The heart will always remember first. As the days pass, it will become more sensitive than usual, with every word, image, and sound evoking emotion.
The soul will follow. It will grow heavy, all sighs and deep meditation. It will ask probing questions on weighty topics you thought you had rendered inconsequential.
The mind is the last to know. It is a muddled mess that will only find clarity in a random moment of déjà vu. Something about this right-hand turn – at this particular stoplight, at this time of evening, on a perfect summer night without a trace of humidity, with slow jams playing on the radio – will feel oddly familiar.
Then you will remember. The time you sat idly in this spot, waiting for a green light and hoping for divine intervention. As you recall what was happening in your life at that moment, it will all come rushing back: the painful emotions, the conflicted thoughts, and the desire to run from it all.
You will wonder if maybe you have your dates off. But as a writer, your own words will serve as your time machine. Worse than Facebook memories, they will transport you back to this day several years ago.
It is not one of those obvious dates that people typically recall with ease. No one died and no babies were born. It is not the date you walked across the stage during a commencement ceremony, nor the day two people close to you were joined together in holy matrimony. It is not the start date of a new job or the date you wrote on the contract for a new house or car.
Those are the dates that fit neatly onto resumes, credit reports, and autobiographies. But this moment is one reserved for diaries and journals. It carries the kind of angst and confusion not suitable for public consumption. It is a moment that you have convinced yourself does not fully belong to you, and therefore cannot easily be explained. It involves emotions you told yourself you did not have a right to feel and people you believe you do not have a right to miss. It involves decisions that you stand behind, yet somehow still regret. It is a mess that you cannot stuff into pretty packaging.
Yet if you have learned anything over the years, it is that life is not one shiny gift with a big red bow attached to it. Life is pieces of happiness and heartache, a mixture of confusion and clarity, and equal parts triumph and defeat. Together, they form confetti as beautiful as it is messy.
As you are faced with these trips down memory lane, your curious mind will drive itself crazy attempting to separate the pieces of confetti: good from bad, joy from pain, meaningless moment from life-changing occasion. What does it all mean? True to form, the heart will make its demands as the soul searches for answers. And experience tells you, the mind will be the last to know.
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.