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I can’t remember my past

December 01, 2012

I forget
I was telling my friend the other day “I can’t remember my past at all. It’s only when I meet people from years ago that memories start coming back”.

“It’s a coping mechanism,” she said.

I thought what am I coping about? Was I once the head of a Mexican drug cartel? Was I married to OJ Simpson?

At school I wasn’t really interested in History; I thought what’s the point of the past? Surely it’s the future that’s important, we can make the future great, I can fantasize about the future, about becoming a pop star and marrying George Michael (this is when I thought he was straight). We can’t fantasize about the past. It’s already happened, nothing I do can have any affect on it.

Now I can’t seem to remember the past at all, it’s not that I’ve murdered my husband and tried to block it out. It’s not even that I’ve had a sordid past, and can’t remember my outrageous times of sex, drugs and rock and roll, I just don’t remember much at all good or bad. It’s just a blank. But I can remember the colour of my shoes on the first day of school when I was four. And I can remember calling one of teachers a witch when I was seven.

When I meet people I knew years and years ago, they’ll tell me some story that would not sound like me at all.  Someone I used to work with said to me the other day, “Do you remember when we went to Amsterdam and stayed in some man’s apartment who we’d only met once, that was miles away from Amsterdam and you left it in such a mess he reported you to the police? The plane journey home was really awkward between us”.

I could not remember this happening at all. I got worried. Did I have children that I couldn’t remember having? Or even a million pounds in the bank I’d forgotten to spend?

I know people who constantly talk about the past, live in the past, want their lives to be like how it used to be, and they never move forward. I have decided that maybe I have blocked out my past, as a way of moving forward fast and wanting to achieve things. Maybe in my past there are dark incidences and my mind is telling me, “It’s best you don’t remember them, you’ll feel very embarrassed, and very ashamed”.  This is about the only time I listen to the voices in my head. But I do fear I may have stalked some innocent boy when I was at college, and he’s also trying to forget his past.

So I’m coping very well with whatever I’m coping with. I can’t remember my past but I constantly dream about the future. I love dreaming crazy dreams and fantasizing about fantastical things that are out of this world.  I have a recurring dream that I’m on holiday with George Clooney in Italy, and that I’m in a re-make of Saturday Night fever with John Travolta. Disturbing.

Someone said to me the other day, “So are you going to carry on being a comedian then?”

I said, “the Rolling Stones are still going”.

“There’s a bit of difference between The Rolling Stones and Shazia Mirza. You’re deluded!”

That’s such a common phrase these days, “God, they’re deluded”.

But you have to be a bit deluded to achieve anything. People that have achieved extraordinary things, people like Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone, and Albert Einstein were all deluded at some point.

Sometimes imagination is more important than reality. Everyone should block out bits of their past if it means it will allow them to create something remarkable in the future. I’m sure if I’ve done something really atrocious in my past, the police, Immigration or The Inland Revenue would have contacted me by now. Or at the very least my mother would have found out, and reported me.


The author is an award winning stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed all over the world. A columnist for The Guardian UK, she was named Columnist of the Year at the prestigious PPA Awards. Find out more from her website.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.