Letting Go of My Past-Past Life

3 boston terriers

As the hard drive on my computer is at capacity, I’ve been forced to clear out some space in order to get my present life’s work completed. As such, I’ve been going through old photos stashed in old folders holding old memories that are taking up precious memory I need now. And as I came across the photo above, I found myself staring at it for longer than the rest of the memories that were decidedly going to remain in their old folders or get tossed in the trash for eternity.

I may not be alone in this but I find that photos of the pets {mostly dogs} I’ve had throughout my life carry & hold more of my memories than anything else. When I look at them, a little movie plays through my mind of the life I led when I loved and housed each particular pet. And since there has never really been a time in my life when I haven’t shared my space with an animal, the blocks of time are easier for my head to compartmentalize that way I suppose.

After staring for a while longer, eyes glazed over as memories washed over me, I then, of course, analyzed why and what those memories meant to me now, exactly seven years later.

These three Boston Terriers {Bella: sitting up, Boston: looking at the camera, & Billy: laying with his head down} were once mine. They sit in an antique pink chair which was once mine, in a house in the hills which was once mine as well. It was Spring of 2003, I was almost 27 and it was the house my ex-fiance and I had bought together and were remodeling. It was one of the most tumultuous times in my adult life …and by the looks on the dog’s faces, it was for them as well.

While the house was being remodeled, partially by us and partially with family member’s help and partially with hired help, we lived apart. I moved into my mom’s guest room temporarily and the ex set up house at his shop on Santa Monica blvd in West Hollywood. We couldn’t seem to compromise on our temporary living situation. He couldn’t handle it at my mom’s and the thought of bunking at his retail/workshop just brought up childhood memories of when my dad was evicted from his apartment and living out of his shop where my brother and I would have to spend alternate weekends. No thank you. The dogs were continually shipped back and forth from my mom’s house to the shop and to the new place while we were working in it. There were days in a row where we didn’t see each other. I would say buying and remodeling the house tore us apart …but looking back throughout our 7 year relationship, we were never really together.

It was 6 months before we were able to live in the upstairs section of the house, and after 2 months back under the same roof, we broke up and ended our engagement. In the separation, I took Billy {since he had been a 26th birthday gift to me} and the ex kept Boston & Bella. A year later, in another life, on the morning of my 28th birthday, a friend took Billy out for me for his morning walk and he just so happened to yank his leash loose from her hand and ran out into the street and was hit by a car and killed.

And as my past life movie played in HD through my mind, I realized how removed I was from it now and how it no longer defines who I am. My present identity is not emotionally attached to those events any longer and they have been compartmentalized to the “who I was” folder. {although Billy’s another story entirely, sniff}

I remember how devastating those times had been, how I thought I’d never move past it all, and here I am now, in a new life, the second life since even … as a new woman, completely removed from it. I wondered to myself how I got over it without knowing, as I was holding onto the anger so tightly and for so long, and then I realized it wasn’t so much of a “getting over” as much as a “going through” process and coming out on the other side …in a new life.

There are plenty of “pearls” I kept from that life …little bits of wisdom here and “what not to do’s” there which to grow & avoid repeating unhealthy patterns, is a necessity. When I think back now, unattached, I’m much more compassionate for my old self rather than angry at her for being so dumb when I thought she should have known better. I was young …and as cliche as it sounds, you live and you learn. And I definitely learned. And to throw another cliched quote into the mix, I am definitely stronger because of it.

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Addict

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Live and learn is true. Every time I look into my past, I always think “how could I have been so stupid?”

    But feeling that actually means you are a better person now! That’s progress.


  • Gwen

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I have the same feelings while looking at photos. The worst ones for me are the ones of my Mom. I think of all the things I should have said or would change now that she’s gone but I know deep down that the way it all unfolded is the reason I am the person I am today. I can use those experiences and sometimes regrets to make sure I build stronger relationships now.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. You are a beautiful strong person and it’s definitely these past experiences that have brought you here.


  • Jac

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I love that you are so candid about your life and your struggles. I get a sense of calm and acceptance about my own life when reading your posts.

  • 1 Funky Woman

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I’m so glad you shared your experiences good or bad with us. Living our past just paves the future for us. Everyone has had something bad happen that something good has come from that. I lost my mother when I was 30. She was too young and it was sudden and even though it is still painful, it was in 2002, I have learned so much about me and who I am. It sounds crazy but I do thank her for that! I love reading your blog, you are an inspiration!

  • Chicago Mom (Heather)

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    First of all that photo is precious. (I have a Boston Terrier named Leroy).

    It’s impressive how you’ve found a way to heal from past hurts in your life. I think our 20’s are a crazy time where we do the most growing (and therefore hurting).

