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Explain Yourself Meme

June 26, 2008

Ann, The Tragic Optimist, tagged me with a meme which doesn’t seem to have a title. Well, I am calling it the “Explain Yourself Meme” because, well, you know how it is to reveal things about yourself on the Internet. I think it must have been the “Five Things Meme,” but somehow morphed along the way.

I am sad thinking about how I get distracted by thoughts of “him” often enough, and neglect to appreciate where I am (and with whom) now. I have a tape that he made for me. The only way I can listen to it is on my Walkman. Like a madwoman I decided on Tuesday I wanted to hear those songs again, but the batteries were corroded.

I took them out and threw them away, then attempted to scratch the corrosion from the metal with my fingernail. When fresh batteries still weren’t making a connection, I popped opened a can of Coca-Cola and swabbed the rest of the corrosion away with soda-soaked Q-tips. That got the Walkman back in working order and I listened to my tape. Now I understand why I recently discovered that I like the Magnetic Fields and why it wasn’t the first time I had heard them. “Plant White Roses” is one of the songs on the tape, and deep down I knew that Stephin Merritt’s lyrics and haunting voice were associated with my past and not with my present.

music list

. . .

music list

I am like Don Quixote in that I recognize my madness, therefore I am not technically mad, but what am I doing to myself? Why am I revisiting (and being so dramatic about) this relationship? Is this tape poison? Do you think I should throw it away?

It’s not Ann’s fault. I think about “him” every year in June anyway.

What were you doing ten years ago? In the summer of 1998 I had finished my freshman year at Davidson and was living with my parents in Virginia. He sent me a tape in the mail to listen to while we were apart that June. As a pathetic naive nineteen year old, I wanted to be with him forever and ever, Amen. But . . .

What are five things on your to-do list today? laundry, make supper, vacuum, take my children out to play somewhere, clean off the kitchen table

What snacks do you enjoy? a bowl of frosted mini-wheats with milk, fruit salad, crackers with peanut butter, M&Ms, a glass of kefir

What would you do if you were a billionaire? Buy us a house on twenty acres, buy a house for my brother and his wife, anonymously donate the majority of the money to the Living Endowment at Davidson, donate to public radio stations, “adopt” an elementary school in Lima and take care of their building and the teachers’ salaries, eat well, maybe hire a chef . . .

Where have you lived? Virginia, North Carolina, and Hamamatsu, Japan (and then Virginia again)

What jobs have you had? Babysitter, Hostess/Waitress, Farmhand, Sandwich Shop Delivery Girl, Concession Stand Co-Manager at an outdoor theater, Music Librarian (four years of workstudy at Davidson), YMCA summer camp counselor, English Teacher (for three years in Japan)

. . .

  1. June 26, 2008 9:28 am

    I’m impressed at how you got your walkman to work again. It’s so nice to have something concrete to hold onto the memories.

  2. June 26, 2008 10:03 am

    Isn’t that gross that Coca-Cola is capable of cleaning battery corrosion? Thanks for sharing what you think (of course very much influenced by your current situation). I’m trying to figure out if I agree with you or not. I don’t know that it’s necessarily nice to hold onto something that makes me sad and regretful.

  3. June 26, 2008 8:18 pm

    i have a similar collection of mix tapes from a someone that’s long since gone from my life. every so often i have the urge to pull them out and listen. i never actually do, but i still cannot bring myself to throw them away. i like knowing that they’re safely tucked away, just like my memories of him.

  4. June 27, 2008 10:56 am

    Thanks for helping me feel better, Heather. I don’t want to throw the tape away, but I don’t want it to get in my way either. It’s hard to find that balance.

  5. June 30, 2008 12:48 pm

    Hmmm… maybe I’ve missed something. Did you write about ‘him’ earlier and I missed it? I would need way more info before I could give you an answer. I’m always game to give my opinion LOL. I think matters such as this can interfere with your life/marriage or just be a reminder of whom we were before.

    Do you spend a lot of time thinking about ‘him’? And if so, what is it that you are missing? Did you not get closure? Are you romanticizing who he was? Or did he make you something you don’t think you can be now?

    I think it’s very important to figure out why his memory is so important before you can decide if it’s healthy.

  6. July 1, 2008 9:20 pm

    No, Chris, I haven’t mentioned him before. I sometimes think about what could have been, but that’s so pointless. Ten years is such a long time to romanticize who he was, and I’m trying to get over it. My memory of him is so important because he was the first person to say, “I love you” to me and I imagined that it would last. I was devastated when I couldn’t hold his interest. I would say that it is not healthy for a married woman to carry that around. So hopefully this blog post serves as a purge of sorts. Thanks for your support!

  7. July 7, 2008 10:47 pm

    Ah, I too have a “him”. The memories will flood back at the oddest times, usually when nothing else is going on so there’s nothing to distract me from falling back into them. Like you, he was my first “I love you” and I fully expected it to be forever. I put up with a lot more than I should have because of it, too. We’re still in touch, both married with a young child, I have no desire to ever go back to him, and I think I’m glad that I don’t have anything tangible anymore. The memories are enough.

    I’m not sure I even agree that it’s unhealthy to carry something like this around. We’re all the products of all of our experiences, and I think it still has this hold on us because it meant so much, and I think it’s good to have had intense experiences and intense love. I ended up using my “him” as my test for all other men that I dated since – I would ask myself if I would leave if he called and asked me to – my husband was the only person for whom the answer was an emphatic “no.”

  8. July 10, 2008 12:03 pm

    Ann, thanks for giving me some feedback. I really appreciate that you shared your thoughts. 🙂

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