On Being Remembered

My desire to be remembered is equally rooted in narcissism and insecurity. Both of which are most definitely based in fear. This would all be more concerning if wanting to be remembered weren’t the most human of all human things.

Show me someone who genuinely thinks, “Nope, not me. I’d prefer for everyone to forget me entirely, thanks.” And I will be like, “Great for you, sir or madam. Cool that you are secure enough in your present existence to not be crippled by the fear of whether or not you matter in the context of time and space. Because in truth, we probably don’t matter. But it’s not a dark and empty kind of insignificance. It’s more of a “single star in a night sky” kind of unremarkableness. (Are you there, Mufasa? It’s me, Mia.) Anyway, good on you for making peace with being forgotten because it leaves more room in people’s hypothetical memory for meeeeee!”

This need to be seen and heard in spaces where I am not physically present is not new for me. There are two things I did as a kid that were an overt physical manifestation of this need: 1) burying a time-caspuled letter in my first childhood home and 2) sending a message in a bottle down the river by second childhood home. Tiny Baby Mia, you romantic little psycho.

My dad was responsible for the time capsule. He needed to fill a big-ish hole in our basement after doing some repairs and decided to seal a time capsule in the hole.

The contents of the time capsule included a state quarter (because this was during that time when those were a huge deal (something something capitalism)), I think a family photo (in case whoever found the box wanted to know the faces of the people who thought state quarters would stay relevant), and a letter I wrote of which I can only remember one line: “Please don’t tear down our house.”

time capsule letter
Likely contents of the rest of the letter

What sort of Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery-adventure movie did I think I lived in? 8-year-old Mia was so addicted to the drama, she apparently created a hypothetical scenario in which some real estate billionaire or oil baron decided to claim stake in all the duplexes of suburban Wisconsin, probably with the intention to demolish and replace them with mini-malls or something else villain-y. All was going to plan UNTIL one of the villain’s cronies did a quick sweep of one particular, Mercado-owned duplex for any mysterious time capsules sealed into walls (obviously) and discovered a handwritten note that essentially read “um but like how about u don’t.” And the house was saved and the town rejoiced and 8-year-old me got to hold hands with Jonathan Taylor Thomas forever.

It seems I made a habit of putting dramatic notes inside of things from ’98-’99 because a year later, I decided to write a message, put it in a bottle, and send it on its way.

I used an empty bottle of key lime juice, and I sent it down the Milwaukee River. There’s a metaphor in there probably. You can do the work.

So, a funny thing about life is that sometimes things come back to you when you least expect them to. (Ahem.)

Five years later, the boy whose locker was directly next to mine in high school decided to talk to me for the first time in two years.

“Your name’s Mia, right?” he asked genuinely, despite having seen me between classes every single day for two full school years, but it’s whatever I guess, Dennis. “I think I found your message in a bottle.”

The coincidence of a message in a bottle I sent down a river at age 10 somehow returning back to me at age 15 after being found by the boy whose locker was directly next to mine is perfect and absurd and sounds like the plot of the next Nicholas Sparks book, which will inevitably get turned into a movie and get poor reviews specifically regarding the story’s lack of believability and/or cancer sub-plots.

There are a lot of unanswered questions here. The first of which is why Locker Boy kept the message in a bottle instead of giving it back to me. I’m guessing it’s because what I wrote was articulate and revolutionary and definitely not just — oh I don’t know — my full name, my age, what I looked like, my address (LISTEN, I KNOW), and most likely my entire life story. 10-year-old Mia wanted to be remembered, dammit. And if it had to be posthumously because she essentially sent a message to the greater Milwaukee area that said “hey, come get me, murderers!” so be it.

I recognize the self-serving irony in writing a post about being remembered using stories about myself on a blog that has my name as the URL. (Maybe it’s more just overtly ridiculous than ironic? (Are you there, Alanis? It’s me, Mia.))

I guess that shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering all of these things I’ve intentionally put in places hoping to be found. I’ve consistently been inserting myself into a hypothetical future, figuratively and literally writing my name on a piece of paper and telling Time to hold my spot. But enough about the plot of Interstellar.

Maybe this post will return to me at the bed of some metaphoric river or perhaps one day I’ll cement it into the pages of a book. (Haha jk how do you RT and Fav a book? What a dumb medium.)

Or maybe we’ll all forget this post even happened. That seems fitting in the long term.

(If you agree, like and share and leave a comment with #Mia4Never and schedule this to reblog again in a year and then like and share and comment again then, too!!!)

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