Finding Value In Unpleasant Memories

I was going through a stack of prints the other day and I came across some photos I took during my first year in Nashville.

That was a rough time, for a lot of different reasons. I don’t look back on it with much fondness, so I was tempted to toss the photos away. But something stopped me. And like any dedicated scrapbooker, I created a layout instead.

This commute was one of my hardest adjustments after moving here. It was taking to me to a job I wasn’t happy with, so I had a terrible attitude about it. It seems kind of silly now. I mean, look at the photos. Could there be a prettier place to be driving through? I didn’t know it at the time, but I would be laid off from this job and the commute would be over. That’s when things got a whole lot better!

With the perspective I have now, I know that these photos and this story isn’t really about the commute. It’s about perseverance. It’s about getting to the other side. It’s a reminder that even though things seem horrible right now, this too shall pass.

I’ve always been an advocate of scrapbooking both the good and bad of our lives. My scrapbooks are not just about all the fun times. I also document the adversity and challenges too. I realized as I looked at these photos — if there is value in the lesson, go ahead and document it. Even if the memories are uncomfortable.

More Design Details

  • If you have a group of sequential photos like this, consider scrapbooking them in this type of timeline fashion.
  • I don’t have to fill in too many details, because the different times across the top expresses the most important point, how long it’s taking to get from Point A to Point B
  • Because there are so many photos taking up the space, a page like this does not need a whole lot of embellishing.
  • Paper strips across two pages helps to unify the both sides of the layout.
  • Bringing in a second color helps break up the long title and makes more interesting.

Do you have any tips for creating layouts about unpleasant memories? Do you go ahead and document them or skip them altogether?

Thanks for stopping by today!

19 Comments

  1. I really like this idea! It’s important for us to scrap the good and the bad, and you used these photos in a great way. This could be done with so many different ideas, so thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

    Jennifer

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  2. Nice layout. I can’t imagine having to face that kind of commute to a job I didn’t like. I’m not real thrilled with my job, but at least it’s an easy commute.

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  3. What a great idea! Love the way you did the journaling.

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  4. That is a great idea for a layout! And I agree in that we should scrapbook the good, bad and ugly. That way our scrapbooks mirror what life is really like. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree with you on the good and the bad. I also think that scrapbooking the bad takes a little perspective and you might not be ready to document it right after it happens. I find it’s actually better to “sit on it” for a while until you can reflect.

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  6. Wonderful journaling and insight! Love your layout!!! xoxo

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  7. Great LO – love the timeline idea, know the feeling of not great job and a long commute…and the wonders of looking back and seeing all that you have learnt even when times aren’t so good. It’s fab to have a thing that wasn’t so great at the time displayed in such a beautiful way.

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  8. Love your layout and all the journaling… Thanks for sharing. Hugs

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  9. Love this layout. You did such a great job.

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  10. what a wonderful layout and i totally agree that scrapping the good and bad is a great thing to do!

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  11. This was a challenge. Scraping the unpleasant thing is therapeutic and helpful to see how life changes over time.
    Good job!!!

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  12. Great layout and tips! Bookmarking this blog-love it!

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  13. hmmm… I have to say, being totally honest, that No, I don’t think we need to scrap the bad things that happen… I scrapbook photos of events I want to remember, places we go, and photos that I think capture the spirit of our daily lives, our personalities, and our pets’ personalities. Those are the things I want to look back on in the future, not the bad things. (reflecting back on those events at some future time is a slightly different perspective, but is still hard for me to address– our first dog died unexpectedly last summer, and I still haven’t been able to scrap any photos of her. I know I need to, but I really wish I had done some before she passed away, so it wouldn’t be such a difficult thing for me to face, with this perspective.)

    As for it being “theraputic” to address the bad things, for that I have my journals; I do art journaling, and write/collage out the “bad stuff” in there, but even then, I don’t ever go back and reflect on what I’ve written. Not scrapping them doesn’t mean I’m avoiding them, or anything- I just don’t see that my entire life experience has to be captured in my scrapbooks; maybe I’d feel differently about that if I had kids that I would be leaving my SBs to (to give them part of my “history” as it were, but I don’t; I SB strictly for me, so I SB the good stuff.

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  14. I love that you did this! Even if we don’t have photos of the “bad” things, we could do layouts with journaling. Beautiful job!

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  15. Very clever!!! I love this design!!

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  16. I too scrapbook the good, the bad and the ugly…when I get around to scrapbooking 😉

    Love your time line you did on this layout.

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  17. I also believe in scrapbooking the good with the “bad”.
    Thankfully it’s been more good 🙂
    Your layout is a great example and you have such a good perspective on the situation now 🙂

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  18. I love the timeline design and good for you for documenting something difficult. I think your family generations from now will find it interesting to read about your commute.

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  19. great way to scrap these photos! And although it’s not the happiest memory to go with, it is a part of your life. So I love the fact that you scrapped these photos! great job!

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