a picture is worth a thousand words.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What do you do with the pictures of memories you want to forget?

That sounds incredibly girly and angsty and like something a 16-year-old would scrawl across a photo of a girl looking out a window (wearing a cute outfit, of course) with her hair hanging down blocking half her face and post on tumblr or weheartit or something.  But I'm actually serious.

When I moved back home, I managed to somehow misplace every single photo album and picture I'd had with me at college.  And I used to be a biiiiiig picture taker, so that means I lost 5 filled photo albums and about 4 massive envelopes stuffed with pictures.  It was almost 2000 prints, somehow hiding somewhere in my room.

I found them the other day, which was awesome since one was an album from my Europe days and a bunch from my last year of college.  But three of the envelopes are filled with roughly 800 photos from my first year of college.  And I know I'm always elusive about that time of my life, but really...it wasn't good.  Every day is a struggle to get past the residual issues, to understand and accept and learn from what happened.  But every day is also a terrible little dip back into a place I never want to go again.

Part of me wants to keep the pictures.  Store them away so that some day, in the hopes that eventually when I do see them again, I'll be able to look back, maybe smile at some of the good times (few as they were, they were there), and know that I'm finally, finally ok.  Part of me holds onto the fact that as painful as it all was, they are a part of my life, and it was documented for a reason.  That maybe I'll see the happy times in the photos and be able to focus simply on those, and not of what happened around these times.  Those photos used to represent what I thought was the best year of my life (until...), and I can't just forget that they used to be really treasured to me.

But at the same time...I don't really want to be reminded of it.  Everything is seared into my brain anyway, the memories will always be there to torment me ever so slightly.  I don't need the pictures to act as physical evidence.  Seeing me laughing, being group hugged by a group of boys in my dorm only makes me see the calm before the storm, only serves as a way to emphasize just how deeply they all disappointed and hurt me.  I can't see the pictures of me and the girls in our Halloween get-ups without seeing the terrible people they turned into.  The photos are one more way that year will haunt me.

One of the few photos from that time I still love. This kid never hurt me <3  And I swear I do not normally take photos like such an idiot, he goaded me into it!

Now I don't know what to do. I'm really bad at throwing away pictures, by the way.  I don't know what it is, but something about photos is really sentimental and sweet and special to me.  Even if sometimes they don't remind us of the greatest times, they still mean a lot to me.  I mean, seriously, when my house was evacuated for all the wildfires that ripped apart my beloved little suburb back in 2007, I directed my family to take 2 things from my room: the binder that holds all the letters my dad sent me when I was ages 2-4 and he was away on the ship, and the two boxes in my closet that held my elementary school journals and all the photos from my entire life.  Family, writing, and memories--that's my life.

So, do you toss photos?  Can you just let them go?  Do you believe in hanging onto them for the sake of it?


Stephany May 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM  

I find it easier for me to delete pictures off my camera or computer, than real, 4x6 prints. I have a problem with throwing away things that I may not love at this point in time, but then a few months later realize I miss that. (I realize this is very vague, lol!)

I would say no to the tossing and just putting them away for now. Who knows how you'll feel a year from now? You might want to keep them around.

Sarah Von June 1, 2010 at 1:49 PM  

I love that intro paragraph!

I just wanted to pop over and thank you for entering my Karma Cards giveaway on Juliana's blog. We've got a few sets left, you're still keen (cough, shameless self-promotion, cough) ;)

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I'm fairly obsessed with penguins, Peanuts (the comic), and the TV show Friends. Parentheses may or may not be (over)used in this blog, and books will pretty much be the only thing I ever talk about because they are my One True Love.


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