I was cleaning the other day.
My version of cleaning is usually comprised of a lot of moving things around so that one area looks somewhat cleaner than it was before without anything ever really being put away or thrown out or in any way cleaned. This is 50% due to general laziness and 50% because I own a lot of crap and I never really know what to do with any of it. I’m not planning on playing host to the Hoarders crew anytime soon, but I do have a tendency to hold on to things because “I may want it someday” or because of some imagined or inflated sense of sentimental value.
One of my goals this year is to declutter my life, get rid of all this flotsam that is just taking up space and maybe get it somewhere to someone who would really want it, or need it.
So, as I was saying, I was cleaning the other day and I came across this little photo album that had just been shoved on a shelf in a stack of other useless things. It’s something you might find in a dollar store or the bargain aisles of Target. Almost every page is filled with photos from the production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” I was in during my junior year of high school. There were pictures my father took from the audience that make me look like I was the lead of the school play when really I was just another voice in the chorus. And there are backstage and cast party photos that I took.
Every time that I have looked at this album over the last ten plus years it has made me sad. When I was in high school I was fat and awkward and weird and desperate to be accepted by any and everyone. I so wanted to feel apart of something and I didn’t know how to get that, so I always seemed to end up taking pictures instead of being in them. Maybe believing that would somehow connect me to the people whose pictures I was taking. Maybe just to prove that I was there. All the kids that seemed cooler than me, better; the kids that I wanted to be friends with and be accepted by, they’re all in that horrible pink photo album. Most of the photos that I took were of people I barely knew or never talk to anymore.
I don’t even remember most of their names. What I do remember though is how I felt. Awkward. Unlikeable. Unworthy. Less Than. All those high school feelings come rushing up around me every time I look at the stupid thing. And for the first time I asked myself a question that should have come up years ago. Why do I keep looking at the damn thing? Why do I still own it?
I’ve been holding on to someone who never really existed. That girl that I was in high school, that’s not me, that’s just who I let myself be, believing that my weight made me unworthy and my weirdness made me unloveable and my talents weren’t good enough. All Lies.
I can now appreciate that being awkward and weird in high school led me on a path to my many awkward and weird friends. I am thankful for not being exactly who I wanted to be because that helped me get to be the person I want to be. Even though it really really sucked at the time.
I do have pictures from high school that I look at and I smile. This photo album though is nothing but bad mojo. It’s like a little ugly siren trying to pull me back into the pit of adolescent angst. Which brings me back to that question.
Why do I look at it?
Because there is still a part of me holding onto who I used to be as an excuse to hold myself back. Because that 15 year old still lives in side me, still whispering that I’m ugly and fat and just not at all good enough. Well, she can go fuck herself I’m throwing that album out.