As a child I was always told that I had the memory of an elephant because I could remember anything, and for a long time I agreed with that statement as I did remember everything that happened. But recently I’ve come to renounce that trait of having a memory of an elephant and I’ll tell you why. One of the characteristics of an elephants memory that is used against them to this day is they not only remember everything that happened, they also remember the emotion, experience, and circumstances associated with their memories.
Take for example the elephant’s that are domesticated. From a very young age they are tied to a stake in the ground that they cannot escape from no matter how hard they try. This conditioning is repeated over and over again so that once the elephant is massive and not only has the power to snap the stake in pieces but trample over their masters who have domesticated them, they don’t do it. They don’t do it because they remember every detail of what happened to them when they previously tried to escape from that stake and the memory of their previous defeats become more powerful than their current power and future potential.
I never realized that I’ve been like that in so many areas of my life until recently. Anyone that has known me, I mean really known me from the age of 12 and up knows that I’ve struggled with my weight and body image, and up until recently I didn’t realize how much some of the negative things that were said to me as a child that I thought I’d already dealt with had still been like the stake in the ground of a fully grown elephant.
Anyone that’s known me, I mean really known me since 1996 when I came to Connecticut for school know that I struggle with my potential musically as some of the things that have been said and done (between people trying to verbally and mentally beat my dream out of me along with so called “famous” jazz musicians that have purposefully sabotaged some great opportunities for me) have still stuck to me this day. And anyone from the Hartt/Hartford Jazz scene that is aware of even a hint of what I’m saying know all too well how true this is. I came here with a dream to be the best musician that I can be and after I graduated from school I gave up for almost 2 years of playing because like the elephants stake in the ground, the comments and actions have had me believing that it’s not possible for me to succeed unless I fit the mold and do exactly what someone else says I should do and be. Thank God I don’t believe that anymore and that I’m working on becoming the best me that I can be!
So while I’m blessed and happy to have a great memory I also know that if you don’t resolve the emotional/psychological damage that some of these memories can have on you, you will be like the elephant that is big, strong, and powerful enough to break free and march into freedom but consistently held captive by memories of defeat that cloud your present and place your future in the hands of anyone else except yourself. I choose to be transparent and use my life as an example of many of these post because I hope that they help someone who may be going through what I’ve been through and (in some cases) and learning to deal with today get out of the dark places that they’re in and into something better.
Sometimes it’s very helpful to know that there’s someone out there that understands a little bit of what you’re going through or been through and that’s coming out or has already come out of it so that you can see for yourself that it is possible for you to do the same as well.