So even after all this time, I find myself censoring my words as to not say anything that might be hurtful to other people who didn’t give me the same courtesy. With that in mind, here is what I really wanted to say:
So, Hi. My name is Jennifer and I’m a digital pack rat. I keep like every picture I’ve ever taken – like even the ones I took in burst mode and have 17 identical copies of the same blurry picture because I think that I’m going to find something magical hiding in them and I don’t want to miss it. Truth, there is not much magical in the side of the road.
Tonight, I did something very scary. I deleted pictures that I took when I was with Steve. The duplicates, the blurry ones, the ones of him sleeping with the cat, dog, Bailey, you get the point, the ones I took and meant to do something with from all those trips I took like 5 and 6 years ago in the semi that now just remind me of what is gone and kind of make me angry. All gone. I know that reading this might be causing you great panic, but take a deep breath – it’s ok. I checked with my friend Jenny first because I didn’t want to wake up 5 years from now and regret deleting all those pictures, so I checked with someone who had let go before as well.
The majority of the pictures I took were not only of different places, but of a different time and they don’t hold great memories anymore because they were all from when we first started dated and I thought I was going to love him forever and we were seeing the World together so that made each place special at the time but now, they are just taking up room on a memory card now and remind me of something that is over. They no longer hold the same nostalgic spell over me they once did because the spell has been long broken and to be honest, most of them were crap anyways. I kept copies of the pictures I really loved, my nephew as a baby, Jonas as a 4 year old trying on my frog slippers with a goofy grin, the Gulf of Mexico, my solo trip, my friends – I think you get the point.
But here’s the thing, the pictures are just one of the many of the things that I think we hold on to longer than we should “just in case” – “Just in case” he really had a brain tumor all this time and wakes up one day and isn’t an ass and I’m stupid enough to take him back. Which we all know, is NEVER going to happen. In my deleting I found a picture of myself from about 6/7 years ago, that at the time, I’m positive I hated it. But I looked at it today, with kinder eyes and actually thought I looked pretty. I think it’s really easy for us to get trapped in ideas, memories, they way things were, they would we would like them to be and forget to be here today. I’m not going to lie, those pictures have been taunting me forever – I should do something with them, clean them up and make them meaningful, but really, you can only put so much lipstick on a pig – I mean, how many different angles do you really want to see flat Oklahoma landscape from? Here’s a secret – although it was a little bit hard to look at them all as I sorted and deleted last night, I woke up this morning feeling lighter. It’s so funny how all this crap actually weighs you down. Each thing I get rid of or let go of, is freeing and each thing is no more of less significant than each other. Each step in letting go, is actually getting you back a piece of yourself.
So here’s you bi-weekly reminder, to live in the now, enjoy today and create meaningful moments and memories instead of just taking pictures of your life racing past your window at 70 miles an hour. Some of the best things happen in quiet moments, spontaneously and privately and there is no way to capture those in a picture. And for Pete’s sake, when there is a chance for a picture – take it, your kids will thank you when you’re gone –say nice things to yourself when you see your pictures – complement your hair, your smile, that shirt you really liked. See yourself the way others do – beautiful and fun and smart and capable and worth loving.