    I feel like I’ve lived 2 lives also. (I’m a reformed party girl). 🙂

  • nicole

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    your honesty has made me cry! Who can not relate to this in one way or another. thank you.

  • Ying

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I love your Gratuitous Outfit Posts, but I love these honest putting-myself-out-there posts as well.

    I went through a relationship when I was much younger than you that changed me, changed all my views on what love is and what it is not and I learned so much. I do reflect back and think about how dark that period of my time was and sometimes I wonder how I ever pulled through. But then I realize (time and time again) that I am a much stronger woman than I give myself credit for. It takes courage to realize that you have to get up and move on from a bad relationship and true wisdom to never let it happen again.

    I didn’t know then how those times were changing me, but looking back now, I see how good it was for me, despite the heartache. What hurts is seeing other close women go through what I did and knowing that regardless of what I say, they will have to go through the same heartache I did before they pick themselves up and walk away.

  • Melissa

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    These are my favourite posts. I enjoy your candidness and your writing style.

  • Lorena

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    How touching.
    Its amazing how sometimes when we look back we cannot believe it was us then.
    I tend to think it was just another version of us …

  • Ava

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Please please PLEASE! tell me that you got a external hard drive to save cute pictures like this one, rather than delate them. 🙁 That’s how I clear out the computers memory, without losing my memories.

  • elena

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I couldn’t of said it better. You go Maegan! 😉

  • angie

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I am 44 now, and look back when I was 34 and wonder “who was that girl?” Your life will go through changes by the decade, only you have your great husband by your side to go through the changes with.

  • Kellie

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Now I’ve got that live and learn song in my head. But it is totally true. 🙂


  • Kelly@TearingUpHouses

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I can totally relate to the part of looking at old photos of your animals and how it takes you back to the place you were in your life.

    Also, I want to echo everyone else who thinks that your writing about your personal life and perspective is honest and refreshing.


  • Iva

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    oh Maegan. This is beautiful and totally MADE ME CRY. I think we all know this feeling one way or another. We leave a certain part of us behind, we live, we grow, we learn and in the end we are always better because of everything we have been through. And sure it might all sound a bit cliched, but its true. I love who you are now, and I am sure I would have loved the Maegan then as well. At the core you, have always been an amazing human being. A very strong woman for sure always- creative, beautiful, funny, and genuine. I am sorry for any pain, tears, or hurt you have been through in your past. But today you are in an amazing place, full of life, happiness and love. I am sorry for your loss of Billy. What a horrible thing to happen and even worse for it to be on your birthday. I too have always lived with animals, and now if the first time ever in my life that I an without a doggy. I feel horrible without them and dont feel ‘right’. I hope to change that soon!! I am sorry you have had to part with some of these images…but you will always carry the parts the make you smile in your heart!

    sorry way too long!!! WAY WAY!! so sorry.

  • Elle Sees

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I feel ya. There’s a closet that contains my old career (that sounds risque; I assure u it isn’t) and I can’t bear to go in there if I can help it. It hurts too much. I can’t wait until the day I can clean the place out!

  • Victoria

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Oh no, Billy! :'( This made me so upset.

    I could never get through all of that. What a terrible time. You’re a very strong woman!


  • Ciarra

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Very beautifully written and touching post. Thank you for sharing that withh us. I’m with you on our lovey cuddly pets and how much they impact our life and even define an era. I have memories of one of my teenage-years dogs and many of the memories attached to that dog center around my sad, emo teen years and all the friend-related drama I went through. So glad that era is over yet so much I miss that doggie. I’m so sorry about your baby Boston. I also had my most cherished dog ever, Chloe, my deaf Dalmatian, get hit and killed by a car. It was the most tragic thing to ever happen to me. I’m so glad though that we leave enough room in our heart for new furry friends to move in and pull on our heart strings. 🙂

  • Ciarra

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Ooops, sorry. I meant Billy, not Boston.

  • super40chic

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Chica,
    I just found your blog and I love it.
    I think you are fantastic. It is so refreshing to find people you can fully identify with. This post truly gives me hope for the future. In a time where there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. So thank you for that, and your lovely sense of style too!

  • Katie

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Its amazing to look back sometimes and wonder how you got from where you were to where you are now,

  • Anonymous

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Wow. This post came at the really perfect time for me. I read your blog daily, and it just so happens that I’m currently going through some incredibly difficult, major life changes. I know that the ups and downs in life are natural and to be expected, but it helps to read about other people who have gone through hard times and come out of them stronger and wiser. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • les filles of MODE VIVIENDI...

