Your brain quickly reassures you that yes, you could have been mistaking. Maybe Cup o’ Noodles has always been Cup Noodles, White Out has always been Wite Out, and Fruit Loops has always been Froot Loops. Maybe the Volvo logo has always had that weird arrow, and I don’t remember that curly q on the Ford logo either, but okay. Maybe. (If you’re unfamiliar with the Mandela Effect, see What is the Mandela Effect and why is it boggling my mind?) Although you might feel unsettled to learn that the way you’ve always seen something supposedly didn’t ever exist the way you remember it, you can and will likely brush it off as being due to your faulty memory.
Until you can’t anymore. When you crash into memories that are so strong and detailed that you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you’re right, it becomes impossible to accept that it has always been some other way.
Is Sex in the City your favorite show, and now you’re being told that it has actually always been Sex AND the City? Nope. That title doesn’t even make sense, and you’ve seen every episode, and you’ve had in depth conversations about the title, “Sex IN the City” when the show began, and you even wrote about it in your journal.
Maybe for you it’s the movie Risky Business with Tom Cruise. Did you own the VHS and watch it over and over again? You loved the dance scene with Tom Cruise in his underwear, white button down shirt, and Ray Bans sunglasses. You paused it at the dance scene to deconstruct Cruise’s outfit so you could accurately portray his character on Halloween. White shirt, sunglasses, underwear, socks. You dressed like this five Halloweens in a row. Now you’re supposed to believe that he never wore a white shirt and sunglasses and that it has actually been a pink shirt without sunglasses all along. Nope.
Was the movie Shazaam from the 90s starring Sinbad your all time favorite movie? You watched it so many times that you can quote it from start to finish. You also owned Kazaam with Shaquille O’Neill which came out a year later, and you pondered why they made a knock off of your favorite movie, Shazaam. Now that there is no record of Shazaam ever having existed, and Sinbad himself has no recollection of making such a movie, you are supposed to believe you must have misremembered. No.
For me, it was the Berenstein Bears. I remember wondering a year or so ago when they changed the name to BerenstAin Bears as I was watching an episode of the cartoon with my kids. I brushed it off as a rebranding effort maybe to achieve an easier spelling and pronunciation. When I was little, Berenstein Bear books were my favorite. I had a large collection which I would show to anyone who would let me, and I read them over and over again. I was obsessed. Also, when I was younger, I was a stickler for spelling and pronunciation. Berenstein Bears remained my favorite throughout my years learning how to read and write. I used to write about Berenstein Bears, and when I was new to writing, I remember first spelling it wrong, “BerenstIEn” and then consulting with the books to correct myself to “BerenstEIn.” Also, being such a proper pronunciation proponent at the time, whenever anyone would mispronounce it as, “BerenSTINE,” (with a long i sound), I would take out a book and show them it was spelled, “EIN,” and how that was actually said like “Beren-steen.” Yes, I was pretty obnoxious back then, but I didn’t want the name of my precious Berenstein Bears being mangled.
I would bet my life on the fact that these detailed and emotionally charged memories actually happened the way I remember them. This is why when I first saw the BerenstAin Bears, I assumed they must have changed the name, not that the BerenstEin Bears supposedly never existed. I was sure that when I took out my old copies of the books from the 80s, they would say “Berenstein” like I know they always did. But you already know the punchline: no, they now say, “BerenstAin.” Supposedly it has always been BerenstAin. Am I supposed to believe that those years of detailed memories of Berenstein were somehow false memories? Nope, sorry.
It seems particularly difficult to deny these memories when they are wrapped up in emotion. So many people remember the Tiananmen Square “Tank Man” being run over by the tank whereas now that supposedly never happened. Did they show you the video in school and discuss how this event enraged the people and marked the start of the massacre? People had an emotional reaction to the body being squashed by the tank and to the blood splattered on the road, and it’s difficult to forget those emotionally charged memories.
I do wish my beloved Berenstein Bears weren’t wrapped up in all this.
Do you have emotionally charged, particularly strong memories of any of the Mandela Effects? Which Mandela Effect was it that tipped you over the edge to accept that things are actually changing?