I can smell some of the scenes again, and hear the noises related to other photos. This made me realise that my photographs are not just visual mementos, but my life history captured.
In some photographs I can see the people and how they feel about me and about being captured in my memories. Most of these are joyful moments that we all wanted to be reminded of in later years.
However, in other photographs I have images of people and moments that were joyful and loving at the time, and that turned out to be illusions – some of them false illusions with actors that do not have one bone of integrity between all of them.
This is where I asked myself: Do I delete these photographs that leave me wanting to cry because of lost dreams? Or do I keep them and every so often remind myself of what I have learnt from and moved on from?
I realised that if I can still look at these offending photographs and feel any emotion, the work is not done yet. I need to keep them until I get to a point where it does not matter whether I keep or delete them. As long as I see the photographs as representing anything that I don't want or like, the memories are still apart from me. I have not yet got to the point where I can say it does not matter, and mean what I say.
Many years ago I was in a relationship where I allowed the man to destroy some memories of a previous relationship. I regret that experience to this day because I allowed him to destroy something precious to me, to soothe his own demons. That is another reason why I will press the delete button on these photographs when I am good and ready.
In the meantime, I will park those photographs in a place where I will only notice them if I go and look for them. Out of sight, out of mind, but not out of heart. There will come a day when those memories will be present in every cell of my body, and then I will deal with them.