Memory is the Diary We All Carry About with Us

June 28, 2012

in Guests, Relationships

Guest Writer

Today’s guest writer is Nicole DeFelice. She is a talented writer and professional editor. Her articles about editing in the Studio30 Plus Community Blog are always popular. Nicole’s writing on her own blog, Disturb the Universe, is a unique collection of stories about philosophy and life. But what I like most about this multi-talented woman is that I can call her friend. She is someone I have enjoyed getting to know through her writing, comments on my blog, and our interactions at S30P. The people you befriend in the process of running a blog is one of the greatest benefits. Nicole is a perfect example.

After reading this guest post, please visit Nicole’s blog, friend her on Studio30 Plus, and follow her on Twitter.


“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.” ― Oscar Wilde

Cleaning out closets very often leads to digging out old memories long-forgotten or intentionally buried. I finally had to take the last of my stuff out of my mother’s basement. It had been sitting down there for almost three years, since I temporarily moved back in with my family after I split from my ex-husband. Now that I had my own closets, mom wanted my crap to clutter them instead of her basement. I’d taken up precious storage space long enough.

My boyfriend moved into my apartment in December 2011, and we just celebrated our first anniversary last month. He is the greatest love of my life, and our relationship is unlike any in my past. I don’t recall a time I was ever this happy, this loved, and this willing to love.

Not even when I got married.

I sat on the floor, with a pile of boxes on one side, and an industrial strength garbage bag on the other, systematically going through all the junk and either setting it aside to keep, or tossing it into the garbage bag. I sifted through all kinds of things—figurines, novelty items, and an abundance of photographs.

I laughed at the pictures of me, my best friend, and our boyfriends at Junior Prom. I smiled at pictures of my friends and I being silly down the shore (yeah, I’m from Jersey!), recalling the house we’d rented, and how it rained the entire time, so we had to make our own fun. I had on pajama pants with frogs on them. I loved those pants.

I smiled and felt a wistful tug at my heart as I flipped through the pictures of my first real love. I was painfully, devastatingly in love with him—with his looks, with his rock-star drummer hobby, with the feeling of being in love with him.

And then I came across the thank yous that my best friend and maid of honor had made me for my bridal shower. And some photographs of my ex-husband.

I didn’t feel anything. I still admired the thank yous that my BFF/MOH had made, because they were beautiful and I remembered how grateful I was to her for all the love and effort she put into my special day. I was able to recall the excitement and amazement I felt when I saw all her gorgeous, crafty contributions.

But him. And the wedding day. Those pictures didn’t evoke… anything. Not even resentment, or anger or anything. Just… nothing. I remember my wedding day. I remember that it was a great party. I remember having fun dancing with my family and friends. The weather was shit, but my hair held up. I felt pretty. Everyone looked awesome. Every detail was exactly as it should’ve been, exactly as I wanted it.

But I don’t remember love. I don’t remember any sense of romance. I can’t look back and recall any feeling of butterflies. My boyfriend can come up behind me while I’m washing dishes and give me a kiss, and I get butterflies.

They were dead on my wedding day.

I have thought about why, and it is not until I wrote this down that something occurred to me. All of the other memories were of real things. Moments with my friends as a teen. My first real love for John. I can still conjure up, very vividly the first time he kissed me (it’s been 13 years), or what certain music meant to us. I listen to it now, and we are suddenly lying in his bed, in the dark, whispering the lyrics to one another. And I can think about the first time I walked toward my boyfriend on a street corner in New York, and still feel the butterflies slamming around in my belly. The feeling that my heart would burst when he told a few months later me he loves me. All of those memories are based in something true.

I can’t remember how I felt on my wedding day because it wasn’t really what I felt. It was what I wanted to feel. What I thought I was supposed to feel. We’d had our struggles, but I was confident in what we could’ve become. I trusted that it was what I wanted. I’d worked so hard at making this relationship better (we were in therapy), and everyone said relationships and marriage are hard work, but I was doing the right thing. I was working hard. I believed I loved him, I believed we were ready to get married. I believed in us.

I just happened to be wrong.


David June 28, 2012 at 10:56 am

Thanks for sharing this piece. Your insights and heart are of value to me. My own butterflies are dead too but ever so nicely preserved in some pretty museum display cases. They can be viewed at anytime at no cost during normal business hours and come with a free postcard. Enjoy the day. ~ The BOOT
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Charlotte June 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Awwww, Nicole… how I remember so vividly the memories you describe here. And you know… I’ve had the pleasure of meeting your current bf and I know that what’s there… that’s REAL. It sucks that sometimes we have to go through the pain of separation (and in your case a divorce) to know the real thing when it comes along, but it does make us appreciate it all the more.

