My Life As A Scrapbooker
I have been scrapbooking since I was a child. I knew nothing of the importance of using acid-free products, journaling, or using decorative elements. My focus was on putting the photos and memorabilia that were important to me in one place, so that I could look back and remember. My scrapbook was centered on the major events in my young life. The program from the school play. The photograph of me playing bassoon in the district honor band. Prom pictures, souvenir postcards and patches, an invitation to my high school graduation. As a child these were neat things to have. As a teenager these things helped me to identify myself at a time when I wasn’t sure who I was or where I was going. This was a book that was all about me. I could look at it and identify the girl who felt ugly, awkward, and un-datable as pretty, talented, and horribly underrated as a date. My scrapbook was my favorite thing and always a work in progress, as was I.
I am still a work in progress, and so is my scrapbook. I stopped scrapbooking for a long time. Photos piled up, books were empty or close to it, and I wasn’t even remotely inspired to start sorting pictures. A few years ago I was hired as a sales associate in a craft store in my area. This was my dream job! I could finger fabric, make bows, arrange flowers and still get paid! The one aisle I was not familiar with was the scrapbook aisle. It was so overwhelming. Hundreds of papers, tons of pens, and enough glue to hold a whole army of men suspended from girders by their hard hats (remember the Crazy Glue commercials?). Why on earth would you need all of this stuff to make a scrapbook? Slowly I started to learn. In my own best interest I always volunteered to demonstrate products or teach classes. My favorites were, surprisingly, scrapbook related. I loved cutting, pasting, and creating something fantastic with photos I already had. I was hooked.
I was content to be an occasional scrapbooker. Then I decided I would make a book for my parents’ 30th anniversary. I obtained photos that spanned their lives, chose papers, and set the album to music. Each lyric had a page and to my surprise the album came together very quickly and came out exactly the way I wanted. All of these things are extraordinary in themselves, but the most profound thing that happened was that I changed while doing this book. Alcoholism has run in my family for generations. This cycle has been broken with my parents’ generation, but not until I was nearly 22. When I looked back on my childhood, even with that fantastic first scrapbook that I had created, I couldn’t remember the good times we had all had together. My memories felt tainted. But when I looked at my parents as children, as young adults, as first time parents, I saw things I had never seen before. Most importantly I remembered, with perfect, untainted clarity, the good times. I cried all over that scrapbook. I laughed until my sides hurt. I was able to heal. In this most important way, scrapbooking has changed my life.
My love for scrapbooking comes from the fact that I have found my own creative outlet. I love the fact that I will always have photos to scrapbook, and now that my family has discovered this, I will be expected to. My family feels that they are lucky to have me as the “Keeper of Memories”, but I am the lucky one.
Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Scrapbooks: Moments on film and the stories too., by Joan, Mesa AZ