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Those who judge, don't matter...those who matter, don't judge.
This file has been in the works for a long time and I am still not sure what it will eventually include. I know it will include things like abusive childhoods, past mistakes, alcoholic parents, untimely deaths, etc. I plan to have various opinions and perspectives and am open to suggestions. There are people who feel that the less said the better and that bad things are best forgotten. While others feel that everything needs to be out in the open to promote healing. Then there are those in the middle who don't think things should be buried but don't feel every detail needs to be told to everyone.
How you decide to scrap the difficult times in your life is very personal and each individual has to decide what is right for them. In many cases your ideas will change as you get older. It is fine to make a private album and decide later if you want anyone to see it.
I have found scrapping and journaling to be very healing for me. If you don't want all of your thoughts in your scrapbooks I would still strongly suggest that you write them down anyway--just put it in a pocket page or keep it entirely separate. Even if you journal only for yourself or delete what you write every night, it can still help you tremendously.
There are other files on this site that have things about life's difficulties. If you don't find what you are looking for in this file look in the Subject Index under things like Acceptance, Anger, Courage, Death, Divorce, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, Hope, Memorial Albums, Miscarriage, Regret, Simplicity, Stillbirth, Suicide, etc. There is a wide variety of moods represented--from ironic and sad to uplifting and encouraging. Which ones apply to you will depend on the stage of healing you are in.
One thing that has been so gratifying is people's willingness to share things that will help other people in a similar situation. I especially like poems and stories from people who have made peace with the past because it show others that it is possible to recover from things that you think you can't.
Note: Some of the people who contributed ideas for this page requested that I change their name and anything in their stories that could identify them.
Also see Survivors.
In grief, one can endure the day, just the day. But when one also tries to bear the grief ahead, one cannot compass it. As for happiness, it can only be the ability to experience the moment. It is not next year that life will be so flawless and if we keep trying to wait for next year's happiness, the river of time will wind past and we shall not have lived at all.
Use this title for groups of people that have been divorced etc. It is a way to put in wedding pictures and such of people who were at one time a part of your life such as ex-brother-in-laws, etc. The title also works for old school friends, neighbors who have moved away, etc.
For things about scrapping an abusive childhood see the Survivors file.
What I started to do in my albums is put the photo sleeves ON the page protector. I use page protectors on every page, but when I use a photo sleeve under it it's just too hard to pull out to look at. So I put a not-so-important-but-can't-toss photo UNDER the item in the photo sleeve.
For example: My daughter's first birthday party was on July 4th. I painted our toes red white and blue for the occasion and took a photo. It's cute but does the whole world need to see my feet?!
I put the photo of our feet on the page with the birthday photos, and put the page protector on. Then adhered the photo-mounting sleeve with the birthday invitation over that foot photo.
I do this a lot now, and it's also a nice surprise for the kids to see what photo I HID under the photo sleeve!
(This is a reply I posted to someone who was thinking of not including a photo of an ex-husband in her albums.)
I understand how you feel. I have a couple of oddly shaped photos due to cropping out one of my stepfathers. I had thought of just camouflaging him with a sticker or die-cut but could not even stand the thought of him being in there, even if he was covered up.
On the other hand I have advised people to take a different route if they possibly can--for the sake of historical accuracy, facing the past, closure and many other reasons. If you have a photo with him in the background, or as part of a group--such as his family--that might work better than a wedding photo or one of the two of you together. One thing I do with people I don't like is to use only unflattering photos of them in my albums. You could also put a photo or two in a pocket page where you would not have to look at them each time you open the album. Of course not having children from the marriage makes it easier but he was still a big part of your life.
I am particularly interested in hearing what people with have children do about this. I imagine a lot of it has to do with when you are making the albums (if you keep more current as opposed to always working on the past). Also how you make your albums. Many of us tend to put in mostly the good things so it could be kind of a shock looking through an album of a "picture perfect" family and then suddenly there was a divorce. It would be a tremendous job (and probably not a good idea) to try to go back and redo the album but it could seem so odd to the person viewing the album later if they didn't know what happened. With children you couldn't very well throw the album away and I think it is very important for children (even in the most bitter divorces) to feel that their parents loved each other at one time.
In my case I am adding a couple of pages of "catch up" journaling at the point where my marriage was over emotionally (though I didn't actually tell anyone at the time and the separation came several years later). The more personal parts of what I wrote I put in pocket pages so they won't be read by someone who is casually looking through the album. I had very few photos over the 30+ years I was married that were of just my husband and me so that was a plus. I didn't make very many changes in my albums when I left. I did take out quite a bit of memorabilia and some photos that were just of my husband and put them in the album I made for him. In most cases I replaced them with extra photos I had not put in for those years when I made the albums or with poems and quotes that fit the occasion of the page. Obviously it would be more pleasant to look at my albums if he was not in them at all but taking him out of the albums would not change the fact that he was in my life during those years. And since I have children I wouldn't do that anyway for their sake.
One thing I am going to do is make some small albums just for myself. Probably one will be about my children and grandchildren, one will be about my teen years and one will be a Blessings Book.
I'd never get rid of them because teen years are such great memories, but yet I don't want to see my old boyfriends' faces EVERY TIME I look through my albums. After all, I wouldn't want to look at my husband's old lovers either!
