Happy Thursday! We’ve almost made it to the weekend! Payday happened this week, and February begins today!
Today’s submission is:
Something I Collect & Why
Though we may not think it, I believe we all collect things without noticing. I’ve come to realise I unintentionally collect photos. My phone is constantly full with albums of pictures, I have photo prints all over my apartment in stacks and boxes and frames. I absolutely love collecting memories.
I have so many photos – I am usually the designated photographer for any event or occasion. I love documenting my life, my travels, my day-to-day life, the people I surround myself with. We each have a story to tell – a past and present – and photos have been an important part of keeping track of that. Happy memories, sad, exciting, mundane.
But for me, my photos are a reminder of what I have been through and triumphed. Behind every photo is a moment; something that is happening in the background or in my life. Something that nobody else can see but me – only I can tell how I truly felt whilst smiling in a picture, or the pride that beamed out of my face when behind the camera snapping pictures of my nephews and niece as they grow up. Beautiful pictures of places I’ve visited and seen. But nobody knows that maybe during those trips and holidays, I was taking a break from a hectic or difficult time.
Here, let me show you what I mean:
This is one my most favourite photos. I have this in a frame in my living room. Me and my lovely Mum at my graduation in 2015. It gives a snapshot to the audience of a really happy day, we have our frocks and glad-rags on and are smiling for the camera. Everything looks just as it should be.
What the photo doesn’t show is the anxiety I’m feeling about going back home in a few days, to a job where my manager is making my life hell – and I will cry every time I say goodbye to my home, a place I’d come to realise was actually my home and not just where I was from. I’d moved away several months before to live with my partner. My boss, in just 5 short months, had stripped me of all my self-confidence and replaced it with anxiety and depression. I was a shadow of myself, I spent most of my days crying and in a state of panic.
I should have felt proud whilst taking this picture. I had conquered 3 of the hardest years of my life – proved my capability to not only my tutors and family, but to myself. And yet, this woman had made me feel I didn’t deserve my degree, that I was incapable of doing a basic job and was incompetent. I took home my certificate and didn’t look at it for months.
It didn’t resurface until 6 months later, applying for a new job, and 2 years later it proudly sits on the wall of my living room, the first thing anybody sees when they walk in.
This is me 9 years ago – I’m doing my main passion in life – singing – and I look happy and carefree. I was on a night out with a good friend at the time, my first night out in probably years.
In 2009, I was 2 years into a toxic relationship that I was struggling to stay in but also to leave. This picture was taken 2 weeks after he had broken up with me (temporarily) – and after spending a week crying, calling, emailing and texting, begging him to at least talk to me but getting nothing back, I started to think maybe I didn’t actually need him.
This photo shows me feeling confident, free of worry and pain, and enjoying myself. I had given up singing after we had gotten together as he didn’t like sharing me with other people, and I hadn’t sang in a really long time. He saw this photo and realised his plan to end it, have me boost his ego and make him feel needed, hadn’t worked for as long as he’d hoped – and he spent the next couple of months working his way back into my life. It would be another 3 years after this picture was taken that I would finally decide to end the relationship for good – and start the best chapter of my life so far – one that doesn’t involve him.
This photo also represents a friendship that doesn’t exist anymore – as do many of my photos from my past. The person I was out with in this photo is no longer in my life. We grew, moved on, changed.
But the beauty of the photos I have collected is that I am transported to the memories of taking those photos. Amazing memories that will never happen again, but that are frozen in time in just one tiny frame. They remind me of times that I have overcome, times I have had my greatest achievements and my biggest downfalls. Times when I have been so proud, my heart could burst out of my chest, and times I’ve been so sad that my heart was shattered into a million pieces.
My collection of photos are my most treasured possessions – because no matter what emotion I was feeling in those moments, they remind me that I have lived. I have met people I will never forget, people who will hopefully remember me too when I’m no longer here. And I will be in some of their photos too, and they will remember that I was on their path once. Maybe I still am when they look at it. Or maybe I’ll be gone and all they have are their collections of photos too – photos that take them right back to that moment we shared together.
How beautiful my collection is.