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There comes a time in this life when one realizes that sometimes some things just have to burn. I had this realization recently as I stood looking at a huge box I have been carrying around with me for over two decades. This is equivalent to half of my life! Half of my livelihood that was defined and weighted down by memorabilia that served no real purpose but to punish myself. Pictures, journals, letters and keepsakes…the irony of that last word. This box of shit that has been polluting my quality of life while quietly taking its place on a shelf.

During moments of defiance I have ripped off the lid to this box thinking I was winning the fight against everything that existed inside. But, with each look at its contents I was left emotionally shattered and physically incapacitated by my little trip down memory lane. My moments of bravery quickly reduced to a once again shattered heart that felt each word written on paper as if it was just spoken by those who delivered them years ago. Each image met with rising fear, anger and sadness that was buried long ago. With each confrontation, I found myself slamming the lid back on as if trying to frantically contain hell itself.

Until today. Today, I stood over this box. I listened to my inner voice deep down inside saying that enough was enough. No more would this box continue to torture me. No more will I need to remember all that tarnished my past. No more will I let this define me and stop me from becoming my truest, most beautiful self. These contents are part of my story, but no more will they be allowed to poison who I am becoming.

Tonight this box of shit lit up the night sky. Each page transforming to ash from the fire that consumed it. As each page caught fire there was a brief moment of panic. A voice that said, “What have you done?! This is who you are! How will you remember, and worse, what if you forget?” But, as I quieted that voice with reassurance I felt a strength and resolve take its place. My lungs seemed to expand and my soul seemed to soar. The floating pieces of ash were all that was left of what was once the most terrifying pages of my life. How small and frail it all was now. As the wind and water lifted each piece away, a lighter and more powerful version of myself emerged.

#Empowering #ShannonWagner #SoulPrintPhotography #Maryland #writing #blog #fire #letitburn #release #truth

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