February 27, 2007
Snapshot
Do you still have all your photo albums? I do. I'm a virtual photography freak, although most of my photos were taken with plastic sale-priced cameras that leave many a photographer friend without words.

Photographs catalog my existence. They chronicle a life spent for a good time in braces, in younger years on my legs and later more visibly my teeth. A chin that held its own against a growing body, remaining to date the most characteristic of my features. A smoking habit picked up in late high school that creeps up more than I'd like in recent party photos. I save them all. I save most of them.

Like children in a fourth-grade play, a handful of these pictures are stand outs. And trite as they are, we all remember the ones with an awful haircut that we may or may not have confessed to giving ourselves, the shots that are just that funny. You've moved on, and thank God and Oprah and your stylist that your tresses are no longer tamed in quite the same way. These and their embarrassing counterparts never fail to entertain well, particularly at parties with bulbous Pinot glasses and a friend or two who knew you when. And 4x6s of failed relationships? The Wrestler who stared at himself in the shiny appliances. The Epidemiology Ph.D who gambled online. The Butcher who . . . cut up animals. Reflection hardly gets better than that. Especially when you're standing next to said reflection on Kodak paper.

I have those same memories chronicled on this site. And for some reason, there are many I want to rip from the album. Lately I reread entries in my archives and want to delete with Blogger's blessing those posts that make me cringe at their inane content or grammatical errors or, more likely, their insight into some part of my life that begs me to hide in one of those poorly-constructed child forts, made of Strawberry Shortcake sheets that wouldn't in a million years deter the opponent. These are the entries that verbally capture me crying in a corner or using a word that does not exist in this or any language. It's me at my weakest, and my least charming and entertaining. Somehow again I'm in 7th grade with an awful bob and a retainer that was molded the day prior, only this time I'm on stage with a dimmed auditorium spotlight attempting to close in.

I picture more and more of you, at your work desks, at your computers when the kids are in bed, reading about my relationship demise or my mother's stalwart silence, innocently looking through pages of a large scrapbook when I left it out on the coffee table before going to bed. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll look back at some of these snapshots and I won't be laughing. Or will I?

Regardless. Somehow I can't bring myself to remove them from the album.

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32 Comments:

Anonymous gorillabuns said...

don't you dare touch a snapshot (post) of your life. it is what it is and it was a part of you at the time.

don't you know we are all 7th graders, with crooked teeth, frizzy rave permed hair and squeaky voices hoping and praying someone will see them for who they really are inside? i don't think we really ever grow out of that feeling.

Blogger Kristen said...

You know, I read your blog - another nameless faceless person that you entertain from afar. Everything you write and every picture you take is part of an evolution that you have to reflect on, be proud of parts of it and know you've learned from the rest of it. I have some shit pictures from New Years Eve that I should just delete because aren't I too old for that? I think I drank an entire liter of vodka and the pictures are proof. So is the 200$ camera I broke that I had to replace for a friend. But you know, I'm somewhere other than that now and it's only February. Did I have a good time? Hell yeah I did. Are the memories in my head good enough? I'd like to think so...but maybe in 3 years I might need to go back to that digital folder and remind myself. Maybe not. Let me know if you make a decision. Maybe it'll help me.

Blogger Kim said...

Delete a post? You're crazy woman. Getting rid of it doesn't mean it never happened. Live and learn sweetpea.

But while we're on the subject, you can delete the picture of me that keeps popping up on the sidebar with the crown on.

Blogger an9ie said...

Hmm, this reminds me of photos someone took of me and my sister when I was 11 and proudly wearing what I thought was an awesome outfit, only to find that you could SEE MY WHITE UNDERPANTS in every shot.

And then my sister deliberately showed the photos to the guy I had a crush on.

There is a special tuffet in Hell filled with wasps that has her name on it, I'm sure.

Blogger Miss Scarlet said...

I am the same way with photographs. I have about 11,000 photos on fotki and tons of albums on bookshelves in my room. When I show my pictures, though, I like to be there with the person to explain the moment or situation or why it means so much to me. Sometimes I wish I could do that with my blog, too. To sit there with people while they read it so I can explain what I meant or why I wrote something a certain way.

Blogger kris said...

exaaaaaaactly. exactly!

Blogger Sizzle said...

i think about doing that too but these words are pieces of us, whether we like it or not. i hope you won't delete them. they are part of why we love you!

Blogger Lisa said...

You might cringe. You might laugh. But whatever emotion they provoke, I'll be you'll be glad you have them to look back on.

Blogger abbersnail said...

I think the scariest and best thing about the blog is the stark honesty with which we share ourselves with the void. Sometimes it's not us at our prettiest, perkiest, or most optimistic. But it is true, at least in the moment. And I think that the reason so many people out there are reading is because there's something about seeing your own humanity reflected in others. I guess what I mean is, please don't be ashamed of anything you write. I look forward to reading what you write, to seeing the world through your eyes for a few moments. Ten points to you!

Blogger Firefly Girl said...

Hi,

Just wanted to let you know I've been reading for a couple of weeks, and I really enjoy your blog. You're an excellent writer, and your stories are great! Take care,

Christie

Blogger Ripe for Reading said...

This post brings me back to so many of my childhood memories. The retainers, the bangs that were cut WAY too short....hmmm...let's think about that time again...yikes.

I feel the same way about some of my earlier posts. But you can't delete what's you. You can't take it back. And most probably wouldn't want you to, either.

Blogger Marisa said...

I will always believe that Strawberry Shortcake sheets create a force-field around me, which no presence, supernatural or physical, can penetrate. Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes its not.

