Playing football into the long summer nights, fighting with my sisters and splashing around in the bath with toys. These are all memories that makeup who I am today. 

My earliest memory is of me, aged 5, playing with a toy car in a school playground; another boy and I decided to put stones up our noses. I remember pushing mine too far, and the school nurse had to pull them out using tweezers.

I’ve often wondered why I can’t recall many clear, fully pictured memories in focus. Most of my childhood memories seem vague and only hint at places and events. And as the years go by, these fluid memories seem to fade even more.

There are some images that do remain sharp, toys, moments of happiness and sadness. I hope they stay with me forever.

I question whether my memories are real. Did I make them up, or were they implanted from stories told by my parents? I may have looked at family photographs and constructed memories around them or even appropriated memories from my sisters.

Does it matter if my memories are real or fake? The memory of my granddad sitting by the fire, smoking his pipe, the heat and crackle of the fire, and the smell of the smoke, memories like this still bring me happiness; those memories are worth clinging on to, real or not.

Getting together with family, talking about the years gone by, and recalling collective memories acts like a form of ‘Social glue’. I’ve never seen my sisters and parents come alive so much as when we talk about those events, emotions and experiences.

Some of those memories may be fake, constructed and adapted to suit our own narrative. Regardless, those memories are essential and at the core of our being. Even the fluid, faded shapes of a familiar place or person should be cherished and held tight.

I’m often transported back to those early years, trying hard to recall details, and while I do, I reconnect with the emotion, the smells and the feel of my childhood. 

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