And there it was again. As I opened up Facebook Memories that picture stared back at me, sending a shockwave of stress and anguish through my core.
3 years on, the feelings were as fresh as the day the photo had been posted.
To anyone else looking at it, this is a lovely photo. I am posing in between two girlfriends. We are all dressed elegantly for dinner and have beaming smiles.
I looked and felt great for most of that day.
The photograph was taken in my lounge room as I was hosting a festive gathering for family and friends. My in-laws were, there as were parents of one of my girlfriends who I was meeting for the first time. Hosting people at my place for meals is one of my favourite things to do. It brings me great joy to feed people. I had been preparing for this meal for weeks, paying meticulous attention to the menu, table decorations and room set up. By the time the guests were seated, I admit I was quite exhausted, but proud.
The food was delicious and the conversation was happy and consistent, even with people at the table who did not know each other. And then, while my husband was chatting to one of the guests, I piped up with an additional anecdote to add to his story. And then It happened. My husband looked at me, raised his voice against me for interrupting, and belittled me in front of everybody.
There was a moment of stunned silence as my friends stared at me, shocked. No one called him out, not even his parents. No one knew what to do. I think someone laughed that embarrassing laugh you make when you feel the silence needs to be broken. It was like time froze in that moment.
This was not the first time this had happened. He had made a joke at my expense in front of the same group of friends just two weeks prior. It was extremely out-of-character behaviour, and that incident had left me alarmed and deeply hurt.
With the previous episode still fresh, to be confronted by this humiliation yet again, and this time in front of people I had just met, was too much to bear.
To be honest, I cannot remember the rest of the dinner. I cannot remember anything but falling silent because I did not want to make a scene. That night, my heart broke. And then it closed shut.
What ensued was a momental marriage crisis. I kicked my husband out of our bedroom, and a few months later took the children overseas without him. It took two years and therapy for my heart to heal, and for us to move forward together, much stronger.
So, when I opened up Facebook that morning and eagerly clicked Memories to see which images would be presented to delight me, this was the photo that Facebook served me. A giant punch in the face – to relive, yet again, 3 years on.
It only occured to me recently that I could just delete the post.
Loss, grief, heartbreak and disappointment hit us all the time. We use Facebook to celebrate, as well as to seek comfort.
I love Facebook Memories for so many reasons. I get to escape back to holiday destinations, remember epic nights out with friends, melt at photos of my children as babies, and see photos of relatives and friends that have passed. I get a daily reminder of my own evolution from exhausted, overwhelmed and negative mum of 3 babies, to a confident, positive and strong mother, wife, friend and entrepreneur.
How easily we have forgotten that it is we who control social media, not the other way round. We choose what we post, and have the power to take things down.
Don’t let painful memories come back to haunt you because of an algorithm. Press delete and free yourself.
Thank you for reading.
Much love, Miz.