1. Develop photos. (Until last week, I hadn’t developed photos since 2008.)
2. Look at photos. Sort by event. Wonder what to do with the lousy ones, where people have turned their backs or turned into white ghosts with red eyes or become blurred, distorted versions of themselves.
3. Look at colors and patterns. Decide on the proper placement of the photos, decide on color scheme and mood to create, and decide how to do this. (I’ve read too many scrapbooking magazines with featured spreads from people with entirely too much time on their hands.)
4. Realize that I don’t have the supplies I need. My cardstock colors don’t work. I can’t spell any complete words with my dwindling supply of letter stickers. Those cute themes I developed need embellishments (butterfly stickers, soccer ball stickers, etc.) that I don’t have.
5. Groan when I look at the prices. (Of course nothing is on sale when I need it. Now that I’m this far into the process, I want it over with. Now.)
6. Come home with more stress and less cash.
7. Get the stinkin’ photos and overpriced stickers on the page. Then realize that I have no page protectors.
But my biggest issue with scrapbooking is picking what photos to use. It’s not just my inner perfectionist who wants a Creating Keepsakes magazine-worthy page. It’s the memories attached to each photo.
As a young woman, I scrapbooked my way through my life. Childhood. Junior high with my Little Orphan Annie haircut. Eleventh grade homecoming with the horrible purple dress and the use-the-entire-can-of-hairspray updo. All the important friends and activities and birthday celebrations.
Then I got to my senior prom. Bad experience. Don’t ask why. I hesitated. How should I create a page about a really awful night? Easy. I skipped it.
If you look at this scrapbook, you wouldn’t know that anything upsetting happened; you wouldn’t know I went to prom; in the scrapbook-version of my life, prom doesn’t exist. But I hung on to those photos. They sit in photo albums that don’t have pretty stickers or creative embellishments or fancy lettering. I don’t show them to anyone.
There’s the rub. On the one hand, I have a creative scrapbook to show friends. On the other, I have the photo album that holds all the blurred photos, the unflattering ones, the ones where I remember how I was hurt or hurtful. I don’t want anyone to see those, so I conveniently edit them out of my cleaned up version of my life story.
Most of us edit our stories this way. We dump certain photos in a shoebox and kick it under the bed and display others in frames hung on the living room wall. Even when I’m close to someone, I don’t want to show them the pages that hold my darkest secrets, the wounds that won’t close and the scars that won’t disappear.
Some editing is wise. I shouldn’t tweet or blog about everything in my life. It’s not safe.
But self-editing can come at a price. I edit too much and skip over the raw stories, not telling even trustworthy friends the secrets that need to be told. I crop the photos until the ugly image is minimized, telling others that, no, this doesn’t hurt that much. I may do such a thorough editing job that I convince myself, too—at least until I pull the shoebox from beneath my bed and cry in secret.
This kind of editing only hurts. There’s no healing or confession or growth when I hide the ugliness in my life from people who love me and want the best for me. It’s hard to pull out the photo album and show someone those photos. But it’s the only way for healing to begin.
How much do you “edit” your life? Are you willing to share your pain with trustworthy people or do you pretend those areas don’t exist (or minimize their impact on your life)?