Memories are interesting things. It seems like they come back at the most unexpected moments, hitting us in the gut when we’re not ready for it. Many of my own memories are what I call “emotional memories”: I don’t necessarily remember a specific event, but rather a specific emotion. It’s like I feel it all over again, if even just for a moment. I don’t even always have an event to connect the emotion to; I find myself suddenly feeling something that I haven’t felt in years, maybe even decades.

Often these emotional memories are triggered by smells. Just this week the scent of fallen, rotting leaves on the ground hit me in the face and it elicited a gut-level memory. I can’t even accurately name the emotion – a mix of loneliness and happiness and anticipation all in one. There’s no specific event to link the emotion to; a part of my past that will remain forever buried in the deep recess of my mind.

Other times, it’s a song. I hear a song on the radio that causes one of those deep, gut reactions. More often these emotional memories are connected to certain events, or more typically, certain periods of my life. I hear Chris DeBurgh’s “Lady in Red” and I’m at a 7th grade school dance all over again.

It’s funny how memories work like that.

3 Responses

  1. So true. Sometimes these types of memories elicit such a sad time, other times, it’s a beautiful, happy memory. But it’s the ones that hit you smack in the face that are the ones you probably tried to forget, but they come back to haunt, in some way. I had one of those recently, it stayed with me for a few days.

  2. I love that song and it reminds me of the exact same thing… all of my romantic hopes for eighth grade romance, trying on lipstick for the first time, talking with my girlfriends in the school bathroom during the dance. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh my – songs definitely do that to and for me. I can remember exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was feeling. It’s amazing how many memory songs the brain can store away.

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