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    reading what you wrote made me remember my pitbull who I lost in my separation to my ex as well – it was one of the worst days in my life. Making matters even worse, I don’t even have 1 picture of her. But luckily my cat is still with me, and today after I attended my convocation I came home and gave her a huge hug and kiss for all those nights she stayed up with me keeping me company while I did all my research. Our pets are our energy revitalizers and I refuse to imagine a life without them!!
    Thanks for the great post, it was really heartfelt.

  • L

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    really lovely post in its honesty and thoughtfulness.

  • Mademoiselle Frou-Frou

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    oh no…just buy an external hard drive and you don’t have to throw away any pictures. that’s what i did…just move them off the old computer to a separate drive!
    xox alison

  • The Owl's Closet

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    maegan, thank you for sharing ur story and for ur insight:) im currently going through a rough patch and it brings me such hope to know that with time things will become better and soon i will be able to look back completely “removed” from it all. thanks again, maegan:)

  • Anna

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    It’s amazing how when you are in the moment you think it will be the end of you. Then time passes and you realize how strong you are because of what you went through.

  • Brooke

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    I totally feel you right about now…

    So sad about poor Billy 🙁

  • ebeepaperie

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    That is so sad about Billy! 🙁

  • Anonymous

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    Very sorry to hear of your loss. Memories are tricky things. Pets are the organizers of many of mine as well. An extremely insightful artist explored these ideas with his work many years ago. His name is Gerhard Richter. He would paint photographs in a slightly distorted way; some with blurred edges on the subjects, others with smears across them. Not all of these photos were of personal significance to him, but they each moved him to contemplation of some type of feeling that encouraged more thought on his part. Some of the works from his portfolio remind me a great deal of the photo you’ve posted of your beloved Boston’s. See them here:
    I think you have illustrated the feelings he tried to express about our human link to photographic imagery and what it represents to our continuity and sense of personal history or belonging. Truly powerful stuff, as is your story about the influence of memory in regard to your attachment to ideas about yourself and your identity(s) – past, present and future. This blog entry (much like all of your others) is inspired, well written, and well presented. Thank you for sharing your journey and perspective with all of us such fortunate readers. All the best…

  • drollgirl

    June 15, 2010 | Reply

    so glad you moved past this time in your life and that things are WAY BETTER NOW! if you had married that moron, you would have been miserable!

  • The Savvy Stylist Daily

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    Great post! I love how candid you were – it makes readers feel more connected. I am impressed and that is something I need to work on with my own blog. It can feel a bit vulnerable at times so I commend you. Great job! xo


  • Chessa!

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    I loved reading this. I think we all havethese moments and it’s remarkable to look back on them. You’re so strong to go back and reflect like this so openly.

  • Pretty Shiny Sparkly

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    Aww, this story made me sad and simultaneously remind myself that everyone has drama in their lives – it’s not just me! xoxo

  • Kate

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    You brought tears to my eyes with this one, I have three beautiful dogs and when I remember my childhood dog who passed away I think about how devastating it will be one day in the distant future when I lose any one of my present precious dogs, inspirational Maegan, your’re very strong. : ( and : )

  • Hanako66

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    I haven’t been very forthcoming on my blog lately about my life.. I guess it’s because it’s embarrassing to admit that you make mistakes. Anyways, I have found myself in a very similar situation as you. And I too, am happy. I’m stoked that you made some good decisions and that I am making awesome decisions. Here’s to us girl:)

  • Eva

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    i dont think that you are really over your ex fiance and relationship. i read many times your stories with your ex. if your really over it why are you still even talking about him? i would probably hate so much if my husband keep talking abour his ex fiance

  • janet.

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    I think a lot of women can relate to your last paragraph.. and yes as cliche as it may sound… its true.. we grow from our past good or bad expierences…
    You are an amazing women!I read your blog daily and I admire your strenght thru all your struggles..


  • Deborah

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    I read this a couple of days ago, but it has stuck with me.

    You really are rockin’ in the free world.

  • Tiffany

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    am absolutely moved by this post. beautifully written and even though we have different situations, I understand and I feel that way about my life too. Thanks for writing this piece.

  • Anonymous

    June 16, 2010 | Reply

    thanks for posting this. i’m trying to move on from the “who i was”. i was an abused wife. i’m still in the moving on process though. and there are many times that i don’t feel like i’ll ever be able to look back and see that woman is not who i am but who i was.

  • Natira

    June 17, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve been lurking here for a few months now and always enjoy stopping by, but felt I finally had to say hello and tell you what a lovely post this was. It’s not always easy to describe those feelings, but you did a lovely job.

  • Mae Lu

    June 17, 2010 | Reply

    Sometimes, letting go of the past entirely is the best way to grab your future.

    Obviously you don’t seem to have a problem “Facing future” as Brudda Iz would say.

    I think this was good!

    Mae Lu, thereafterish.

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