Saying Goodbye

One of the hardest and final parts of doing my major purging is confronting my old photographs. I’ve been lugging around so much stuff for years. Why, in fact, did I insist on holding on? My inner voice says, “Look at your garbage before you throw it away, literally and figuratively.”

Your past doesn’t define who you are. I repeat: your past doesn’t define who you are today. It’s a component, a stepping stone but not the final result. We hang on to all of these physical, exterior things because in a sense, we are clinging to our identity. Who you are, is not what you own or what you did. You can own nothing, but the people who know you will truly know you no matter what you possess. They know what makes you tick, what you adore and all the little habits that make you uniquely you. They know your heart.

I can comfortably say I graduated from the school of hard knocks. I look through pictures of my childhood and young adulthood wondering how I survived certain things: trauma, physical and emotional abuse, toxic relationships, bad choices & risks. I count my blessings that I was never completely poverty stricken or deathly ill, but I’m just now getting over the repercussions at 32 years of age. It can take a long damn time to exorcise the weight that holds you down. I used to wake up in terror from nightmares of events that happened 20 years ago. Bless all the years of journaling, self-help books, friends, mentors, meditation, crying, yoga, the love of my children and my partner who has loved me enough to help me unpack all of my baggage. Fortunate are those who have someone who will love you enough to listen and help you sift through all of your shit so you can start over again. If you can make amends with your mistakes and forgive the mistakes of others, you are on that path to liberation.

My final decision is to keep a few key photographs from long ago that remind me of the good within the bad. I’m not keeping all of them. I’m not going to stay stuck and hold this weight any more. Even if it feels a little difficult, it’s for the best. Don’t be fooled by the comfort of having a tragic story, that’s not who you are NOW. My choice is to move on and say goodbye.


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