I am one who enjoys structure: knowing which classes I go to on what days, having a set syllabus, and knowing what to expect. But, when I lost my external hard drive, I felt as though I lost a piece of myself – my childhood photos, every single family holiday, my photography. I was the idiot who relied on my external hard drive as I rely on laughter to get me through the days. I cried. My parents tried to calm me down, but I couldn’t find myself continuing without what was on that piece of welded, circuited metal protected by a plastic housing.
When I first got my external hard drive, it was called “My Passport.” I thought it was a funny name for something that held my entire life’s memories – the abundance of my childhood memories, the photos of family that I’ll likely never see again – like stamps on a passport. The only thing I have now are the photos that are posted to the Internet forever: the embarrassing fifth-grade selfies, photos of a field trip to Busch Gardens in eight grade, photos of me and my first boyfriend. And for once, I was grateful for being part of the “Selfie Generation.”
Sure, the photos are embarrassing, but if I delete them, who is sure to know where they go. Is it to the graveyard of disassembled pixels, meaningless in the abyss of computerized 0’s and 1’s? Or is it the deep web, where predators hide under dark cloaks, collecting the photos of memories to those who are lost? Perhaps they stay in Heaven, alongside the gods and goddesses to remind them of what life on Earth was like.
But they were gone forever. My parents’ memories struggle to maintain the pace of my younger sister and I’s ever-growing lives. And soon enough, the day will come when my mother won’t remember the passcode to her phone, or the faces of the people that lit up her lock screen.
And for that, I dread being part of the “Selfie Generation,” where our only memories rely on the Internet. My house is full of stacks of photo albums of my pre-birth to when I was around the age of 5. For now, and in the future, Alexandra from the age of 5 to 16 is forever lost in the abyss of wherever-lost-photos-go-to-die. And on the seventeenth birthday, I remember never to trust a piece of metal to hold the memories that last you a lifetime.