We've read about governments changing history retrospectively in Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, although of course they would NEVER do that in real life (ahem). But my mum has no such qualms.
She is the consummate re-inventor of history. The man I married who she thought was wonderful but turned out to be a bastard? 'I never liked him.' That business with the shoes - never happened. Homes we've lived in, arguments we've had, people we've known have been erased or altered, retro-fitted to fit her current world view. Former friends and neighbours have been vilified or deified in the best tradition of the tabloid press.
I like to rationalise things, to look at the past as though all that happened was for the best. She goes one step further and changes the facts to fit.
Dad tries to keep diaries, obsessively documenting dates and occurrences, but he has to be careful - mum also compulsively gets rid of anything that hasn't 'been useful' in the last 6 weeks (it's a wonder she keeps him - and God help me if I'm ever in a persistent vegetative state.) She threw all my old school stuff out while I was travelling. She calls it 'having a clear-out', I call it tampering with the evidence.
I've been trying to find the name of an artist I came across once who described her performance art using a page of text and with a single photograph:
- B&W photo of naked woman mid-air with text describing how she trampolined naked in a darkened room for two hours, instructing a photographer to come in once and take one photograph at random
- B&W photo of her surrounded by inflated plastic bags with text explaining how she collected every breath in plastic bags for 12 hours
It was all very arty farty but the point of it was that none of it was real - performance art only exists as it is documented. It's a bit like PR, but don't start me on that.
Flimsy things truth and history. Do you re-invent your history? do you embroider or omit parts of your past - and what, and why?
If you like the de-motivational poster, you may like to look at my earlier post on the subject.
(More on my mum's plans for world domination HERE.)