We began to go through her photos. She immediately began to shut down. She said, "Why do I have to do this?" Her voice was a high whine. She was depressed. I said, "You hired me to go through your photos with you." She sighed and looked down.
We were sitting on the floor. There was three big containers of photos next to us. The majority of the photos were still in their sleeves from when she got them back from the printers. There was a small group of other photos in frames, or laying loosely between the packages.
I said, "That's okay. You're stuck. You're not super woman. No one is. Just because it's possible to be able to make decisions about some things, doesn't mean its doable in the moment. Photos are often packed with lots of emotions. There are often feelings about some things that we don't want to remember. Why would you want to do something that causes you pain. However, if they stay here in piles, they'll still cause you pain. It will be spread out over time and dull and tread negatively on your life. Let's go through the photos and let go of the ones that don't make you feel good anymore."
I gave her one pack of photos at a time. The first set had photos from when she was a little girl. There were pictures of her family and relatives drunk at a party. She said that she comes from a family of alcoholics. She said that her dad was a "dead man walking". She looked at the pictures with great sorrow in her heart.
She said, "I don't know what to do with these." I said, "It's okay to let them go." She didn't say anything. I said, "When you're a little girl, your family is supposed to take care of you. When they can't, it makes you live in fear. It's like living on a fault line with constant earthquakes. Fear makes it hard to live with openness and vitality. It freezes you up. You can't make decisions...You're grown up now. But the fear is still there. That's why it's hard to let these go. It doesn't feel safe. But it's safe now. You can take care of yourself. These people that weren't capable of taking care of you are no longer alive. But you're alive. You can say no to things that hurt you and remove them from your life."
She looked through the photos and tossed them out. She looked through another pack from an adult time of her life. She tossed the pictures that didn't mean anything to her. She found photos that made her happy now and set those aside. We went through all the photos. The heavy laden fear was gone. She felt stronger and quieter.