And when I say trigger, I am using it in as benign a way as possible, as the word itself has become not just a way to reveal a bullet, but a way to reveal a past hurt, and I would ask that I be permitted to use it as something positive and enlightening. Words are, after all, a reflection of ourselves, and we have more control over them than we think.
For the first time in thirty years, I was paid a visit by my first girlfriend. The person that broke me out of my high school depression, made me feel worthy of love and made me believe that my love was worthy of accepting. The strange algebra that constitutes our minds would leave some of you thinking that the answer to solve for x was a bad move on my part.
This girl, now woman, was my first love. There's hardly a way to explain how much it affected me as a person. I barely had an identity back then. And if I did, it was a booksmart kid who made friends with the popular kid and listened to Slayer and tried to fit in with the stoners because they seemed cool. I was eighteen and the world was still a code I was trying to decipher. That is what youth is, that is what life is at it's most concerned: Archaeology of oneself. If I know myself then I will know the world, we say to ourselves in our clouded clarity.
This girl burst into my life without any need to follow other than attraction. She did not remember how we came to talk to one another. I did. I did not remember that she was there with me on the day I graduated high school. She did. And she has pictures as well. She still has the gold necklace I gave her. I knew that I had given it to her. I remember people that she doesn't remember. She remembers people that I don't. She remembers the Opus doll I gave her, a huge penguin doll, and though I am still a fan of Bloom County, I couldn't conjure that image in my mind. She confirmed the reason she left me, and it was as beautiful a reason as I could remember, because she was trying to save my life. And those details are not for public display, so forgive me if I don't retell them in this forum.
She has carved out a wonderful life for herself from what most would consider stone. She was told very early on that her life would consist of early pregnancy and exhaustion. Despite this, she has made the most of herself. At some point, she decided that the life she had been told she would have was not good enough. She demanded more, and in this, she defied expectation. Her job has allowed her to travel the world, experience life in a way that only a small percentage of us can. And even in this success, her ultimate goal is to settle into something self-sufficient. A way of life that allows her to live fully and still benefit others.
And I would have been blind to all of this unless she one day texted me and said that we should meet.
We are human and as such are slaves to perspective. Your memories are not anyone else's. If nothing else, it is a very good reason for every single person to write a biography. And it is very likely that no one will read it, but it will, at the very least, be available to peruse. Just to get a different take on life in general. Because without it, your record of life will eventually disappear, and all of those beautiful moments in your life will one day evaporate into a tombstone. And the world is already littered with rocks that bare names that no longer mean anything to us. Or, even worse, a pit filled with bones that cannot share because we stopped caring about their tales long ago. But as long as you are alive, here and now in a place that reveres the dead, that story of you remains alive, and you have a choice as to whether or not to share it with people. You still may influence the stories said about you. You alone can dictate your story by examining your history, by treating those close to you with respect and love, by not giving into fear and cynicism.
You can still love deeply and madly like a lost high schooler. You can still indulge in the archaeology of yourself. You have a choice as how you can view your lost loves, because even if you had a bad break-up and never want to see them again for as long as you live, try to remember that once upon a time, they meant everything to you. The reason they did has not disappeared. It may be that you have forgotten why, but it once existed and was as real to you as your own heartbeat or your tenacious teenage angst.
Your archaeology is not done.