Thursday, December 11, 2014

An Old Photograph

Earlier this evening, I came across a photograph while scrolling mindlessly through Pinterest.

My first thought: Pin it. 

My immediate (but transitory) second thought: Do not.


Because I am a perfectionist. Because I am bothered by the fractured glass surrounded by filthy frame. Because the fan is off and the suit case has tumbled over. Because in my eyes, the plant may as well be dead.

But really...
Because I used to dream about it all the time. 
I notice the (familiar) muted sunlight. It seems to breathe life into a leaf that I only just deemed dead. The uneven, white stone; an unkempt, botanic quilt; the imagined breeze; a memory of travel... 

I realize what I already knew. That this photo, in its honest simplicity and gentle disorder, reminds me of myself. My old self, but myself nonetheless. 

I know that I have touched on this before. But I used to delete my social media accounts... I used to delete them all the time.

I remember the photograph above. 

I could never not remember it. 

I remember pinning it. I remember posting it on (one of my many) Tumblr accounts. I remember feeling dreamy and whimsical because of it.

And then I remember purposefully forgetting it. 

So when I come across it on Pinterest in my current state, I give myself a hard time. I am reminded of my old self. The small dreamer that was creative but confused. She would become overwhelmed and afraid, then proclaim herself "free" by giving up her phone, deleting her blog, and running away from her commitments... 
Click - delete. Sigh of relief.
She would deem herself somehow "above" the social medias she had once subscribed to, only to come crawling back, demanding (begging for) a new beginning.

She was persistently afraid and overwhelmed. The latter by all of the beautiful images she found online. The former of never being worthy of it all. Of never living a life deserving of taking a photograph within. 

I used to feel free when I was trapped: I was crippled by fear that my future self would never live up to my then-dreams. Today I am free and living my dreams. So why do I occasionally feel called to shun a photograph that I once delighted in? 

I employ my perfectionism. I find flaws in a photograph that I once loved (and still love!) in an attempt to avoid thinking about the girl that loved it too. A girl that didn't realize the beautiful life she had in store. Perhaps I do not want to be reminded of a time when I felt unworthy. 

But her memory is worthy of my thoughts, just as I am worthy of her growth (and her dreams that I am now living!). I will never be her again. But she will always become me. And I only limit myself (creatively and emotionally) each time I try and forget her - her musing and her struggles. For without my past, I am without my growth. And although she was broken, she made me whole. 

And so today, rather than pin or post this picture elsewhere, I share it here. And I pray that it will serve to remind me of a time when I would dream of freedom from fear. 

And that it will make me (so) thankful that I stand in confidence today. That I am living (or working towards) the dreams I once tried to delete. 

Have I lost you? Blame the shingles.



  1. Very powerful. Affected me deeply. Thank you.

    1. Michelle, thank YOU. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.