What counts as a memory?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by hushed_lavinia

Yesterday my son did something really nice. He not only read my blog post, but also provided feedback. God I love it when the men in my life do that! Anyway, he made an extremely good observation. He pointed out that if in order to stay in the present, we abstained from visiting the past, this might ultimately result in the fading away of our memories. Food for thought, eh?

However, I told him that personally, I thought flashbacks pertained to remembering difficult times in the past while memories had to do with reliving positive experiences. Although he walked away muttering, “Nonsense, Mom,” I could see a slight smile on his face. Perhaps because he’s all too familiar with the importance I place on memories.

So how is it that one day I’m encouraging you to “live in the present moment,” while the next I’m inviting you to revisit your memories, you may ask? Allow me to explain.

I was seven years old when I took up the pastime of rocking away on the porch with my grandmother. She always insisted the sole purpose of old rocking chairs was to “soothe the soul”. And soothe the soul we did. We would sit for hours rocking back and forth, sipping our ice water, content as can be.

During these times I would always ask my nana to tell me a story of her youth. She was always happy to oblige. Through her narrations I learned about the time she was thrown from a mule, how she spent her summers in France stomping grapes, and how she assisted her Father in the bakery they owned.

Every story provided me with details of my grandmother’s life and how her passion and zeal for life came to be. I also became aware of the importance of being a survivor and what being a lady was all about. Through it all, my granny would smile and laugh. She always wrapped up every story by saying, “Bella, delving into one’s memories is like reliving a time in one’s life, so make sure that when you do it, you remember the good times and not the bad.”

As an adult, I realize that while reliving a difficult experience can be cathartic, it can also be quite painful. I believe this is what granny was trying to tell me.

As I reminded my son of the difference between a flashback and a memory, my mind wandered. For a moment a series of fond memories seemed to pass before my eyes; my son as a baby, then as a toddler, his first day of school, and his high school graduation. Good times. All of them.

I too was smiling like an idiot as I followed him out of the room.

How about you? What fond memory makes you smile?

Have you seen these underpants?

cc licensed flickr photo shared by whizchickenonabun

A comment on one of my postings served as the inspiration for today’s blog entry. The credit goes to Tiger Lilly for pointing out how ill-fitting underpants can hold a good woman down.

You are right, my sister, they do indeed. I have lost count of how many times I’ve walked into a department store, full of hope, lowered expectations and a wad full of cash ready to fork over for the right pair of underpants.

Forget the Spanx and other contraptions that promise to give you that smooth, no-line, shapely look. We all know that no matter what, these just end up making us look like a badly encased sausage.

And don’t get me started on the pulled muscles, torn ligaments and strained backs that have resulted from trying to wrestle all of our human meat into them.

The underpants I’m talking about are delicate, non-constraining, made of soft organic cotton, have no frills but don’t look like a parachute.

Time after time I hold my breath, reliquish my money, and gently carry the bag that holds the pair that might just be “the one” home. Upon my arrival, I carefully open the little plastic sack and unveil my latest discovery.

Quickly, I peel off all my clothes and put them on.

At first, the result seems promising. The color is just right. The material is baby soft and my crotch appears to breathe without requiring assistance from a medical device. However, the minute I squat, I know something is wrong.

Upon glancing at myself in the full length mirror, which I have to say makes me a very brave woman, I notice the waistband of the underpants has disappeared. Where could it have gone, I wonder and low and behold, one turn in the mirror gives me the answer.

My belly has literally gobbled it up. The waistband has now taken up residence beneath one of the folds of skin located beneath my belly button.

Sadly, I remove the offensive garment, throw it in the ever-growing pile of rejects and pour myself a glass of wine.

In all my naked glory, I make a toast for what could have been but alas, was not. I hold my glass high and make another toast.The fight isn’t over, I shout. I’m still  on the quest and I shall find you!

Half a bottle of wine later, I sit down at my desk and inscribe the brand, model, size, color and the store the useless underpants were purchased. I notice the list now holds 535 entries some of which bring back painful flashbacks.

I remember the time I bought the black nylon ones that gave me the welts that required medical attention. I remember the pink ones that literally tore the second they went past my knees.

I recall the red ones that gave me a wedgie that was so painful, they caused me to tug at them in public only to realize the handsome stranger standing behind me at the supermarket had witnessed the entire process.

And who’s to forget the neon green ones that cut off the blood flow to my femoral artery and bought me a trip to the emergency room for which I’m still paying medical deductibles for.

Yes, the right pair of underpants is as mythical as a unicorn and yet, I push on.

Sword drawn, teeth barred, determination in my stance, I surge forward. The right pair of underpants is out there and if located, we sisters know we shall worship at the altar of  the woman who finds them.

So get ready ladies, because tonight we nibble salad in hell!