I was looking through a few of my older photographs, some from childhood which I took from one of the family albums but wasn't bothered to put back.
The onslaught of digital cameras and the like have not erased my liking for real, tangible photographs. I like the feeling of holding a photograph in my hands and looking at it, staring at the faces looking back at me, and letting memories come back to me, naturally, without needing to think too hard. Call me sentimental if you must, but I don't get the same feeling from pictures posted online or stored in a computer. We're separated by the machine, and I just can't shake off the feeling that I'm only looking at a mass of randomly put-together pixels and 0s and 1s, not quite a real picture. A photograph. Something tangible that proves that you really existed.
But I think photographs tend to lie at the same time. Every picture is a picture of the dead, because we're never the same person, no matter how recent the photograph is. It gets even worse when you're looking at one of you taken when you were a child, and the only thing that keeps the alienation from being complete is your memory.
A snapshot of me taken when I was about 2 or 3; no older than that. The girl in the picture, her skin literally white as snow, her thin baby hair combed to one side, holding a chicken drumstick to her mouth, and the chair that she's sitting on seems to swallow her. She's so tiny, so small, and I wish I could hold her, so that she'd never grow up and become...me.
The thing I miss most about childhood is, as cliche as it may sound, the innocence. How everything is fresh and new and exciting, how cynicism is never a factor, how one could approach love without expecting it to fade.
The girl in the photograph doesn't exist anymore. In fact, to me, she's dead. But really, what do you do when you want something so badly, when you miss something so badly, that you'd do practically anything just to have it back, but you know that it's literally and completely impossible? Photographs capture moments in your life, freeze these moments in time, so that it's a little while longer before everything fades into the background...but sometimes, it hurts a little too much to know that you've really lost something precious, something you once had, and such damage is entirely irreparable.
What is it about growing up? Why was I so eager to do so when I had the luxury of youthful idealism? Quills was right: Idealism is youth's final luxury, and oh, how I wish I could have it back. I'm at a point in my life when every decision I make are so crucial that the wrong one would fuck things up for me, possibly for good.
And you know what? I'm tired of it. I wish it could stop. Growing up only means one thing: Seeing and knowing and accepting the truth. There is no point; there is no larger picture; there is no meaning. We eat, we shit, we breathe, we kill, we fuck, we die, and we decompose. Period. (Some of us don't even fuck, but that's another story altogether.) To even attempt to argue otherwise is just a waste of time.
How do you un-see, un-know, un-realise certain things? You don't. You don't regress back to the cute little 3-year-old toddler with the drumstick in her hand and her legs dangling above the floor, no matter how much you want to. The certainty of death, the only constant that binds the human race together, lurks at every single corner, every single minute, second, of the day. There is no escape, but it's not death that depresses me; rather, it's the realisation of it, and how it makes our lives pointless, without meaning. What else do you live for when all the things you looked foward to when you weren't tall enough to climb onto a chair without an adult helping you up have turned out to be vastly overrated and utterly unimpressive?
Somebody told me once that I'm cold. I didn't dispute that; I wholly agreed with him. But the funny thing was, I took some amount of pride in it, and you know what? I really don't know why. It should be alarming, but it's not. In fact, I've accepted it. This is who I am: an angry, bitter bitch.
Do I even have the right to be angry? On what grounds do I justify my bitterness? God, I don't know. What would it take to melt me, to break me down? I'm looking at the short term; nobody is worthy enough for me to look any further (save for my family and Mel).
But then again, I don't have to be equipped with amazing foresight to know the truth: there is nothing at the end of the tunnel; just a dead end. Childhood photographs are precisely that, and then some: photographs of the dead. These people don't exist anymore.