A Disturbing Reality of My Mind.



I started singing here and there when I was four.  I know for sure that I did my first solo when I was five years old.  I sang “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”  To answer the lingering question that leaves, I didn’t have my two front teeth and it was Christmas time. I have memories of trying to memorize the lyrics and I also remember finding it terribly hard, because I was learning them from a notecard, and not from music or a tape. It was not the easiest way to learn. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough experience to tell anybody that I couldn’t possibly just learn the lyrics and then the music because they were going to be eternally separate in my mind.  Even years later, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around getting the music and the lyrics together.

I am a wealth of lyrics though. I know lyrics to things I don’t want to know the lyrics to and wish desperately that I could purge. “Ice Ice Baby”? Yep. Got it.  “Paradise By the Dashboard Lights”? Yep…that too. I have whole cds in my head. I’m pretty sure that this is taking up valuable space. I’m also about to decide that the whole of my vocabulary came from song lyrics. (Don’t find that too disturbing. I listen to a lot of Barenaked Ladies. I still admire them for fitting “posthumous” in a pop song.) I even have alternate lyrics in my head (Pardon me boys, is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?, There’s a bathroom on the right, Let’s go shopping… yeah…in drag (Cold Shot by Stevie Ray), I’m tore down..I’m almost living with a girl (Tore Down by Stevie Ray), and countless songs where “you” is replaced with “sheep” (Ewe…you…sheep…  get it? Thanks for that, Eric.)  Anyway…rambling.

I went to the see the Chattanooga Symphony and choir do Carmina Burana by Carl Orff…which..if you don’t know…you should really check out. Be sure and look up the translated lyrics because you’ll generally appreciate it more, and then giggle.  I realized, though, while I was watching them that I don’t remember performing much.  Not that I haven’t performed much, because I have. I just don’t remember it. In fact, there’s a distinct not-remembering there.  I remember performances where I couldn’t remember a single lyric and just made up words. I remember performances where I wasn’t “in”, I guess I’m saying. I remember lots of rehearsals, but it’s almost like I wasn’t there for my own shows.

I’m wondering now if this is common. Do a lot of people get up in front of a crowd to do things, and then later realize that they have no memory of the actual event? I know that I enjoy singing in front of people, but now that I know that I have no memory of it unless I forget something, how do I know I enjoy it?  I have this problem with other things too.  I gave a presentation a few weeks ago, and I could not tell you one word that I said. I’m really interested to see if anybody else has a take on this, or if anybody else does it, so feel free to comment if you have something to add!


2 responses »

  1. I have the same problem…but not with performances…The choir performances that I was a part of in high school stand out more than most of the rest of the stuff that happened back then. There are certain things that stand out in my mind more than others, and I think that is because of the emotions attached to those memories. Sense memories and memories with strong emotion tied to them, will always stand out more.
    As for remembering lyrics the way you do, you associate lyrics with a trial from your childhood therefore, they stick, whereas things like presentations, may not because of the release of the stress after they are done.
    Does any of that make sense? It is time for bed. I shouldn’t be trying to respond to questions of this nature when I am tired and on the verge of a migraine, but your question intrigued me, and set off memories. 🙂 Have a good night.

  2. I have several periods of my life which are completely blank to me, sans the general mood of the occasion. It is one of the mind’s many abilities that has always intrigued me. While it can be a very useful self-preservation tool, it can be frustrating when it does it with something that you love.

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