Posts Tagged ‘memory’


Posted: November 29, 2015 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Travels
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Matrioshkas: Vintage set, exactly like mine.

– If it happened that right now you were tele transported to a different reality, in any place in the world where you have no connections, what would you have to take along?

I was asked that question once. Many things came to mind but I could not pinpoint the right answer.

-That´s because you need nothing. You should only need yourself. The rest are tools to be reacquired or just burden.

It is difficult to anticipate how simple and complicated all that could be, or to what extent that would be true or false.

I have spent the last five years of my life going around owning the minimum. Keeping a light luggage means having to decide frequently what to leave behind, and what travels with me. Those decisions gotta be practicality driven.

Some of these things, a few but still, I have kept not out of absolute necessity, but out of some sort of loyalty, memory or nostalgia. Some times I have decided not to give in into getting something new, even if I badly want it, to save space for what I already have.

I have kept a photo album put together to bring along. A collection of DVDs with school works. A Swiss army knife. And gigabytes full of memories, and the fear that some day all that could explode in a cloud of zeros and ones.

I would have been difficult to predict that after a while, the nostalgia for things changes. The nature of the things longed changes. Recently I have remembered my old set of Russian dolls, wondering whether those still exist. Or where did I leave, to whom did I ask to store the other set of Russian dolls that a friend gave me as a present. I have thought that I have no pictures from when I was a child and my parents were young, and I would want to have it.

Humans and things get entangled in complicated relationships. For some reason things are thought to be there to fill voids we can´t.


Or the lack of it…


Gravity is technically a force. Actually the most powerful force in the universe, holding planets and stars on course. The reason why they connect gravity with seriousness, in crimes, it’s because there is also gravity in intention. With purpose a route is set, a path that can be walked step by step, toward a core that draws us, preventing us from hesitating, from taking a turn, from thinking it twice, from floating away. Indecisiveness is like floating away, when the core has lost strength, or when the core is there no more.

tree rootsI have done my backpack, and then undone it again. Feeling that your backpack stares back at you is a good sign of floating. Just floating. Not even away. Then I discover: that´s why plants have roots.

Without purpose, the way to stay on the ground is having roots. Or at least an anchor that ties you to the port, while the moment comes to sail away. Sail to another destiny, to another harbor, or simply to a shipwreck.

woman triggeredThere’s gravity on projects, and a migrant tends to take a path following a project. The project could be survival, or love, or change. But what happens once we are passed survival and we are supposed to be living, or change turned into habit? Then there’s the unbearable lightness of being. Then there are no roots, and without roots, anchor or a strong intention, there’s only floating.

Say, moving to a new country, or a new city, it’s like meeting new people. It’s awesome. It’s being in a mission, if for survival or success doesn’t really matter. All focus is placed on a goal, on a core. It’s aiming at a heart, or running away from the shot. That’s danger: anticipation. then there’s the peace that comes right after the bomb exploded, the shot was taken… When we either hit target or dodged the bullet. When danger is past, time freezes. Or rather, there’s only time. With much time, indecisiveness.

There’s something special to the feeling of meeting an old friend. There’s gravity in old friendship. There’s memory, a recognition of who you are in who you were. Gravity is continuity.

Re-Cognize. Someone remembers you from another time, another place. That’s a proof that you exist, you’re not a figment of your own imagination. It is also evidence that you were able enough to remain in someone’s mind. There must be some worth in that.


A friend told me once that I had developed a dangerous addiction to changes. Another friend had told me later that lack of gravity is what exile is. I hadn’t connected both till now.

In the Memory of Amanda, René, Ying…

Two strangers, many years ago

Two strangers, many years ago

I don’t know who those two girls are. By the look of the frames, they must be full grown up women by now. They could be mothers, or even grandmothers. One of them could be even dead for all I know.

I have found those pics in an open group in Facebook. Not just any group. A group that is named after my old high school, where I spent three years, between 14-17. So, that makes me feel a bit entitled to kind of steal the photos. Although, to be clear, I haven’t claimed any membership to that group.

I’m using these pictures that belong to perfect strangers to make a point: Internet, and very particularly social media, keep a sort of cruel memory.

At age 32, the notion that we are all mortals already struck me many years ago. I have lost some family. I have lost some friends.