Those butterflies are the greatest. How sweet that they visit you still after a year together. THAT is a beautiful thing :)

Love this post. For many, many different reasons. XOXO
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Nicole June 28, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Thank you, my dear. I think more than anything I am grateful that there is no pain of separation anymore. It just… is. And that’s kinda weird. But definitely the better option!

Love YOU for many different reasons! ;-) xoxox
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judy June 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hit the nail on the head. Great post.

Eric June 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

That’s exactly how I felt on my first wedding day – dead inside. Why I hung on for seven years is still something I’m trying to figure out.
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Nicole June 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I stopped trying to figure it out and chalked it up to “oops.” It’s much more liberating. :-)
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Aimee June 28, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I didn’t know it before. Not until I read this. How I knew it was real. How could I know that at 16 years old? How did my husband? In protest of my “teen marriage” someone asked me that question. Way back then. On the phone one night. He asked, “How do you know you’re in love with him? What does that mean to you?” I didn’t know how to answer him. I felt like an idiot as I sat there on the phone with him with tears running down my face. I had no idea how to answer that question. But I do now. Right now, when I read this. I knew that I loved him because it was real. And I didn’t know that then because I’d never had my heart broken. I’d never thought I was in love, and then been wrong. I was 16 when I met my husband. I didn’t have enough time on this planet to experience wrongness. Such an important experience to have. I see that now. You have to be wrong to know what right is. He still gives me butterflies. Eighteen years later. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s normal for passion to wane. You stoke that fire, and it will stay lit as long as you want it to.

Aimee June 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

This was yet another brilliant piece by a brilliant writer, by the way. Got too caught up in myself that I forgot to say that. I’d been planning it all day, to tell you that when I read the very first thing you posted on Disturb The Universe, I thought, “There is no way I’m going to keep up with this girl. She’s brilliant!” I’ve certainly tried. Your thoughts and observations and the way you deliver them keep me on my toes constantly. And with every single thing of yours I have read, I find myself nodding the entire time, thinking “Yes! Exactly! Me too!” Brilliant. Keep it up. Ok. Now I’m going to finally get out of your comments section. Promise ;-)
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Nicole June 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

You’re so sweet. And I have to tell you, I feel the very same way about your writing. I adore your posts. Even your comments. They’re like beautiful little mini-blogs. The first comment about you and your husband… brilliant and so honest. And amazing. Your marriage is so rare and you should be so proud of it.

Yup, that’s right. Davis and DeFelice… keepin’ it real. HAHAHA. ;-)
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Tracy June 29, 2012 at 9:49 am

I love this post, I’m a sucker for nostalgia and looking back in order to learn and move forward. Although I must admit to sometimes wallowing in memories a little.

I’m glad there’s no longer pain and that you’re happy. The common notion that marriage is supposed to be hard work is a big pet peeve of mine. My marriage is not and has never been perfect, and my husband can piss me off like you wouldn’t believe, but it is just not hard to be with him, to love him, or even to live with him. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think if a relationship is so difficult that it feels like work, you are not with the right person. OK, I’ll duck now!

Nicole June 29, 2012 at 11:02 am

Thanks, Tracy. I definitely agree, seeing the difference between all my past relationships and the one I’m in now. It’s NOT hard. Even the disagreements and obstacles are not hard. They might be hard issues to solve, but it’s not hard for us to solve them. I think the use of the word “work” needs to be clarified. What can become hard work is not falling into routines, not drifting apart, not taking each other for granted.
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Hey Monkey Butt June 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I too know exactly how this feels. I’m jealous that you’ve found it for real this time and saddened at the reminder of memories like these. Love the post! :)
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Alex July 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Lovely, lovely piece. Memory is a funny thing in how it can stir up long-forgotten feelings from times passed.

I believe we all come to this point, several times throughout life. How often must one “clean their closets?” Lots. =)

There’s a little wooden artifact I have from an ex, that she found on her trip to Bhutan and gave to me. I have a look at it from time to time and remember things and places, her face and how I felt. These things don’t make me long for her; but I do smile when I think about them.

Again, lovely piece. Thanks for sharing.
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