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How do you capture your memories? Do you take photos? Journal and write everything down? Rely on the memories of others’ and your own?

In my English class the other day, we had this long discussion on how we retain our memories, like specific things we really want to remember or random things that weren’t really important then but could be something fun to look back on. Personally, I used to take photos of everything: friends and family, the food I ate, the randomness of nature, the sky, my room, everything. However, my friend doesn’t take photos of anything, she lives in the moment; if she happens to remember it, she happens to remember it. 

Unfortunately, in June, I smashed my head going down the stairs (yes, I’m that kind of idiot) and have had a plethora of problems since. I cannot concentrate or focus, I randomly lose my complete memory (including who I am, where I’m at, and who I’m with), and I have a constant migraine. Because of this, I found myself doing a bit of both. Some days I take five billion photos and the next I take none. Either way, when I inevitably lose my memory again, I’m going to forget the event or the context behind the photos. Ultimately, I found, it doesn’t really matter. What I mean is that when I take photos, I get to see the event from a different point of view, especially when I’m sharing them with my family and friends, but when I don’t, I get to live and enjoy that moment without having to worry about how it will be perceived in a few snaps.

This raises an interesting question: why do we hold so tightly onto the past and photos? We’re eventually going to forget why we took them or what was said or happened before, during, and after that specific moment was captured. I think some of us fear the future and what will be lost and forgotten, especially if technology disappears. Others want to remember every detail of every moment. I think that others want to be able to show and prove to future generations that they meant something once. Honestly, personally, I used to fear the first, craved the second, and needed the third to prove that I was worth staying on Earth for. Now, I take photos when I can because when I do lose my memory I have those moments to jog it, or I can share them with my Mama and, eventually, my children. However, when I don’t take photos, I don’t fear that I will be forgotten. Both times, I live intentionally and with purpose and don’t fear what people will think and hope that they will want to be in my life if I come across as “cool enough”. So, I pose these two questions to you: Why do you take photos? What moments are worth keeping and sharing?

Kattiah Richardson is currently a student at Michigan State University double majoring in both English and Women's and Gender Studies with a minor in LGBTQ+ Studies with the hopes of becoming a professor in the future. She is a part of a ton of student organizations on campus: Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA), Pad the Mitten (PTM), Spartans Empower Body Acceptance (SEBA), Planned Parenthood's Legislative Action Team (LAT), and, of course, Her Campus MSU. She also attends Hillel's and The Center for Survivors' events! Aside from university-related activities, she loves activism, reading, writing, dancing, and (badly) singing!
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