I was just reminded about my first kiss and no matter how many years — well, let me be honest … DECADES! — pass, the thought of it still brings a smile to my face. It was the 80s in Southern California and he was my very first boyfriend. He had blonde hair that he’d swish out from in front of his eyes with a sideways head flick and I thought he was simply dreamy. When he made the move from holding hands to a kiss let me tell you that it was nothing like the sweet kisses you see in movies though.
Not for any fault of his but 100% because I was so shocked by it that I ran away crying, calling for my mom! Well, times did change quickly and kissing definitely became something, like, so totally cool in no time at all.
I can remember so many details from that day like the music we listened to, the lighting in the room and where we were seated. And whenever happy hour tales turn to fun round-robin queries like everyone’s first kiss, it’s always fun to recount the story in granular detail.
Yet oddly I can’t remember details from huge chunks of time, even years, during other moments in life. If it weren’t for photos and old emails or journals I’ve saved I wonder if all of that would be lost forever.
Why is it that some memories stick so vividly in our minds and last the test of time while others – many of which I’m sure were meaningful, important or helped to define me (if only I could remember them!) – fade into the abyss and don’t leave a permanent footprint in the trail of our minds?
What makes a memory worth saving?
I don’t know about you but for me what has stuck isn’t just those ‘firsts’ or moments of extreme fear or joy. Though times like the birth of my daughter or 17 years later seeing my little angel graduate play out vividly in my mind.
For me, it’s also those amazing moments that help to ground us, help us to ‘find ourselves’ and to grow that really shine bright, too … like taking risks in life or volunteering with NGOs or taking road trips. For me, it’s not what happened during those moments that I remember so much as that feeling of purpose or freedom or empowerment of it. And it’s awesome to be able to tap into that when life isn’t serving up big doses of those feelings.
Ohhhh wait, there are also the embarrassing things that happen that we will never forget. Like accidentally passing gas in front of other people (and denying it) or having a wardrobe malfunction. Or – like me when I was still learning Spanish – swapping out an ‘o’ for an ‘a’ at the end of the word and instead of asking for a whole chicken cut up into quarters (a pollo), asking for a whole penis cut up into quarters (a polla!) in front of about 10 little old ladies at the butcher shop in Spain. To this day I can still feel the heat rise in my face as it turned beet red!
So here I am tonight, alone in Hong Kong playing music from the 70s and 80s and feeling a mix now between blessed and melancholy thinking about special moments from the past. So many of them include my daughter because she is literally the best part of my life and what I’m most proud of. Yet it feels good to have lots of other personal moments to reflect on just as a woman, (especially after seeing first-hand that not all women in all countries have that opportunity). There’s a famous quote by Oscar Wilde that says, ‘I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.’ I guess my hope is that I keep my memories (and marbles!) with me ’til the end – like Oscar’s diary – to ponder whenever they’re needed!
SPECIAL REQUEST >> I’d love to hear your first kiss story as I think it would make a fun article to compile tales from around the world so if you are up for it, please share below
© 2015, Angela Carson and Angela-Carson.com. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.