This morning, my heart fell when an old photo of my ex and I turned up on a suggested Facebook memory.
It’s not that there are any feelings anymore for the person; just the residual pain of a lost love and the sting of a reminder that this is one person who chose to walk away from you rather than to walk with you.
I know the simpler way is to just decide, pictures of my life from 7 years ago should be deleted so they never turn up again. Deleting pictures from 7 years ago would stop people from curiously seeking out how different my life was back then, when I had shared that life with someone different. Ignorance is bliss when you don’t have reminders of something you’d already lost.
But the higher order argument for me has always been that I’m against erasing, whitewashing, rewriting history. Or pretending a history didn’t exist because I had erased all evidence of it. To me, it is an inauthentic way to live.
It’s a damn pain in the ass, and it’s a small battle only within myself to stubbornly stick to doing this. But it’s an important battle. It’s a small step towards accepting my life and its journey. It’s a small step towards accepting that even uncomfortable truths are truths.
I also get the unfortunate opportunity of reflecting on how I feel about the memory. Have I progressed? Do I feel less now with more time in between? Do I still smile as genuinely as I did back then? Did I learn from my mistakes to do my best to avoid the same pitfalls?
Rejecting history is the smallest, most convenient lie you can tell yourself: “If you pretend for long enough that something never happened, then maybe it really didn’t.”
It’s painful but it makes more sense to process this slowly and let nature take its course. Time does dull things and while it’s impossible to forget completely, time will take the edge off and leave you with something that is manageable.
I’ll end by saying, I would like to forget but I will not. I cannot make things unhappen. There is only pain and acceptance. And by accepting I can slowly let go.