Once a while, in our moments of quietude and rest, an image or scene from our past pops up in our head. It is a visceral throwback to an activity that happened sometime back. Sometimes it brings us joy. Like the first time you entered a space you had been dreaming of for a long time. Or an encounter with someone you do not want to forget.
Other times, you wish you never remembered the event. The flashbacks make you cringe inwardly. You ask yourself “ah what was I thinking when I said this”. It could be a crappy attire you wore to an event or a lame pickup line you tried using on a girl. It suffices to say, you wish that event could be blotted out of memory.
One of my most cringe worthy memories happened during my exchange year. It was in the hours before the shortened day span of the winter sun. Basketball season was in full flight and I was fully content with being on the team and not even getting playing seconds. This was my American Dream! Jogging into the gymnasium to the N****s in Paris while donning my warm up suits was more than enough for me. But I had to put in the work to continue warming the bench and wearing a tracksuit. And that meant training at ungodly hours.
The school’s gymnasium was stretched and access to it was rationed. It happened on this dreaded day that the male team had to practice at dawn. To catch a ride to practice, I had to piggyback on a ride from a friend. Having a mountain load of assignment the night before, I barely got enough sleep. So when my ride came in, I had to quickly say my early morning prayer and miss breakfast to get to practice.
At this juncture, the one advice I can give you is “eat before you get drilled by a no nonsense coach!”. After a couple of minutes of running and jumping, I began to see green all around me. I rushed to the washroom and what happened next befuddles me to date. When I regained consciousness, the coach told me I had passed out on the floor of the toilet with my bum showing. Luckily for me, a teenage looking for a thousand retweets did not find me before the coach did. Otherwise, my bum would have been all over the place.
This is still one of those “why did I do that/how did that happen” things for me. But I have gotten to that point where sharing such things from my past is no longer hard. Maybe I would not have been able to tell you in person but this blogging thing has made it easier for me.
Facebook has also made sharing not so cool stuff easier for me. Sometime last, Mark Zuckerberg decided to remind people of how awkward their earlier post were. When he added “Memories” to Facebook, I feel he was trying to subtly make fun of us. Why else do you want me to reread all the mawkish posts from my past?
Facebook “Memories” are cool to an extent. It gives you the opportunity to share some bars of truth you posted in the past, memorable pictures you forgot you took and monumental events. But like every double edged sword, it pokes you with the awkward stuff.
Over the past week, I have consistently seen the most nauseating Facebook posts ever. And they are all from me, the “Facebook Gbe” who tries to be politically correct and not post personal stuff. The first of these posts was from back when I was 15. I was talking about love and some dream girl I apparently was head over heels for. The next day the memory was about me saying I was getting married and the next one said I had a baby. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.
Those posts have already given me a cue into fatherhood. I am going to have remote access to my children’s Facebook account just so I can save them the agony of looking back on their queasy posts. My pre-2015 posts speak of a teenager going through the motions and apparently in love. But the catch is, I am very certain I was in that relationship alone. I still cannot remember this girl who apparently was my wallpaper back in 2013 or the girl who used to make my hotline bling.
Deleting those posts seems like the natural thing to do. After all, I am the only who can view the posts and face the shame of my awkward posts. But I have decided to share some of them. I find the person I was a couple of years back quite an interesting character. It was around the time I was coming of age and grappling with this thing called feelings. Sadly, Telenovela was feeding me with what I was supposed to do and not do. It was telling me to catch a grenade for her and dance in the rain while I professed my love.
So keeping those posts and sharing some of them shows me how far I have come from thinking I was in love to realizing what I had was some mild form of malaria. But even when this malaria gets worse, I know better how to express it.
The funny thing is, I occasionally post clichéd stuff about love and feeling. Only thing is, these days I mask it intellectually. I convey it in non-rhyming poems. Maybe fifteen years from now when I sit on a couch with the wife and Facebook reminds me of what I posted 16 years ago, one of these poems will pop up. Times would have changed and the nausea would come rushing again as I read lines like “….someday after yawning and turning, I will kiss your forehead good morning…”.