I'm in a happy place. My bills are paid. My family is still here (despite ongoing medical issues). And I still have a job. I'm on track to being "ABD" (all but dissertation) by my 35th birthday. And finally, after 4 years of heartbreak, disastrous dates, and just utter foolishness, I have the love of a good man who adores me from top to bottom, inside and out.
Yet the ghost of my past relationship keeps haunting me.
I don't mean that my ex husband is bothering me or keeping me from moving on. Quite the opposite. He's moved on and I have too. We are at a cordial place with each other from time to time (when I feel like being bothered). Basically, he ain't worried about me and I ain't worried about him.
What I'm talking about is the goddamn Internet and all its regrettable abilities to bring up old shit.
When I was married, my ex and I took some sexy, romantic and semi-boudoir shots for a friend of his. It was for her budding portfolio and for us to eventually have some pics outside of wedding ones to put up in the house. It was informal. We didn't sign a release though... Of course, when our marriage dissolved, that never happened. And I sorta put those pics out my mind...
Which brings me to the past few months...
I'm on Twitter and a friend of mine send a me a link "hey.. Is this you?? It looks like you??" At first I thought t was spam until I opened the full version of her message and staring at me was a pic of me and my ex husband, his head in my lap and us looking loving. The pic has been reposted almost 500 times on Tumblr. I asked the friend to take it down. She gladly obliged. But there was no way I could contact the other 499 people.
Then in a span of 2 weeks I had been contacted at least a dozen times about the same picture. First my god brother like the idiot he is, decides to openly post the pic on my page (from some FB black love page) asking if it was me . I took it down and then contacted the FB page. Then another friend, sees the pic on some random blog! Again, I contact the owner of the blog to take it down and they did. And just yesterday, my friend contacted me about her new FB page on black love and marriage and said "I was gonna post this pic but I was like yo.. Wait., is that???" And sure enough, there was that damn pic. She didn't post it. But I saw it was on Pinterest! Pinterest of all places! Is nowhere sacred??? Funny thing is, this pic isn't even as risque as others...but somehow people loved to repost.
Finally, I sent a pleasant note to the photographer. I expressed I was troubled. I asked her to close the album from Flickr public view at the very least to cut down on traffic and reposting. It is her copyright that's being violated here. Not to mention, my beau wouldn't like it and my ex's old lady wouldn't either. I waited and waited for a reply. I wasn't rude. I chose my words carefully...
She never responded back.
That was the last straw. I finally had to contact m ex husband who, naturally, spoke to his friend more often. He had forgotten that the pics were even up. But said he told her to go ahead and take them down. She said she'd do what she can to take care of that.
Do what she can???
First off, I was pissed that she didn't have the decency to write me back. I know where her loyalty lies but if one party in the photo tells you take it down, then take it down. You don't need the other party's go ahead, especially if you know we've been divorced! You should have made it private to begin with. It shouldn't be about what it can do. You should do it, because it's the right thing to do. Besides, I never gave my consent to use it like this. This does have legal ramifications...
You may ask why I'm in such a tizzy over 6 year old pics. I felt like it was an invasion of my privacy. I felt like it was rehashing crap and opening up a scab that I worked very hard to heal. I remember at the time me and the ex weren't on the best of terms, but for a day, we looked like happy newlywed lovers. Amazing what a picture can do.... As those pics did a bit of a number on my new man's feelings.
Most of all, it broke my new beau's heart. He saw them. His face visibly disturbed. He twisted his mouth and tried to act like it didn't hurt, to say a word in jest, but I knew him all too well. It hurt. At first he laughs and goes.."Guess we can never take pics likt that".....then later on...(In a totally unrelated convo)... He said "it's like he got to have all the good parts of you.Some of the fun parts. Things I want to do (i. e. like take pics like this), you've already done". It wasn't about pics really. It was about the past. One that included a lot of firsts: first dances, first weddings, first homes to buy, first trips to take, first experiences to be had and even first pics to be photographed. My baby isn't naive. He knows I have a past and I'm divorced so naturally, some things come with the territory. But for him, the pics were like he couldn't escape my ex husband's shadow.
I've been adamant in saying I don't want another wedding. I don't want joint accounts. I don't want another house right now. And now, I don't ever want to take pics like this again. Seems like "I don't " comes from my lips a lot more than "I would like". And that's the part that hurts him. The man wants some experiences unique to us. That's understandable.
What he doesn't realize is that we are constantly making new memories. Everything about this is new for me. The pace we are going... The plans that we make... The love that we share.. The jokes and laughs that we experience.. even the food we eat.He has access to my heart and soul in ways that my ex husband couldn't even come close to. I'm older. I'm wiser. I'm stronger. The past made me a better woman for him.
I've got a smile so big right now that it's made for new beginnings. That has to mean something more than some old, empty pictures...
I'm still waiting for these pics to be hidden or deleted. But even if one happens to pop up on Facebook or Twitter.. tumblr or Pinterest... I know that it's a shadow of who I was. My past doesn't define me. Knowing this has mad me soften all the "I don't"'s to "maybe." That's definitely a step above..
The real pictures are just now being taken. God is the ultimate photographer. He's so amazing that he has memories stored up we have yet to realize. Right now is just a snapshot. The real portfolio is unfolding as we speak.. And they are full of first I've yet to experience. I can name one: holding a brown, bright eyed bundle of sweetness in my arms.
Now who wouldn't want to capture that? :)
ETA (2/19): The pics have now been taken down. Well...that's that