I was posting an Instagram story for a friend and found myself scrolling through old pictures. Without even noticing I found myself led to a very long trip down memory lane… 16 years of memories of our life together.
If anyone saw them, they would probably swear that we were one of the happiest and most fun couple ever existed… kissing, partying, barbequing, dancing, camping, different cities and groups of people, hosting gathering…
But pictures don’t show the bad times. They do not show the fighting, the crying, the longing, the ugliness, the pain behind them… the memory that led to that exact moment in time… pictures do not show abuse nor the enabling of abuse.
Picture of babies being born, not how miserable the delivery was… pictures of weddings, not of divorce… pictures of honeymoons and birthdays and showers, not of deaths… pictures of laughter, not of distress… these are the pictures most people choose to put in their photo album, to post to their social media, to place in a frame in their living room.
Although pictures of the world’s sufferings could be one of the most mind blowing captures of all time, where many have actually ended wars and famine. Most often than not; they are nothing but a false reality of a chosen instant… although he always used to mock my photography for being melancholic and sad…
As kids they teach us to say cheese when a picture is taken so that we look happy. Photographers learn tricks to make their clients smile naturally like saying yoga or mocha. Families want to remember their happy moments and make videos and still shots of them to log.
Of course there were fun moments, happy even. But in my life, it was not a fair equation; it was not proportionate to the severity and damaging moments, which he never found it in him to even try to equal it out.
I used to look at these pictures with so much pain and tears and regret. I used to remember the pain behind the scenes and leave out the good. I used to carry so much agony and anger when they’d pop up. Because, my equation was never evened out, my pain was never proportional to the making up for it.
“We can’t act to change things until we recognize them as they really are.” Sheri Van Dijk, MSW
Nevertheless, I do now accept my reality, for without it I would not have had so much insight about my world. In acknowledging and accepting my reality, I now look at those pictures and memories with less anger, with less resentment, with less eagerness to make it look better or worse than it actually was. In acknowledging and accepting my sufferings, all these painful memories behind these still shots have started to lose their power over me. I am acknowledging and accepting, because I no longer want to fall in the rabbit hole of drama every time I go through our pictures and our memories. It does not mean that the pain has gone, however, the anguish I used to embed myself in looking at them, has weakened out.
For my own survival I am still opting not to forgive, and opting not to forget… so I do not repeat history or fall in the same traps, but I am owning my reality. I am owning it with no shame nor embarrassment anymore.
I, for once, went through our pictures together with nostalgia and wisdom of how far along I have come.