I did a graduation album for my niece and decided to cover up her ex's face with Flip-up pics of her favorite actor! They're still there when she's ready to see them, but for now she can imagine she went to the prom with Mel Gibson! (Brenda)
I would include them in an album along with other photos from those times in your life.
A couple of ideas I have seen are a page with a series of photos of old boyfriends with a photo of your husband being the last one on the page. Use ABC stickers to write on the page "you have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a handsome prince".
Another option is to color copy all the boyfriend photos. Cut the copies up in several pieces. Display each photo with captions like "is this the one?" "could this be the one?" "is this finally the one?" etc. Next to each of the photos put in the cut up photos with a caption like "no, not him!" "no, he's not the one!" etc. Then put a photo of your husband with the caption "This is the one I was waiting for!"
Another idea would be to do a pocket page for the years that include the old boyfriend photos. On the outside of the pocket do a lot of journaling and put in the more "neutral" photos and in the pocket put the photos that involve hugging or things like that.
Here is a link to a PhotoPoint site where Carol in IL scrapped a couple of pages on her husband's heart attack. I really like the idea of journaling your feelings and thoughts at a time like this to look back on later. She also did a very nice memorial page for someone.
The Picture Me Foundation has a website about scrapbooking for children with special needs and serious illnesses. It also has ideas about photographing children with special needs. You will find a link to that site in the Special Children file.
CreativeFolk.com has a list of songs related to domestic violence and sexual assault. There are descriptions and links to lyrics or sources for many of the songs.
I can't say enough good things about the Starlite Café. It is a site for amateur poets. It has poems on just about every subject you can imagine and the site is easy to navigate. You can comment on the poems and read comments by other people. They also have links, discussion forums, etc.
There is a section called "dark poetry" that has poems written by people in troubled times. It is not nearly as depressing as it sounds as many of the poems concern recovery. Also they help you realize that, no matter what your problems are, there are others out there who understand. There are some very inspirational and uplifting poems in other sections of the site.
Be careful--you can lose yourself on this site and not surface until hours later ;-)
Note: Sometimes the links to poems on Starlite Café change but you can go to the site and do a search using the title or author.
Probably my favorite poem from The Starlite Café is The Child Who Failed. A friend that I had known all my life committed suicide in 1988. When we were teenagers he wrote great poetry but for various reasons I no longer have any of it. The poem, "The Child Who Failed", is not only very descriptive of my friend's life, but also in the style of the poetry he used to write. I will likely go back and put the poem in my childhood album next to one of the photos of him.
Here are some links to poems written by a wonderful person (Goodnesslady) that I have corresponded with. She has many poems on Starlite Cafe and you can search on her name for a list of them.
My favorites are: (the first two are not easy to read)
Finally, Just a Memory
Ignorance at What Price
For anyone who has a wonderful stepfather this is a great poem:
My Real Dad
Another person I have enjoyed 'meeting' (via email) who has poems on Starlite Café is "NOJO". Here is one of her poems that I especially found very moving--though our opinions on forgiveness vary a lot.
The Child Within Me
One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered to admire his perfect heart. There was not a mark or a flaw in it and they all agreed it was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine." Everyone looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but it was full of scars. Pieces had been removed and replaced with pieces that didn't fit quite right and left jagged edges. In some places there were deep gouges where pieces were missing. The people wondered how he think his heart was more beautiful.
The young man looked at the old man's heart and laughed. "You must be joking," he said. "My heart is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears." "Yes," said the old man, "yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, each scar represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren't exact it leaves rough edges. I cherish those flaws because they remind me of the love we shared.
Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away but the other person didn't return a piece of their heart to me, leaving an empty gouges. Although these gouges are painful, they remind me of the love I have for these people. And I hope someday they will return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?"
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man's heart. It fit, but not perfectly, so there were some jagged edges. The young man looked at his heart, no longer perfect, but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.
My life is up and then it's down.
I walk this way then turn around.
I'm not certain of the way to go
and I have to wonder if I'll ever know?
One day I'm happy and carefree.
In this world, I'm glad to be.
The sun is shining and the birds are singing,
children are playing and church bells ringing.
I look around and I can see,
all the many blessings God has given me.
The next day, I feel sad and angry.
For what has this world ever given me?
A lot of heartache, hurt and pain.
On my parade, there's nothing but rain.
Through this world, I struggle along.
Never choosing right, just always wrong!
Now how do I "really" feel?
Which is false and which is real?
These are questions in which I have no clue,
for clouded now is my point of view.
I can't seem to see things clear,
for my life has been taken over by Fear!
I'll bet you've had about enough of people telling you
how strong you are and how great you're doing during this
awful, difficult period in your life.
Maybe you'd rather hear someone say how much this sucks,
how outrageous and unfair it is.
Maybe you'd rather hear someone tell you
that you don't have to be strong all the time.
Or that it's definitely okay to curse fate and throw a tantrum or two.
So here I am to tell you all that stuff and more,
to let you know where I stand, which is right in your corner.
There's no right way or wrong way at a time like this.
However you work through this thing is immaterial to me.
All I care about is that you ask for what you need,
lean on those who love you, and try to trust me when I say
that you'll come out the other side.
(Here is a poem to think about if you have a friend who is having difficulty in their life)
Often in times of trouble
It truly is amazing
My daughter is working on an amusing project for her children. If you have Skeletons in your Closet you might want to check it out. It is near the bottom of the Relatives file.