Thursday, March 29, 2012

One Of Us

I was recently organizing our family photos and I started a new project called: Operation Pooper Scooper: wherein I destroyed all photos of EFIL and NMIL that we owned, either in digital form or print material. That's right, I picked up that shit and threw it away. All ten photos are gone.

The one space in our wedding album that had been reserved for a picture of NMIL is now filled by a photo we actually enjoy looking at. The two we had of NMIL holding our infant DD have been ripped up and thrown away. The couple of pictures of our visit to EFIL and L's for Christmas 2009 are gone. The only reason I kept them in the first place was because DH wasn't yet ready to put them where they belonged: in the garbage. But now, a DH-sanctioned Operation Pooper Scooper has commenced, and we no longer have to look at pictures of people who think their shit don't stink.

But anyway, the real point of this commentary was to share with you an insight I had while going through our wedding photos: I realized that, although NMIL was busy playing her little fashion faux pas game ("Oops! I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to wear white to my son's wedding!") she only managed to dig her own grave a little deeper.

Yeah, let's talk about what everyone wore to our wedding.

My mother and best friend both wore dresses in a color that complimented my wedding dress, rather than competed with it.

DH looked snazzy in black pants, a black button down, and a red vest.

My father looked equally snazzy, in an ensemble that closely resembled DH's, except that he wore a red button down and a black vest.

All of my brothers wore white button downs and either black or khaki slacks.

EFIL and L could have been dressed for a neighbor's wedding - they had no idea about any of the details of our wedding, and therefore couldn't have come dressed in color-coordinated outfits.

NMIL wore white.

I forget what SIL wore. She was just a shadow in the background with soul-less eyes, anyway.

So in my mind, the picture of our wedding looks like this: DH looked like he belonged more with my FOO, than with his own. He was officially one of US. And with their absurd antics, his FOO only managed to perpetuate that outcome. I guarantee that everyone in that room knew exactly who coordinated our wedding, and who was truly happy that it was happening. Even NMIL couldn't escape the reality of the situation: that my DH had found a surrogate family that had loved and accepted him the way his own FOO never did.

NMIL was putting on an act. My parents were the real deal.

NMIL was aiming to hurt. My parents did everything they could to ensure that their part in our special day was exactly what we needed from them.

DH's FOO spent their time playing games. Mine spent theirs rejoicing in our special day.

NMIL only succeeded in making herself out to be a fool. She separated herself from her own son in a way that further proved her devotion to control, while my parents and siblings busied themselves with adding a new member to their family. After we married, my dad told DH that now, he had a fourth son.

DH danced with my mother, my great-aunt, and my grandmother, before he danced with his own mother.

And she had to ask to dance with him.

One of my favorite photos from our wedding is a group shot of DH and I with my three brothers and my oldest brother's wife (my best friend). It's a picture that brings tears to my eyes, as corny as that sounds, because to me, it represents what a REAL family looks like.

That's not something I see when I look at pictures of NMIL or EFIL and L, or even DH's sister. No, Dear Reader, the pictures worth holding on to are the ones that give us feelings of warmth and happiness when we gaze upon them. And when it comes to pictures of narcissists, those feelings are few and far between.

DH and I are happy to throw the shit out with the trash. That way, we're left with only the best memories: the ones that show us what real love looks like.


  1. I'm not sure if this quite fits. But your post made me think of a Jackson Brown song.
    Fountain of Sorrow.

    Looking through some photographs
    I found inside a drawer,
    I was taken by a photograph of you.
    There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more,
    But they didn't show your spirit quite as true.
    You were turning round to see who was behind you
    And I took your childish laughter by suprise.
    And at the moment that my camera happened to find you,
    There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes.

  2. FlyLady says to only keep it if you love it. I remember going through my high school pictures and cutting the boyfriends out. Now, I don't even look at the pictures because I see them there in my head, and they only bring unhappy memories. I'm trying to decide if I want to go so far as to dump my yearbooks. I haven't looked at them in years either.

  3. This is such a great idea. My sister looks like someone stuffed lemons in her mouth in all of the pictures. My mom has her weird plastic smile. I don't put any of those pictures out any way. Tossing them out seems like a good idea, although burning them sounds even better. A purification ceremony.

  4. My NPs had pictures taken for their 65th Anniversary then had the guy Photo Shop them so NF looked like a stranger and NM looked, well, dead. I tore them up as soon as I got them home.

    Pictures aren't sacred. If they're either meaningless or disturbing I say toss 'em. Hmmm...kind of applicable to people in our lives too.

  5. In all the wedding pictures of both wives my mother looks like she is sniffing a rancid dog turd.

  6. I love photoshop. I had a picture of myself and my younger brother and sister. The other person I barely remembered. When I was finished with that picture, no one knew that there had been a fourth person in the picture. The camera puts them in and photoshop can take them out. It felt good to delete someone. I am the one that is trying to teach myself to let go of all the junk in my house I was well as the junk in my head.

  7. (Tried to comment Thurs and I got error messages - trying again)

    This is just the nudge I need to put away the wedding photos of my brothers that are on a dark, ignored shelf in my living room (I'm blind to the shelf because they're on it.) Photo of bro#1 used to be a favorite, but now it's a reminder of a relationship strained to the breaking point by his lack of compassion. Photo of bro#2 is a family photo - sibs, sib spouses, parents. My son was excluded from the wedding, so to me it's not our *whole* family, and all of us look terrible in the pic, and it strikes me as recording a one-big-happy-family dynamic that doesn't exist (but that bro#2 and SIL are desperate to believe in).

    Not going to throw them away, but I can certainly liberate my living room from them.

    And you know, I need to take a good photo of my in-laws with my kids this spring, enlarge it, and hang it in a place of honor. THAT relationship is worth celebrating!