Sometimes I want to forget parts of the past. There are some moments in my life, particularly in high school, that I literally cannot remember. I know that they weren’t the best parts of my life and that I just wanted to get through them while they were happening, but I know now that I am who I am today because of those periods. I now realize that every single day of my past is what makes me who I am today, whether those days were good or bad. While I may be technically from all over the place, which makes it hard to identify my geographical roots at times, I know the people I come from.
This semester I have been taking a creative nonfiction class. The class is built around remembering. Sure, it’s remembering the first day of middle school, the day you got your license, and prom, but it’s moreso about remembering the moments after which everything changed. Moments that seem significant now - or might seem significant in the future - but didn’t when they happened. Moments that taught a lesson or that can reveal some sort of truth about being human. It’s a lot to ask for a twenty-two-year-old who hasn’t lived through a whole lot yet, but it has taught me a lot about the importance of remembering your roots.
Remembering where you came from is about more than identifying your old stomping grounds. It’s about more than an old house or the minivan your family drove cross country in on several different occasions. It’s about feelings. The feelings that left an impact and that are linked in some way to who you intrinsically are as a person. The moments spent dancing with your dad in the living room and twisting the swings in the backyard around and around only to let them go with your dizzy body sitting on the seat. It’s going to the craft fair by your grandparent's house and being gifted a beautiful little necklace, or the home-sewn outfits your grandma made.
I’ve realized through this class that remembering the past is important. There’s no need to dwell on it, and there may be reasons to move on and forget certain parts, but there’s no denying that the events of the past - even the terrible ones - have shaped each and every one of us. I think it’s worth remembering the way things make us feel. It’s worth feeling in this world of such blatant callousness. Remember the good things and reflect on the bad. Admire the way life has a way of shaping and molding us all into resilient human beings. Remember your roots.