For those of you unfamiliar with the Indigo Girls, that title is actually a quote from one of their songs. I like it because it saying that we aren’t taking pictures of people who are privileged by spending time with us long enough to get a picture taken, but we take pictures to preserve our own memories.

On Facebook, a girl I was friends with in fourth grade posted a picture of me.

I was totally creeped out.

But not for a reason you would think.

I was not mad that she put a picture of me up without permission(although some people get like that, I don’t care. I think if someone thinks so much of me to put my picture on their page, then I should be honored and not pissed). I was freaked out because I don’t remember that picture being taken.

I was in fourth grade, so obviously, I wasn’t drunk or in any other kind of mind altered state that would make me forget a picture being taken.

I actually posed for the picture and I had a sort of smile on my face.

The picture obviously happened…because there it was…captured forever.

I am scared because I don’t remember the picture happening. I can’t even remember the classroom I was in when the picture was being taken.

Granted the picture was taken in 1985 and that wasn’t one of the best years of my life. So I can understand my mind blocking a lot of that year out.

However, I had that smile on my face.

In a year with such horrific pain, I found something to smile about. Yet, I couldn’t begin to tell you what it was that made me smile.

Sure, I could spectualte that I was happy I would never have to go to that school again (I was transfering to public school the next school year).

It scared me to look at that picture. At first I laughed because I looked so much like my sister. But then it started to sink in just who I was looking at in that photo.

I was nine years old. Not four months ago from when that picture was taken, I buried my father.

I want to go back in time and warn that little girl. She had no idea what pain life still had in store for her. I wanted to tell that little girl, who was sort of smiling, to remember what made her smile in that photo. That way, when things started hitting the fan, she could recall that memory of the day someone said something to make her smile and then maybe whatever was happening won’t hurt so damn much.

I could tell that little girl that her dad’s death wasn’t her fault. He didn’t drink because of her and he just had things in his life that he couldn’t deal with. It wasn’t that he didn’t love that little girl enough to stop drinking. It had nothing to do with her.

Her mother’s death wasn’t her fault either. She didn’t make her mom’s brain explode. Just because that little girl didn’t give her mother CPR didn’t cause her mother to die. She wasn’t a bad kid that stressed her mother out. Her mother died from a broken heart and spirit. That little girl would never be able to repair the damage her father caused when he died.

In a year filled with pain, I found something to smile about. It seems that I have always had this muted strength. I have always taken the things life has given me and just worked through the pain. Sure, I suffered and fell down. I’ve tried to kill myself more times then I want to ever admitt to (I was always trying to get back to my father and just ask him what I did wrong…I know now it wasn’t anything I did) and yet I am still here.

I grew up faster then everyone else because that was my life’s destiny. I only had a few more years with my mother and I thank God I never fell into drinking or drugs. I couldn’t live with myself if I gave up that small amount of time I had left with my mom because I was drunk or high.

That picture of me…it’s funny. Even back then I was a fighter and I didn’t even know it. That’s why we have pictures.