Sunday, January 06, 2008

ghosts (this is a long one!)

"People come and go in life, but they never leave your dreams. Once they're in your subconscious they are immortal" ~ Patricia Hampl

There is a closet in the room that was once mine that is full of my things. Every time I come home I cull it a little bit more. Each time I arrive I have changed a little bit so some things have greater meaning for me and others have lost it. I am amazed at my former self when I do this and ask myself WHY I still have a baseball cap from high school or a broken piggy bank? Why have I not thrown them out during the twelve other times I have done this?

This time I did something I have never done before. This time I tackled my letter box. Since I was about fifteen I have kept every letter I have ever gotten. The box was full of letters, old photographs, school notes still folded up to look like stars, birthday cards, and post cards. I thought I would just throw most of them away but as soon as I opened one envelope, I was transported. That box didn't just hold paper. That box held ghosts.

There were letters from friends who I can't even picture any more. There were birthday cards from my grandparents. I teared up when I read, "We love you, love Grandma and Grandpa" because I will never get a card like that again. There were letters from two of my friends who are now gone. Their ordinary lives and youthful exuberance filled the pages and I cried, knowing what I know now about their future, and realizing how much of my time I am wasting.

There were love letters there, too. One set were from a particularly horny boy who I can't even picture any more. I laughed when I read them because my naive teenage self had no idea what he was writing, but I sure do now! There were others too. I shake my head because I always felt lonely and ugly and awkward as a teen. I had mad crushes on the boys who would never love me, but didn't realize that there were boys who had mad crushes on me. How sad that part of being young is.

One set of letters and notes was from the boy who adored me and who I loved back. I know now that I was too scared of those feelings to tell him or act on them. I was scared that he might want to (gasp) have sex with me and I was terrified and not ready for the hugeness of what we could have been. I know I hurt him dreadfully and I will forever be sorry for that. I hope he has forgiven me.

There were notes and letters from my family and from people I am still friends with. All of this childish angst and excitement and energy was contained in the box. I felt overwhelmed by the spirits and memories swirling around me as I opened each envelope and revealed what was inside. All of what I was and who was important to me washed over me and I felt wobbly and shaken when I was finished.

I kept some of the most precious things but I admit that I threw a lot of it away. It may sound strange to you but I feel lighter and older since letting those energies free. I feel like somehow I was carrying all of that stuff around with me and now it's gone. I've chosen what to keep and what to remember and what to let go of. I'm so excited to get my teeth into a new year. I feel like I have made a space in my life for new spirits to enter. This year I am going to marry my best friend, finish (and hopefully sell) my book, be part of a website launch (with global domination, of course) and hopefully change this world a little bit for the better.

I'm ready.


dreamergirl said...

I'm so ready too to kick some 2008 ass!!!

I just loved this post. and that's so true!

Much love to you xox

Amber said...

Oh, this is neat. And a little magic, huh?
I found a box awhile back, and in it were all these notes I had passed in class during highschool. I forgot I even kept that stuff! And the fact that I didn't lose it with all my In it were letters and notes from my friend who died in the accident I was in. Her big,beautiful loopy writing! Her voice. Her spirit. *happy sigh* Oh, it made me smile through my tears.


chest of drawers said...

Oh those old letters...I used to keep so much from my past aswell but whenever I felt ready I would read some things, feel whatever there was to feel, throw them away and move on. I remember one bundle of letters that I received from a man I was in love with. They were so romantic and I thought I would keep them forever but in the end, I sent them all back to him after he broke my heart, that really set me free to move on. You are going to have a wonderful year.

caroline : my pocket said...

This post really made me think. It is so important to create space for new things to come into your life. I've just come back from my family in Sweden and had planned to bring back my box of old letters with me but I forgot them... I'll ask my mum to send them.
I was inspired by you reading through them and revisiting the ghosts and then setting them free. Made me smile.

Kerstin said...

I, too, still have almost every one of the letters I ever received. In fact, I have two chests filled with letters and photographs spanning four decades.

If this brought up ghosts for you imagine being handed a stack of letters that YOU have written over time! That's what happened to me when my grandparents died. My grandmother had kept a file on each of her grandchildren, with our letters, postcards and pictures that we had drawn as small kids. My file was the biggest because of all the letters and postcards I had written while living and traveling abroad. It is now one of my most treasured possessions.

Here is to new spirits and a great 2008!

pERiWinKle said...

And we are all standing right next to you doing it all!

You go girl! xx

Jessie said...

Your world is so incredibly full of potential! Yes, this feels good to read.

As for your box of I was also digging through boxes in my closet. I was looking for a photo that I took in India, but in the process of finding it I also found old letters. I've always saved letters. Will I ever be able to get rid of them? I'm don't know. But I think that it is interesting that you were not only able to let some of them go, but that the act of doing so made you feel lighter and older.

I will say, my dear, that you should pat yourself on the back for doing such a good job of cleaning and lightening your load. Wow--just think how good it would feel to get rid of all the things that are no longer necessary.

lots of love to you,