I’ve been gradually wandering back into the 1980s. Thanks to a serendipitous request by the city to scan and email a document this past week, I went into a flurry of scanning colour negatives of a 73-day trip to the UK and Europe I shot back in 1984. I’d scanned some photographs here and there of that trip about three years ago, but this time, I somehow started at Day One. And it brought back memories of the young adult I used to be.
The thing about brain injury sometimes is that it hoovers up your old personality and ejects it into some unknown void, then it sits back and watches you grow up all over again. In fast forward this time. Or almost, anyway. I can remember back to the age of two, maybe younger, certainly before potty training was done and dusted. Note to parents who swan around on this kind of training till their kid is well over three years old: they’re going to remember. Is that a memory you’d want to have as an adult?! So as I began to recover from my brain injury, I began to hit those same markers, the same kinds of events that I remember going through before as a kid then a teen and then a young adult. I figure that for the last year or so, I’ve been in that latter stage of life where you’re looking ahead to a life as an independent adult, to finishing school or university, choosing your career, and strutting out on the world stage on your own. These photographs I’ve been scanning – and the notes I wrote in the albums I put together after that trip – are not only dipping me into the past but also reminding me of the present. They’re a reminder of who I was and who I won’t be again. I managed not to bawl. I yo-yo’d being happy I was scanning again and wondering: what the hell happened?! Life was not supposed to turn out this way. Sigh.
But in reminding me of who I was, the photographs and album entries were tapping me on the shoulder and asking me: do you want that organizing skill, that eagerness, that dreaminess, that feeling of being whoever you want to be, again?
(Click on a photo to read about it.)