Day 64 – Walking with Ghosts

I’ve just been checking my heart. There’s not as many cracks as I remember. The road trip got me looking at again, I’d been too busy to pay much attention to it.

I’m back at the site of The Big Break-up. I’d walked for hours through this landscape, dumping my grief as I went. There’s tears in them there hills. And snot and rage and loss and an endless fear of being still – like the pound of my feet was all that was keeping my heart going. If I stopped, I’d …stop. Up until then I didn’t know losing someone could make you feel physically ill, it gets you right in the guts. I couldn’t eat for days.

I walk through these hills again. The landscape has changed but little. I’ve changed a lot. Still, I can feel the ghosts of my grief coming down to tag along. I left them behind, and now they’re catching me up. Maybe I’ve carried them all along, brought them here so they could come back to life.

It’s not so much the baggage, it’s the shrapnel. Emotionally eviscerated. Torn wide open, who you are, what you thought was your life, blown wide open. A big gaping wound that hurts to breathe. You don’t think the pain will ever end, don’t think you can bear it. But you can. It heals. Slowly, filling in from the edges, like a tree with a broken branch. It takes time, but the gap closes.

It’s the bits left behind, the debris grown over in the rush to heal. It’ll fester until it comes out. Shrapnel. There’s bits festering in me, old fears from old memories, triggered by a new man. It’s not his fault, he doesn’t know, he’s probably working on bits of his own. But in learning to risk again, to love again, is the remembrance of how it went wrong, a desire to not go down THAT path again. But still you have to go down SOME path, and you can’t see much ’round the bend until you walk it.

So I walk these paths, with these ghosts. Remember who I was …and who I am. Remember everyone is different, it will be different, in part because I’m different. Find gratitude for the man who makes me feel the things that scare me, so I can look at what they are, make friends with old ghosts, and let them go.

11 thoughts on “Day 64 – Walking with Ghosts

  1. Hearts. We need them everywhere. Close to our hands, tipping our tongues, connected to our telephones, sitting on the tables between us, ringing the alarm clock, catching our heads on our pillows. Hearts in your boots when all you can do is walk, hearts years later, pulsing in your scars. So true about the festering debris. (That’s why you shouldn’t dip your chips in the hummous container… put it out on a plate.)

    I want the rest of my sexuality back. That heart is connected to many others. Or maybe I’m just picking at every salvaged string, hoping that one of the fishing lines connect.

    In a way, buried is like healed. When I forget. When starting to remember brings all of my condolences. Maybe next lifetime. Maybe watching me fight helped someone else. Maybe for the children. Years of trying to function without something, something that’s not missing, something that’s just twisted broken burnt and bounced. Elusive wound.

    Many of my other conflicts have healed when I wasn’t looking. Shame and betrayl and bitterness remembered like small print. But is repression different? Buried is not like healed at all.

    Tell me that recovery is possible. But maybe you don’t know.


    1. Recovery is possible. It may come when you least expect it. For everyone it is different. You are right that repression isn’t the same as healing but it’s one path to healing. The burying has to come with momentary emergence and the emerging comes when something triggers it. And when it emerges and you can actually smile, then you know that the healing has started. Or when the jaggedness seems more rounded and you don’t catch yourself on the edges then you know that the ocean of time has eroded the sharpness. And when your heart beat is regular, rhythmic and quiet, the scar tissue has become strong yet flexible again and the wound won’t pulse quite so much.

      Something that has helped me was that I made a decision that I wouldn’t hang on to the hurt, guilt, betrayal, the brokenness, etc….Sure there are times that I get twinges of all those destructive things, but when I repeat to myself, that I don’t want those things in my life anymore, the mantra helps me move through and away more quickly than before. I’m done with wallowing.

      For me, regaining my sexuality was about finding the sensuality within myself. It was about enjoying myself as a sexy woman. Singing, dancing, dressing sexy. It didn’t matter if anyone was there appreciating it because I was having fun with it. And some day maybe the right guy will come along and see how much I enjoy myself and will want to share in that enjoyment. This is the first time I’ve ever entered a store like La Senza and Victoria Secret. I actually found something I felt both sexy and comfortable in. Comfort and sexy…that was a sign that I was feeling better about being a sexual and sexy being.

      Good luck with your road to healing. You are not alone.


      1. This is the first time I’ve ever entered a store like La Senza and Victoria Secret. I actually found something I felt both sexy and comfortable in.

        Comfortable AND sexy… ’cause nothing says NOT sexy like fidgetting in ill-fitting unmentionables!


      2. I appreciate your reply more than I can say.

        The thing about being gaybashed, mostly verbally, for years by some dozen people, I didn’t have any role models. I heard about pride so I tried to hang on to pride, but it’s totally part of shame and arguing. After a while I spent a lot of time anticipating abuse, strategizing, arguing. And at the same time trying to see their side of things so that I’d be the better person, comparitively. It’s not healthy to try to get inside the heads of people who hate you – or especially, who are choosing to create their hatred for you. But it’s an important survival skill for most ongoing situations.

        Support was sometimes strange, contorting, too. So many people wanted me to deny, to change my mind, wanted to defend me by saying I was straight. That also scared me. Defiance, pride, fear. I chose to hang on to some friendships by not lying, but not arguing, and letting a friend assume. We were all kids. I thought I’d survive but I thought I’d never really have a girlfriend. Then I continued into adulthood with nothing to build on except that base. Into shame, and of course, pride.

        I don’t know what would happen if I let go, I don’t know if all those condemnations I fought would come rushing in. In many ways it’s nice to feel far away from those years. But I know that I started repressing hard core then, messed up my relationship to desire. All this doesn’t feel like wallowing, it feels like balancing, keeping a breathing space, vigilant, changing the placing of the edges.

        I guess I could talk to those selves, find out what my selves want. Why not to let go, how to let go. Maybe I need somewhere to land, when I fall, if I let go. I still lack role models.

        Thank you, Donna.


        1. Sounds like you are starting to figure things out and that you are your own role model. There is a Navajo saying that goes something like this: You are the person you want to be…now. All we have to do is know who we want to be…and be. Simple yet not.

          Like I’ve mentioned before in other of Valerie’s musings, I get a lot of insights into myself from the strangest places. This time around it has been the Tao of Pooh. Sometimes it’s been from reading murder mysteries. Sometimes it’s the way someone responds to some situation. Sometimes it’s from watching a bird or a gopher or a leaf bending in the breeze. It all goes into knowing who I am, who I am striving to be.

          That’s why I’ve decided to cast off the robe of the ill fitting negative. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t want to be around that stuff anymore. It can be there but I don’t have to cling to it. I’m in a a better place just letting it be on the sides and surrounding myself with the simpler, less destructive emotions.

          Change is always scary. No matter how dark we get, if it becomes a pattern it is easier to hang on to that familiarity. Fear can be both a useful tool to instigate change but it can be a powerful tool to paralyze us from change. It just takes one small step to move through fear and into the door of the new.


          1. There’s a Te of Piglet, too. I read them very long ago. I remember liking the first part of Tao of Pooh the best.

            For me sexuality is isolated from most else. Though what you were saying about sensuality suggests connecting worked for you.


            1. Yeah, I liked the Tao of Pooh best. The Te of Piglet seemed to be full of anger.

              Good luck with the sensuality/sexuality thing. We all find our own way. We just have to be open and patient. “It” usually comes when we stop looking for it.


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