I’ve all but forgotten about my anniversary. This memory-maker was neither of a person nor of a place, but with a thing. When “three years ago on this day” popped up on social media, a promotional ad I had created for it, I was prompted to remember the soon-to-be anniversary.
This time, it wasn’t about the big memory itself, the release date of my memoir, but the micro-memories—anxiety, nerves, percolating fear, and the revelations about myself—as a by-product of the anniversary memory.
You’d think I couldn’t forget the date my book was published, but I have. June 19, 2018 was the book’s release date and now, three years later, I am prone to waiver when asked about the exact day. Maybe it was the seventeenth? The nineteenth? I’m getting it confused with my late-father’s birthday.
Memories are a funny thing. The big ones can trick you, deceiving you into thinking that just because they are a milestone—birthday, graduation, wedding, for example—you couldn’t possibly forget it when in fact, you can and probably have at one time or another. Or maybe some of your memories swindle you into requiring a prompt, like a clue, to bring your memory back to life.
The social media posting was a trigger to my memories during the eighteen months prior to the book’s release when I huffed and puffed air into a balloon of pre-publication work of marketing and promotion. I was anxious to create awareness, to ask for followers, to chat with influencers, all in the name of buzz for the book. I feared leaving my comfort zone would fuel my insecurities where I found security through writing.
Yet despite the emotional impact, I smiled as I remembered the little things—running around my hometown with scotch tape and copies of “coming June 18”and posting the flyer to any bulletin board that would allow me. Or how about the one where I scoured every drawer of my house, collecting black felt-tip pens for book-signings, satisfied I had a healthy fistful as if I couldn’t do the job with just one pen. And then pride, when I saw the theme of my story captured in a poster-sized photo of the book’s cover. And then satisfaction that I was solidifying my brand by grabbing for anything and everything that had to do with trees, especially birch trees. But I just couldn’t overcome my birch desires enough to buy a gathered skirt, patterned in birch trees from hem to waistline with a small red fox making its way in the snow along the hem.
I realized a most innocuous memory, a social media post in my case, can be a first domino, eliciting a stream of mini memories, of flashbacks to a time when once an anniversary date was all but forgotten.
And I am forever thankful for not only the big memories, but the little ones, too.