But my grandparents weren’t Millennials, they had no Facebook Walls or LinkedIn Profiles or Skype accounts. However, my friends who are not here anymore, they did. Every year, for every new birthday, Skype sends a notification, Facebook shows a reminder, LinkedIn advices to say happy birthday and reconnect. Every new time, I dismiss those warnings feeling somehow sad.

I could “unfriend” them, or block them, or filter them from my feeds. I have considered it, but I am not capable. It feels like I could be offending them -or the memories that I have from them. So what I do is to click on their names and visit their profiles.

I read again the farewell messages. I scroll down to find their last post. I see some pictures where we are both tagged… And again I find myself wondering what if… they hadn’t gone. Where would they be, what would they be doing, whether we would still be friends.

It feels like they haven’t gone yet, not entirely, or maybe they’re back for a moment. Their ghosts linger in the Web. And I cry, just a little, just a shy tear.

Florence, 2010. With Ying and Gayatri, view from San Miniato al Monte

Florence, 2010. With Ying and Gayatri, view from San Miniato al Monte


Posted: February 26, 2014 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous
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Where would I be without friends? My friends who have been there for me, every step of the way.

More importantly: Who would I be without all the support, input, company, lessons and criticism received from my friends?

Very relevant: What is to be a friend?


-Friends will let you know very clearly when and where you screwed up.

-Friends will tell you that it’s ok to be you, no matter how much it seems you don’t fit quite right in this world. They will tell you to hold on to yourself, your dreams, your values and your beliefs even if they don’t share it, and especially when the entire rest of the world is pushing hard for you to change.

-Friends will introduce you to other friends because they think it’s a win-win situation. This means they will try to shelter you, no matter how far you are, even if you are actually doing well.

-Friends will be willing to cross the ocean to see you, if they think you need to be pampered or slapped.

-Friends will listen to your idea, your story, your memory, even if they are not really sure what to understand, or what it means at all. They will tell you later, but they will listen because they feel it’s something you need to get out of your system.

-Friends will show up from nowhere, due to no reason, just to tell you how fond they are about the way you write, paint, take photographs, dance, design, code… or how cool you look playing basketball or football, even though you know that’s far from true.

-Friends will plan with you the greatest holiday trips, and then you will both end up doing something totally different, something improvised that turns out to feel a 1000 times better.

-Friends sometimes stop showing up in your life. This is no reason to be mad at your friends, if it’s because they are doing well and are busy being happy. That happiness will support them later, when not so lucky moments arrive. But sometimes friends withdraw because they feel sad, hopeless and helpless, they don’t want to share it with you so you won’t get sad and worry about them. Sometimes these friends don’t come out to meet you again, ever again. Some friends will be gone for good, leaving a void impossible to fill.

-Friend can call you in the middle of the night, for no reason, just because they felt goosebumps while listening to a totally unrelated news and suddenly got worried about you.

-Friends will show up for you when your country has been massively damaged by some natural disaster.

-Whenever you hear some news about a war, or a bomb, or a terrorist attack, that just happened in a friend’s country, you want to hear from your friend ASAP, no matter if your friend lives in the other extreme of that country.

-Most true friends agree that Facebook sucks, because it misleads you to think you are actually keeping up with your friends’ lives and events.

I think now that I should have written this post more than a week before, it would have been definitely a more popular post if published by February 14th… But my friends are my friends for some reason, by this time they are fully aware of my type A personality, totally at odds with tradition. So they won’t be surprised!

The Math of December

Posted: December 8, 2013 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous, Women don't Cry
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68870I’ve never liked December, way too much fuzz for me. It brings what I loath and fear, it drives people to shopping sprees, it leads to crazy spikes in energy consumption because of all the lights and Christmas trees, it fuels by the way the nonsense rhetoric of “war on Christmas”, and I can’t avoid making math in my head, balancing where I’m standing against where I think I should be. It brings memories too. Tell me about something more paralyzing at times than memories. Memories and Hope.

