Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Living in photographs

As I journey through old digital photographs in an effort to tidy up my digital storage, I am learning unexpected lessons about myself.

There are many people from my childhood that I am simply done with. There are many faces in the photos that I am familiar with, but I can't remember their names anymore, or we never communicate (online or otherwise), or I frankly just don't care about them. It's hard with some photos to determine how I feel about them. Photos of former teachers? Do I really care about these? Would I miss them? I would probably not remember them if I got rid of the pictures, and that doesn't help me decide at all. In a physical photo album, we review the pictures periodically or infrequently and still appreciate them. As a digital volume, do I want to do the same? It seems absurd to keep so many. How can I really know what to keep? My inclination is truly just to hoard them all.

I came across the first photos of me with pink in my hair (the better version of the photo was actually taken on a film camera). I had been permitted, at around age 15 I think, to put a streak of pink in my hair. I felt so bold. I loved it. I love the photo that attempts to capture those feelings. I like being able to look back and know that's not a person I want to be anymore, while still appreciating who I was.

These photos also capture my varying and strange personal fashion trends. Most of them make me laugh now. I've spent many years trying to find a personal style without realizing that I have one already. I may not be able to define my tastes, but I know how to pick clothes that I like and I only wear what I like.

This article had me re-assess my current hair state, which is a somewhat more mature pink, as in much less vibrant (I didn't lighten the hair enough before dyeing). I don't think I'm done yet with fantasy colored hair. It still feels like me, it still gives me confidence. But I do recognize there are some inklings of teenage-me in my choice of hair color or style. I don't think that's a bad thing. Some things we take with us and some things we leave behind as we grow up. It can always change and I am open to listen to myself on this score.

I am realizing that choosing what (photos) to keep is less about the memories and more about what aspects of me I will choose to carry with me into the future.

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