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The dilemma of old photos

A post I originally wrote in Italy in early January, but it’s taken some time before I could post it…

Tonight seems to be lighting some lightbulbs…

Sometimes I have conversations which light so many sparks..

For days now I’ve been thinking I should get rid of some old photos I have on my laptop. I carry it everywhere with me, and I’m not really comfortable with people browsing through my photos with my old boyfriends.

That seems pretty normal, but it got me thinking about why the heck I kept the photos anyway. I’m talking about boyfriends from 6 years ago, even. There most certainly are not any feelings left. I have been known to be a hoarder, but in the past few years I’ve really gotten rid of a lot of crap that was lying around, both in my rooms and in my head. These photos have stuck. Tonight, rather quickly and without much fuss, I deleted a whole bunch.

I found one note I wrote  in 2008 in the week in which I broke up with a guy who was suspected of heavy drug use. I had noted down the dates on which I found out various things…Today he told me he did ecstasy and weed…Today was the drug test…Today I told him I’d leave him if he didn’t get help…Today he didn’t recognise my name…Today we stopped speaking… It reminds me of a docket I filled in at the police station when my digs was burgled.

I deleted almost everything. Why am I keeping that note? Why am I keeping a photo with him in which I look positively radiant?

To remind myself that we can be sincerely convinced of the wrong thing.

I thought he was off drugs for life. I thought we would love each other for ever. I thought I’d be back to visit him again. I was wrong, on all counts.

Then I found a photo from 2006, I’m 16 years old and positively pimply, full of Jesus and holy convictions. He’s beaming too. This time I was wrong and I knew it from the start. A three-week long relationship which ended by my hand because I knew “God does not want this”. In three weeks there was enough time for his hints at marriage, and my photos. I delete everything, except the photo which, four years ago, I captioned “luv!!!”

The 2004 file is frightening and I can’t open it right now. I just hover over all the folders. Yes, there are entire, separate, folders. I’m only 14, or 15 at most. Our first ever fotos 2geda. Trip to Ushaka. Anniversary!! Happy stuff. Sadness. Letters. Saved emails. Chat history.

My longest relationship and one of my biggest fuckups in all two decades of my life. Possibly also the most embarrassing…teenage luv is one of those things which will probably be brought up at my 21st and will make me turn pink with shame 😛

My first relationship was my longest, and has probably had the most long-lasting consequences. I have dealt with all the immediate issues – the pain, the resent, the lack of self-worth, and a lovely bundle of other crap that hits you when you break up after two years with a guy who, apart from God, was all that kept you from suicide. I keep forgetting he gave me a ring once, it’s still at the back of my cupboard, and every time I remember it’s there, I remind myself to go sell it. I could do with a microwave. When I’m back home I’ll go dig it out.

My own immaturity and my psychological problems compounded, so as to turn a boyfriend into a life-saver. And by turn then, a life-taker. If I’m not an atheist today it’s because I reckon it was God who kept me going through those years. I had nothing else, and losing that boyfriend was monumental.

Why, why still all these words? I have read some of these saved chat conversations before. Soon I think I will sit down and read them all. Why, when I know I will ruin the rest of my day and get bleak?

Because at the end, I will get up on my feet and know that I got through that. I’m still here, and it’s been nearly five years. I am changed; stronger and better. And two lives which seemed inseparable, are now unrecognisable together, and happily so.

Because the next time I get hurt, whether it’s a guy breaking my heart, or my car rolling into a pole, I know I will remember those days, when I was absolute shit. I got out of that. I can face anything.

Because we must remember the faces, the light in the eyes that I believed was lighting my only love, and we must know that we can play games with lights, that lights fade.

Because we must remember also the words, the words that bind and mislead, and never mean what we want them to, words we write on our hearts and behind our eyes, so we see the world through them. Bring those words to the surface, to the conscious, so we may not be beguiled again. So we may have the power of discernment. Frankly, to recognise bullshit for bullshit.

This is why.


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