Taking Pictures Down
Well, damn. I suppose if I’m writing about it, it’s a big deal, right?
I mean, they’re just pictures of my ex and I back when we were together. They’d been lying in my profile pics album, pushed way to the back, beyond all the Obama pics I used to post when he was seeking election. They were getting old and not about to go back to profile pic status anytime soon, so I took them down. No big deal, right?
No big deal. But maybe, a move worth thinking (and thus writing) about.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, taking a picture down is worth a few hundred more. For a couple of years I kept those pictures of us in my profile pic album without a second thought. They were just there.
When it became this thing is when other women I dated in the months and years after asked me a question or two about them. Questions like, “Why are they still up?” And I always thought it a silly question, one of those questions that forced me to think about something I wasn’t thinking about. Then the woman would theorize I kept the pictures up because I still wasn’t quite over my ex, and again I thought it to be nonsense. Even if I were to take down the pictures, what would it mean to the woman asking me about them? As far as I was concerned, the only reason I would take them down is because this girl who I was just dating, not even in a relationship with, was asking me to do so. Go ahead and color me stubborn, but I couldn’t cater to such a trivial need. If a couple of pictures with a girl I dated a couple of years ago was a real issue, I knew the girl wasn’t for me.
But then I thought about pictures I saw in my past. I thought about the girl who I was dating years ago, who at the time had a couple of pictures with her most recent ex sprinkled throughout her apartment. She asked me in the early stages if I had a problem with the pictures and if I wanted her to take them down. I told her I would much rather her take them down when she feels she’s ready. We continued dating for a couple of weeks before I went home for the holidays for three weeks. During that time, we stayed in touch, talked everyday, grew closer. So close, by the time I came back from my holiday trip, I noticed the pictures with her ex were all taken down. Months later, the new pictures she put up were of me and her.
I also remember the pictures of my former family, the one with my sister, my mom, my Pop, and I. When I left for school, and in my visits home for a couple years after, those were the pictures I always saw, even though we all weren’t together anymore; even though for years it had been, just my mom, my sister and I. Then, my mom met the man she would eventually marry, but before they did, he moved into our house. And together, they made it their home. My room became his office. My sister got her own place and her room became a guest room. It’s now to the point where the house I see when I go home, looks nothing like the house I grew up in. But the most palpable change I notice is the pictures of my former family are gone, replaced by new pictures of my mother happily married, my sister’s own family and me, just chilling in a cap and gown I earned when I graduated from college. I loved the old pictures of my former family, but I must say, the pictures of my new family in our new lives are pictures I wouldn’t want to replace with anything else in the world.
When I took down the pictures of my ex and I, I thought about these times; the times when pictures were subliminal statements about something deeper going on. I still believe I was over my ex long before I made the decision to take pictures of us down, and I can’t help but feel there may have been something in my inaction to do so after all these years. But if I could never figure out why I kept those pictures up, I certainly know why I took the pictures down…because the woman in those pictures now has a new family and she’s with a new man, and if she didn’t even recognize who the girl was in those pictures with me, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. Everything’s different to the point where the pictures no longer add up to the reality that exists right now, and that’s not just true for her, that’s true for me as well.
When I looked closely at the pictures I took down, I wasn’t even looking at my ex-girlfriend. I was looking at myself. And no, it wasn’t narcissism. I was trying to figure out who I was back then compared to who I am now. I thought about it, looked at the pics for a few more seconds, and with ease, let those pictures go. For so long I kept them up and everyone thought I would take them down when I was over the girl who is in them, but as it turns out, I took them down because I’m over the guy who is in them.
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