A few years ago, when it was first announced that Polaroid film was being discontinued, I bought a boxful on Ebay. I knew that it wasn't going to be around forever and I wanted to make sure I could document my adventures this way for just a little bit longer. I used to carry my camera with me all summer long, bringing it to parks, to parties and on road trips, mostly taking pictures of my friends, graffiti, and interesting signage.
I made two zines of my photographs - issues #18 and #23 of Culture Slut (the latter can still be purchased through Marching Stars Distro and at Quimby's Bookstore).
Sometimes I see my life inside a Polaroid frame. Everywhere I go, my eyes are peeled for interesting sights, and I can imagine exactly how I'd take the photo if my camera were in my hand. Just the other day, my phone had to suffice when I had one of these moments.
Throughout these years, I'd been keeping my film (both Polaroid, and 120 film for my Holga) in the refrigerator. The temperature keeps the film longer (anyone who's used expired Polaroid film knows what I'm talking about - here's an example of a photo taken with expired film). I had about twenty or thirty Polaroid exposures left in the fridge, and my plan for this summer had been to use them all up and be finished with them forever. Admit that it was a simple and fun phase in my life, and move on to play around with my Holga some more. I know that The Impossible Project sells corresponding film, but it's too expensive and I'm not really interested in it anyway - I've read stories of people's images simply fading away after a few months. Maybe I'd make another zine out of my Polaroids and that would be it.
But now my film is gone. My Polaroid film, and a whole ice cream bucket full of 120 film. It was accidentally left behind when I moved, and now my ex refuses to return it to me. In fact, it's likely that he simply threw it in the garbage along with my other things (please do not let my suspicions be proven true, I will cry and cry). Taking away my film... taking away the things that I use to create. Isn't that equal to me taking his guitar, or the paper on which he writes his songs?
I've never had a breakup like this before. I've always remained friends with my partners; or civil and well-behaved at the very least. And it's actually kind of surreal, because he's changed so much over the past few weeks that I feel as if he is a stranger. A vindictive, vengeful, immature stranger. Like I was in love with a dream or a fictional character or a ghost this entire time. I don't hate him, and in fact feel no ill will toward him, mostly because I feel like I don't know him at all. But I'm annoyed by him in the same way that one would be annoyed by a child throwing a temper tantrum, or mosquitoes who buzz around your head as you try to sleep. I am sitting here, bewildered, wondering How can I end this? Yet there is no end in sight. All I want to do is collect my things and disappear, but he won't allow it. He is drawing out this breakup for some inexplicable reason. Maybe an attempt to cling on to what little power he has left over me. I wish he would just give me my stuff and let me go.
I myself am trying to learn how to let things go. I've gotten better at it lately. I got rid of all my cds, all my records, half my dvds, a whole bunch of unused craft supplies and a garbage bag full of clothes. I've been giving away my books. I listed my guitar and several typewriters for sale on Craigslist. The dumpster divers of my neighbourhood must love me, because I've been throwing away some pretty cool stuff. I put my least favourite typewriter out behind my building and it was gone within an hour. Soon I will rid myself of much of my zine collection, by packaging them up and offering them at the price of postage. I will be fine living in a room with nothing but my bed, my laptop, my cat and some notebooks.
I let friends go, too. I am good at cutting toxic people from my life, most of the time. Maybe one day I'll forget that I was even in love. Or be lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who loves me, and not just the idea of me.
"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." -Marilyn Monroe
In other Polaroid news, check out this one of Kurt Cobain with his kitten. Awwwwww.