The Ghosts of Our Pasts

Sometimes your eyes see things they don’t believe, can’t believe.  Things they never thought they’d see, never wanted to see.

ghosts of our pastI saw a ghost.  A real, swear to the dude in the sky, ghost…

It wasn’t that loser Casper, or even some rich widow from the 19th century like it seems every ghost is.


I mean that person from your past.

That person.

The one you never thought you’d see again.

The one you never wanted to see again.  Or maybe you did.

The one whose very presence stops you in your tracks.  Stops the beating of your heart, the draw of your breath.  And all life pauses for that single moment.

You’re speechless.  You’re frozen.

You can’t think.  You can’t muster a fucking word to say.

It’s a ghost.

But it’s real.

And everything you hoped you’d forgotten, and everything you’d imagined you’d say, comes flooding to your mind.

Except you can’t say a thing.

You can’t do anything.

You can’t move.

And in an instant you’re transported not just back in time, but back in life – to when you were someone wholly different; someone you never wanted to feel like again.  Like this person you thought you’d never see again.

And in that moment, the reality of just how much everything has changed stares you in the face.

How much everything has changed since you knew this person.

How much you’ve changed.

And the work, and pain, and tears you’ve put into yourself feel like nothing, worthless, useless.  Because for that brief moment, you are that person again.  And it sickens you.  And all you had done to change, to be different, to be better seems for naught.

Except it’s not.

Cause when that moment passes – when they pass – everything returns.

Everything is as it was only moments ago.

And the feeling is gone as soon as it came.  And you realize you are fine, that you are better, that there’s nothing to fear, no one to fear.

And in that instant the ghost loses its power over you, and you regain the power in yourself.

For the longest time I feared it, that this encounter – that seeing this ghost – would put me in relapse; that it would reveal to me that nothing’s changed in me at all.

But that feeling of the old me was gone as quickly as it came – like the ghost was gone from my thoughts as quickly as she had come.

I had an amazing night

Despite the encounter.

As if I had never run into the most terrible ghost of my past at all.

I was myself – my new, better self.  Like I’ve been since that ghost terrorized my life.  Like I’ve been since I realized ghosts aren’t very powerful at all.

And that’s how you see that you have changed – that the wave of fear, of dread, of relapse is but a ripple over the ocean – immovable, eternal.  Where before, that wave – any wave – was a tsunami over the straw and wood home that was your soul.

These ghosts exist in the lives of us all.

The past doesn’t always stay in the past.

Some part of me, though, feels as if we are destined to be revisited by these people.

That we’re supposed to.  That we’re meant to – as a reminder of where we’ve come, where we are, and where we have yet to go.

I’m glad I saw my ghost.

It’s no longer real to me.


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