Remember Pandora’s box? That box contained all the pains and evils of this world and Hope was at the bottom. Only Hope could be that powerful, strong enough to hang in there, to hold the weight of every other misery.  When I was a child, adults sold me a misleading interpretation of the myth. People told me that Hope was the cure, the antidote for the evils. That interpretation is wrong. Any respected scholar will tell that Greeks identify Hope with a negative feeling, a deceitful one when led humans to believe that things could be under their control.

2013 has been an ugly year for me. I have mourned the death of strangers and close friends. Aaron Swartz killed himself in his Brooklin flat. Ying took her life jumping from a building in Beijing. This year I am a estranged daughter. I’m also missing the answers from a lover who vanished into thin air dragged by his own ghosts. I’ve lost work opportunities. I’ve been crippled, unable to move on at so many levels and hiding from the loved ones because I don’t want them to see. Out there people  may have gotten married and traveled and started new jobs and contemplated the universe from space. But here everything has been tiny and time has run so slow. This December my maths should be horrible.

And then this year 2013, Nelson Mandela died on December 5th. He was 95 and sick, so no shock in his death. I would have liked to be Mandela’s friend. He was a man of missing meanings. Married three times, shady friends like Castro and Gaddafi, but the inspiration against Apartheid, the icon, the living evidence that sometimes impossible tasks are within humans’ hands.

For some reason, even though my December’s maths do suck, the fear I loath doesn’t bite me yet. This time I’m finding some secret pleasure in the fact that the year is actually ending. A new chapter could be open with the new year, a cycle could be closed. And I know Hope is there, waiting at the end, at the bottom, to make believe. And that’s what “it’s in the nature” means I guess, believing once more that things could turn just fine this time.

Running away

Posted: October 16, 2013 by jennroig in English, Fiction, Miscellaneous, Women don't Cry
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Original painting by ourhouseabstractart

Original painting by ourhouseabstractart

It’s halloween time and deads come to my life. The cross hanging on the front gate has no power.

I’m losing my dream during nights and my heart pounds faster during days. I’m trying hard to run away. I go offline and my phone rings, I turn my phone off and there’s a knocking on my door. I lock the door and then I hear whispers coming from nowhere.

Whispers from my memory, from my estranged father and my nostalgic mother. Whispers from past lovers and fading friends. A cry of a baby that I may never have. Screams from a homeland that I detest.

It’s been almost a year since I got into this land. It feels so strongly that I should be heading some place else right now. But I stay.

Shhhh… Shut it down.

Cassandra at odds

Posted: December 26, 2012 by jennroig in English, Miscellaneous
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Cassandra is a mythological character. A sad, tragic one. She was the daughter of Priam and Hecuba, king and queen of Troy when it was destroyed by the Greeks. There are many versions of Cassandra’s original curse, but it always refers to a beautiful girl with the possibility of seeing into the future, with no one believing her.


Well, yes, Cassandra could foresee the future. How about the past?

Stupid idea, who needs to foresee the past? It’s gone, it has been lived, there are no secrets on the past. At least our individual past.

However, memory is a tricky thing. I’ve got some taste of that these past days.

I’ve met someone from my past. I knew his name, his surname, I could remember a lot of things, and I certainly thought I’d remembered everything, until he started to tell pieces of memories I couldn’t recall. Not just one scene, or conversation, or somebody’s name, but the whole thing. I had forgotten people he had introduced me, even a full night episode.

While he was telling me, I had the flashbacks, slowly recovering moments, remembering people, drawing scenarios, the feeling of a probable weather… I hated the feeling that I had lost parts of my life. I got scared of the possibility of having lost even more moments, more people, more feelings and thoughts.

Funny thing is that I believed I had a nice memory. Sometimes I’m lazy to take photographs because I think I better live the moment as intensely as I can, because if it’s intense, then the memory will remain. I’m not so sure now.

I’m do think Cassandra was cursed. Even if I come to wish it many times, I rather go for not seeing into my future.

How about the past? Oblivion can be a blessing sometimes, if it allows to forget painful moments. Blocking those images from my mind it’s a skill I’ve developed. Of course, I like to think I’ve kept the life lessons. But the surprise has come to prove me that I have blocked, or lost, not only the sad parts.

So, is it there anyway to prevent memories to vanish? If a curse or a bless was proposed, to prevent those pieces of life from being redacted, the good and the bad ones, would be worthy to take it?