The past is something we are told not to dwell on. Sometimes I spend so much time trying not to dwell on it, I actually feel like I forget too much of it. I don’t save items from my past. I have an almost disturbing ability to purge anything of sentimental value to maintain a minimalistic lifestyle.
And then, there comes the waves of regrets. Steady, consistent, and earth-shattering waves.
Facebook was responsible for this doozy. I had successfully un-tagged myself in every picture related to a person in my past. But there was an important picture that remained, and it was taken on the day I was dumped.
I love this picture because I can actually re-feel my feelings through it. I’m on the couch of my old apartment, surrounded by friends still in their long-term relationships (we all started seeing our significant others around the same time). My dog is on my lap, and I’m looking at her while holding her toy. In the background everyone is smiling at one another. It’s an incredibly candid and beautiful shot.
In that photograph I’m so utterly stunned – it’s almost palpable as you look at it. The break up shouldn’t have been unexpected; but it was for me. I had been kidding myself for a while. I remember coming home from my day at work, walking right into the moment that picture was taken.
I remember looking at my dog for guidance, almost thinking, “Well, it’s just us, now.” It didn’t matter that my friends were there, trying to help me through it with unnecessary jokes. They couldn’t understand as they were still happy in first (maybe second, maybe non-existing) love. The strange thing is I remember having this thought as I ignored them for my dog.
In that moment the fact that even I didn’t understand how things were about to change for me was so apparent.
(First love) heart breaks are so amazing. Corny as this is: they churn your soul into a new type of being. Five years later, happy with my current boyfriend, and I still look back at that time in awe. I can still feel the pieces of my heart, it felt like I had been gutted at some points. I’d wake up and I’d think, “No. Why am I here?” It’s odd, but I can feel my face heat up just writing this. My eyes get warm, my heart pulls back. It’s such an interesting type of grief, because although there is no part of me that wants any part of it back; I still feel the loss.
So this weekend I dived back into the past, pretty resolutely. I remembered, I felt pain, and I wished there were things I had kept. But what does any of this serve? How does it help? Should we remember and be happy for our memories, or should we be content always living in the present?