- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Monday, 14 September 2015
The Way We Were by Holly Searle
Most nights before I drift off to sleep, my mind eases itself into this unconscious state of being by telling a itself a story or two.
As I lie there relaxed and waiting for sleep to arrive, these little stories will suddenly start to materialise in my consciousness. And as they swirl around manically, they appear to feature a series of interconnected vignettes that merge easily into each other, but that end-up as an unintelligible irrational set of thoughts, that make no sense whatsoever.
On the odd occasions that I have caught myself going through this sequence and have managed to examined the contents, I have wondered what the hell it is I am thinking about and why.
The conclusion I drew, was that it was better not to do this, as it disrupted the ebb and flow of what my mind was in the process of doing in order to enable it to sleep.
It had a purpose I concluded. And that purpose needed to be observed in order to unlock the door to its nightly sleeping chamber.
The mind is a funny space that houses all sorts of items covered in dust sheets and precious memories and artefacts that have been stored away from their relevance to our everyday present life.
Although they exist, we only access them when we are reminded by someone else of their existence. They are building blocks to our individual and precious history.
Major life events often flood our minds with clarity and uncover memories that we hadn't thought of in years.
As I head towards my birthday it is not uncommon for me to undertake a mental stock check. And as I have been thinking about the past a lot recently, it was only to be expected that the other night whilst drifting off to sleep, those swirling pieces all attempted to connect. And as they did, I stopped them and paused the process and started to think about a particular time in my own history and how it had connected me to the present.
As I lay there I imagined all of the pieces as they had occurred in the time frame like pieces of a puzzle. I then attempted to piece them together in some order. But this wasn't easy, as some of them wouldn't fit. Either the setting was incorrect, or the time I thought that it had occurred in was.
After a while I gave up trying to do this as it was proving too difficult. I needed a prompt, I concluded, to set me straight. But as it was just me and my interpretation of my histrionics, I had no one to rely upon for guidance but myself.
So I gave up.
But the one recurring element that was clear throughout these thoughts, were the people.
Family, friends and lovers.
The people were all there. At various times and settings (in whatever order they did or did not occur) they were all participants. And there were so many of them. I had recalled this particular period of my life as being quite uneventful and full of loneliness, but in retrospect, it was full of people and social situations that shaped my life and made me who I am today.
Some of these memories made me cry. I wished I hadn't allowed some of the people I had encountered to mistreat me the way that they had. And I also wished that I hadn't let go of some of the people I cared about so easily.
But, I hasten too add that I was a bit of an idiot at times. One that made some rash decisions that my youth seemed to allow me to do without the fear of consequence.
Then, as I lay there, the following question entered my head:Did I have any regrets?
And my answer to that question would have to be, that whilst I have no regrets, I wish that I had been more able to react in a more appropriate way. And I wish that I had possessed more foresight, and had not been duped by so many untrustworthy types.
That I had said no rather than yes. And yes rather than no.
And if I had the chance to do it all again.
No, I bloody well wouldn't.
You can remove that sentimentalised version of my past off the play list right now.
The truth is, I don’t even recognise that person any more (do any of us?)
I am happy being who I am today. How she got here, now seems irrelevant. More importantly, more than anything else, I am proud of my children and their children and of all I have been through with them and survive as a lone parent.
What an incredible journey it had been so far.
And whilst an array of memories may occasionally light the corners of my mind, I intend to keep making new ones for all of those pre-sleep moments still up ahead.