Congratulations! Today, you get to learn the difference between memory and recall. There is an important difference, and understanding that difference will make you a better ally to the disabled community and also more understanding of your own brain!
What is memory?
Memory is the information your brain has stored for later. Let's make an analogy: your memory can be compared to files stored on a computer. Your brain is extremely complex and has a deep, layered filing system.
When your roommate's friend visits and introduces herself, you put her name in one of the many name folders. Our brains are complex enough that we can assume there are thousands of those folders, each for a different type of name and how you know it: friend names, immediate family names, extended family names, classmate names, coworker names, celebrity names, and so on and so forth, forever.
What is recall?
Recall is not whether you have something stored, but whether you can find it. Like that photo of you at summer camp in sixth grade that's stored somewhere on your computer, the information you learn throughout daily life is sorted somewhere into your brain's filing system. The longer ago that you put the information into the system, the harder it is to find, unless you frequently visit those files.
For the average instance of recall, people generally use the equivalent of the search bar of their brain's filing system. The information is sorted precisely so it's, naturally, recalled in the blink of an eye.
However, you may have had moments of recall issues. Everyone does here and there. The sensation of a word being on the tip of your tongue is a common example of issues with recall. You know the word, but it's just not coming up when you search for it.
In instances like these, you end up kind of manually rooting around in your brain's folders, desperately looking for associated folders that it might have been mis-stored in. You're trying to think of a vegetable you know of, so you start listing off other vegetables to yourself, as if sifting through the vegetable folder.
Sometimes, this association game can bring forth the missing file - or in this case, vegetable name. In other cases, you simply have to let it go and wait for it to come to you later. That might mean you smacking your forehead 48 hours later when you're in the middle of driving to work and the name of that vegetable suddenly throws itself right in the middle of your internal monologue.
Recall and disability
So, what does this have to do with disability? Well, the average person may have occasional recall issues, but for many disabled people, these issues are extremely prevalent. For neurodivergent folks or those with brain fog, we can end up having trouble recalling things many times in a day. It is extremely frustrating and can even be embarrassing in social situations.
For example, your roommate's friend, who you've hung out with on multiple occasions and heard numerous stories about might drop by six months later and you might stand there trying to avoid talking while you scramble desperately through your name files trying to recall her name when you know it's in there somewhere. It's a real life reproduction of that scene in SpongeBob where he only knows how to be a waiter. By the time she addresses you, it's too little too late and you have to admit that for some reason her name is evading you. It's humiliating.
Be understanding of recall issues
These issues have little to do with how important something is to a person. If you know someone who's disabled and they have frequent issues recalling words or names, it's just because the search function in their brain sometimes breaks down and they have to rely on manually digging through the billions of memories they have to try and find what they're looking for.
If you know someone with this issue who is comfortable with it, try filling in the gaps for them! It can be a fun bonding experience, especially between two people with recall issues, to immediately offer a word that seems to fit the flow of the sentence as soon as the other starts to draw a blank. The better you know them, the easier it is.
If you know someone with recall issues, be patient when they use you as a living thesaurus. You're saving them countless hours of googling or agonizing over what that word was - you know, the one that's like willingly suffering for an extended period of time about something that may or may not matter? (I just had issues recalling 'agonizing' 😔)
Anyway, that's all for today! I hope you've all learned something new about recall and how it affects people with disabilities differently/more frequently than the average person
1K notes · View notes
You see the first thing we love is a scene. For love at first sight requires the very sign of its suddenness; and of all things, it is the scene which seems to be seen best for the first time: a curtain parts and what had not yet ever been seen is devoured by the eyes: the scene consecrates the object I am going to love. The context is the constellation of elements, harmoniously arranged that encompass the experience of the amorous subject...
Love at first sight is always spoken in the past tense. The scene is perfectly adapted to this temporal phenomenon: distinct, abrupt, framed, it is already a memory (the nature of a photograph is not to represent but to memorialize)... this scene has all the magnificence of an accident: I cannot get over having had this good fortune: to meet what matches my desire.
The gesture of the amorous embrace seems to fulfill, for a time, the subject's dream of total union with the loved being: The longing for consummation with the other... In this moment, everything is suspended: time, law, prohibition: nothing is exhausted, nothing is wanted: all desires are abolished, for they seem definitively fulfilled... A moment of affirmation; for a certain time, though a finite one, a deranged interval, something has been successful: I have been fulfilled (all my desires abolished by the plenitude of their satisfaction).
Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse: Fragments
2K notes · View notes