Blogger Lovely Lelaina said...

I love this post. I sometimes look through my old journal that I started when I was twelve or so, and I want to just laugh at myself. I remember how real those things felt to me at the time though, and it helps me to think how much wiser and stronger and smarter I am now. In turn, I realize that although my problems and issues may seem overwhelming at the moment, in years or months they will seem insignificant.

Blogger Kelly said...

Kristen! Don't you DARE touch a thing in your archives. We thrives on your archives (when you're AWOL).

There are so many advantages to having a blog, and one of the best is that we can go back a year, or two or three, and see how we were feeling - to the day! I'd like to know what you were thinking Feb 28'06. I'm gonna go check (wait for me here?)...

Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

Oh Kris....even in your worst snapshot you are more verbally photogenic than I could ever hope to be!

Take a deep breath, doll. Sometimes looking back just reminds us of how far we've come! It's those experiences chronicled in our scrapbooks that have made us who we are, for better or for worse.

And I'm sure I speak for many of your readers when i say - I wouldn't have you any other way!

Anonymous zandria said...

Yep, I'm there. Sometimes I want to go through and edit and delete my way through my archives, but so far I've stopped myself just in time. :)

Blogger Kelly said...

Hehehehe! You talked about 7th grade angst - Claire Danes style. You were also talking about blogging.

Heh, at one point you also ask "who has sex with them?" when talking about blog-haters.

Findings: funny now, funny then. Don't change! and, please, don't delete!

Anonymous Anne Glamore said...

The stuff that seems so lame 2 years after the fact is priceless 15 years later. You just have to be patient and wait it out. I'm finally glad I saved the pix of me wearing full-on Madonna regalia in the mid 80's every damn day. Fingerless lace gloves. Curly hair with the big lace ribbon. Tons of black runner bracelets.

My boys think I'm a goob.

They're right.

OOPS. 20 years later.

I love to read introspective stuff.
I have all these LiveJournals that I've made at different points in my life and then abandon later to a new one just because I can't push myself to delete those old entries. Lately I've read read them all & some are sad and depressing but some are really funny & it's just great to see all the progress I've made not just in my life, but in myself over the past few years.

Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

Just like the school photos that chronicle your growth, so too do your posts.

Anonymous Jorge said...

Can you delete your own hands?

Can you delete your own head?

Tron can.

But the rest of us can't.

So don't.

Because it doesn't make sense to take away parts of the structure that make up your life.

Because if you take those away, what's left will come crashing down.

Blogger Heather said...

My childhood forts were made of Carebear sheets.

I agree with Miss Scarlet, completely. Sometimes friends won't look through albums with me because I narrate too much.

This post also made me think of a question I often think to myself:

Would I rather have a bad picture taken by a friend's camera, or my own? Would I rather have the photo of me looking thin, beautiful and smiling naturally in my album and the one with my eyes closed, in someone elses?

I don't know. I just don't know.

Blogger Serena said...

I definitely have a photo obsession...always have. There are things I can bring myself to purge from my life as I try to live more simply. Things that will never leave me are my books and my photo albums.

Blogger Matt said...

There is a period of "Matt" from early adolesence to college where he is photographed gazing into the distance, somewhere to the right of the camera in perfect three-quarters profile as everyone else stares straight ahead, cheesy grins countering his stoic stare.

Then there is the period that begins in college and extends to last month, where he is photographed not once without a beverage.

Blogger Paperback Writer said...

I wouldn't delete those posts. It'll eat you up later. I have every single damn journal I've written in since I was eight years old. I wouildn't give them up. Yeah, they may be stupid but you'll be glad you kept them.

Blogger Garrett said...

Don't change a thing baby.

Anonymous Horrible Warning said...

Those unguarded, vulnerable moments are why people read. They make you real.

They make us think, wow, I'm glad I didn't do THAT.

Or they make us think that we wished we did do that.

It's all part of your charm, girl.

Seriously, leave every word and image.

Blogger mysterygirl! said...

I think about deleting all the time (sometimes right after I publish!), but I leave it out there. And regardless of how embarrassing it is, there's always someone who can relate. Because we're all a mess. :) I mean, human! We're all human!

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

have never thrown a snapshot away and I'm a camera freak too. Although folks complain at the time, they're grateful later on. I've chronicled every part of life from the age of 12 on (when I got my first Kodak Brownie Starmite camera, later a Swinger, later a Canon Sureshot).

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

p.s. forgot to add, please please don't change!!!

Blogger Kate said...

You know what? It is okay to have pictures that are embarrassing--all of us do. I have one from college where I had all my hair curled (my hair is bone-straight) and I had AWFUL blonde highlights. Let's not even start on the ex-boyfriend in that one. But you know what? That was a happy time for me in my life and I got to learn (before my adulthood) that curly hair plus highlights wasn't really going to work. The company christmas party, for example, is the wrong time to learn that one. College? Meh.

Blogger tallglassofvino said...

another blogging friend of mine chastises me because I post, then spot grammatical errors and edit. And her feed indicates a new entry. Each time. When I'm just correcting their/they're (my absolute pet peeve, and I still f it up sometimes, in a passionate post).

She thinks I should leave it 'as is' - that the POST button is an absolute - a time-capsule moment. And I suppose, to an extreme-bloggist, that might hold weight. But to me, I wield my sword of re-editing high, and cull out the ones that, just, well, don't. Don't sing, don't work, don't do. I'm sure I'm still too gentle, and there's a lot more that should be excised like melanoma, and I'll get to it, one of these days.

In the meantime, I call them freckles, and live with 'em.

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