The Perils of Forgetting

One of the ways I got out of depression was by trying to forget everything.  Depression is a symptom of being anchored to your past, and I wanted to throw it all away.

So I did.  There was a period in my life in my early twenties when I erased everything.  Pictures, digital or physical, notes, letters, emails, everything.  Everything that was associated with even a tinge of pain.  Letters and emails from and to people who didn’t return my calls anymore.  Pictures of exes and ex-friends who I felt sure, didn’t remember me anymore so why should I remember them.  Memories of awkward conversations, embarrassing moments.

I purged things from my hard drives and actively blocked my memories, when I felt myself reminiscing.  I blocked the day’s events from my mind, and laying in bed, only thought about the future.

I thought that in order to avoid the pain, I needed to become harder, more inured to things.  So I pretended I didn’t remember people, the places, and the conversations I was generating on a daily basis.

“Oh, we met before?”  I would say.

It was therapeutic, at the time.

But by thinking only of the future it replaced depression with anxiety.  And also, in so doing, I effectively made it so I didn’t exist during those years.  I have no way of knowing who I was back then.  Because these days, I really wonder.  I’ve lost a part of my life.

It’s a tradeoff, maybe I went too far.

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What I Got Out of La La Land

I think this is a movie whose core subject is life in your twenties in Los Angeles.  It’s in the guise of a musical, strung out in the plot of a love story.

The fact that Mia gets her car towed and has to walk to the yard to pick it up – this happens more than people know.

The indigo and deep blue cool colors that suffuse the nights.  The pretty lights of LA seen from above the hills.  Very accurate.

There is more distance between people than in other cities.  Because of cars, because of the space between buildings, because people will say ‘yeah, let’s go out,’ and then feel lazy and not want to because of the inertial wall of getting dressed, getting in your car, navigating the traffic and finding parking, etc.  Like Mia not wanting to go out in the beginning of the movie.  Although it’s probably now with Uber.

When everyone moves to LA, you cast your social net as wide as possible, but then you meet someone, and your circle becomes smaller.  Then, like in the movie, you interact with few people besides the one you’ve chosen.  It resonated with me that Seb and Mia talk to almost no one but each other.  It’s a very lonely life set amidst a beautiful backdrop.

LA is a desert.  It’s a city of dreams that can just as easily be mirages, and you move there to pursue something.  Living there is to choose to alternate between absolute technicolor euphoria, and the somber nights when the distances between people seem uncrossable.

Then: when you’ve made it, you’ll look back and wonder if this is actually what you wanted, when you were 25.