to try and force his personal, sexual agenda on another person that he had just met. I made a comment or two to my husband about Graham being gay, too. Nothing negative. I can’t even remember the context. My husband finally questioned me about Graham being gay when we were watching an episode in the middle of the night. He told me that Graham was married (he was wearing a ring on THAT finger, but that could mean anything nowadays).
I stubbornly shook my head and took the time to explain the encounter with the first contestant we had watched. My husband listened to me with a strange look on his face. I was upset when I was finished, and he told me that nothing I “remembered” had actually happened. I wouldn’t give. I knew what I remembered. I took some time to search out the video on YouTube. My husband and I watched it together. Here is what ACTUALLY happened, or, at least, what DIDN’T happen:
- Graham did not start by pressuring the Asian man for a date. Ramsay asked the contestant if he had a girlfriend. The young man said he was gay. At the same time, Ramsay and Graham asked if he had a boyfriend. Totally innocent.
- Graham was not making suggestive faces at the contestant. He licked his lips at one point in anticipation of the dish. Totally innocent.
- The hug at the end came AFTER Ramsay told the man he got through. Ramsay hugged the guy first. Then Graham hugged the guy. It wasn’t long. There was no back rubbing. Totally innocent
What I remember happening couldn’t have been further from the truth. I have no idea how I got the encounter so wrong. I was glad that we could look it up on YouTube to find out what happened, but very bothered at the conclusion I would have to draw from this: I misremember the past. My emotions color my memories in negative and incorrect ways.
If I don’t remember things properly, what does that say about my life? It makes me question EVERYTHING. Every event I remember. Every word said to me. Maybe I was wrong in kicking some people out of my life. Maybe they weren’t so bad afterall. I still feel so hurt and angry about everything in my past. I can’t have it wrong. I just don’t know what to think now. I just don’t know. It would be nice if I could have someone follow me around and put every part of my life on YouTube. Then I would know for SURE what happened. Then I would know if I was feeling the right thing. If I remembered the right thing. If I’ve acted the right way.