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Editing My Past

So, I’m going through the pictures on my computer today.  Kyle’s been riding my ass for weeks to organize my pictures so he can back them up, and I’ve been dragging my feet hardcore.  So today I finally sat down with a week’s worth of DVRed What Not to Wears and plowed through them.

I really enjoyed sorting through all my photos.  I don’t take nearly enough, and as my life gets more and more technologically immersed I believe that my pictures are losing the value that they once had.  I was having fun looking through them and organizing them, when I came across a class of pictures that I have no clue what to do with.

No, they aren’t naked photos.  (Those have their own folder.)  These are pictures of me and my ex-boyfriend, whom I dated for over 2 years.  We ended things on (comparatively) good terms, and though we don’t really talk anymore I consider him a great guy for whom I wish nothing but happiness.  But it still doesn’t change the fact that he’s my ex.  Seeing those pictures gives me a small amount of sadness, and my husband, jealousy that he doesn’t quite understand.  Neither one of us really likes to see those pictures come up on a digital picture frame.  But can I really just delete them?  And do I even want to?  At least half of the pictures taken of me during the first 2 years of college have my ex in them; that’s a freakin’ lot of pictures to loose just because some guy’s in them. I suppose I could photoshop him out of them, but that feels like a lie.

Which brings me to the other issue.  In theory I could just hit delete, and rid myself of every picture with this guy in it.  In a matter of minutes, I could completely rid my life of any evidence that he ever existed.  Looking back, you’d never be able to tell that we were ever together.  But by doing so, I’d be erasing a part of my past.  Do I just pretend that I’ve never been to Mexico?  Or do I just take out the pictures of him, and pretend that I went on the trip with no one, a magical trip spent wafting around the beach? Even if the relationship didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped, it still helped to mold who I am today.

I guess it really comes down to the question of which is more painful: the constant reminder of lost happy endings or the loss of a part of my past?  This question is complicated by the fact that the answer doesn’t only affect me, but Kyle as well.  He hates seeing pictures of my ex, and I can’t say I blame him.  While moving last year I found a stash of pictures of him and his ex; I stuffed them in a book.  I can’t stand seeing pictures of his ex either, so how can I ask him to look at pictures of mine?  It’s a rough question, one that I don’t have a real answer to.

In the end, I don’t imagine I’ll have the heart to delete them.  Preservation of the past is very important to me, no matter how painful that past may be.  I imagine they’ll end up in their own folder, hidden away on my hard drive.  That way they’re always there to be opened up when I’m alone in a quiet office, and thinking about things that were.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • doahleigh April 17, 2009, 8:01 am

    Don’t delete them. You don’t have to delete your past just because your present is different. Just find a way to minimize how often you and Kyle see them.

  • CharmCityKim April 17, 2009, 8:03 am

    Ooh – that’s a tough situation. I’m with you, I hesitate to throw away/delete photos with exes because that would be erasing a large part of my past.

    I say don’t delete, just hide away.

  • Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com April 17, 2009, 4:52 pm

    Ooh, this is the sort of thing that really puts you between a rock and a hard place. I was lucky in that I rarely took pictures with ex-bfs, so when I married my husband, I never felt like I lost anything when I chucked those pictures. Good luck with whatever you choose to do; I hope at the end of the day you guys are both able to look at it and say EH, they’re just pictures.

  • Peg April 18, 2009, 8:47 am

    I remember my Mom wanting me to throw away all my old boyfriend pictures when I became serious with what is now my Husband. I didn’t. They are in a box, somewhere. He doesn’t necessarily want to look at them, but I do once in a while. I also found an old boyfriend on Facebook. Husband knows and doesn’t care. Old boyfriends are part of your past. Husbands are part of your past, present and future.

  • mari April 19, 2009, 10:11 pm

    Definitely save – but away from your other pictures so you don’t review them every time you’re perusing digital images? I really like this entry.

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