A Ghost in my own Life…


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The title captures how I feel at present. It is unnerving. It is as if I have been condemned to wander the village, unseen and unable to join in, until I have expiated some sin I did not even have the pleasure of committing!

I cannot pack because no definite Completion Day has yet been arranged. I cannot pursue my normal autumnal activities because of the nerve-wracking uncertainty of it all. You see, since 2001, I have been a member of the village Drama Club – and have appeared in many of the productions. Usually, by October, I am into the swing of rehearsals for the Post Christmas Show – but this year, knowing I would be moving, and not wanting to mess people around, I did not even audition. So now I am in the horrible situation of knowing that the cast (which includes one or two close friends) is meeting twice-weekly to rehearse – and I cannot join in.

Delay after delay rears its ugly head, and today I am feeling particularly vulnerable, and tearful, about the whole enterprise: It feels as if I am never going to move; as if I am going to be stuck in Limbo, as a spectre haunting the disparate caves of my life, for ever.

Life in the village carries on without me. Of course it does, and so it should. But I haven’t even gone yet; this is the invidious side of it. It is as if I have disappeared without trace, and been forgotten by most, whilst still living and breathing and, occasionally, walking the familiar streets of the place I’ve lived in for so long.

I wonder if this is how ghosts feel? As they try and manifest so that they can make contact; as they work desperately on their spectral muscles in order that those they have semi left behind are able to see them, even if only briefly and hazily. I wonder if the spirits of the insecure are particularly likely to become haunted and haunters – not out of malice necessarily; simply because they find it so hard to let go and move on.

I cannot start my new life. I cannot truly take part in the old one either. Such a disturbing sensation.

There has been talk of my organising some kind of farewell do – but I am very ambivalent about this at the moment. I want to be gone. I want the process to gather pace. I want to get on with it now. But there are three or four people in the village who are dear to my heart, who are keepers – and the thought of saying goodbye to them (even if it is more of a ‘see you soon’ kind of farewell) makes me cry.

I am ready to leave. But the system, it would appear, is not yet prepared to let me go either easily or speedily.

I am like a child, who, for whatever reason, no longer attends the local school – but drifts past it longingly every day, and peeps in through the railings, and sees all the other children laughing and playing and having fun; said child has been told – and, actually, knows at some level – that the new place, the new school, will be a positive move, that there will be new friends (and room always for the beloved old ones), and that the levels of nostalgia exhibited should be offset, in a more honest moment, by the memory of many years of loneliness and sadness too, and by a weepy sense of not fitting in.

I will, of course, take myself (flaws and all) with me, and am under no illusions that moving will solve every problem in my life: It won’t. But I am also clear that being wild and unconventional and more tomboyish than girly and passionate and not always very tactful do not constitute crimes worthy of expulsion from the metaphorical playground; that there is nothing wrong with being different – and that trying to fit in with those who wish only to be surrounded by clones of themselves is never going to be a recipe for happiness.

Fear of Loss is being triggered, inevitably – but at least, these days, I can step back and look objectively at the nature of that which I fear to lose, and that objectivity starts with the basic question, ‘What, if anything, am I actually losing in this situation?’

The Ghost/Limbo feeling will pass. Soon, I hope. Traditionally, ghosts only haunt places and people that have deep emotional resonance for them – and the people who fall into that category will remain in my life anyway. Love of landscape so permeates my spirit and imagination that no place truly important to me will ever disappear.

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18 thoughts on “A Ghost in my own Life…

    1. I think continuing professional development can be just as Limbo-esque in its own way, Noah: Moving, uncertainty about new job, meeting new people and so forth. Delighted to hear that you got through it. xxx

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  1. Julie

    The universe, in the guise of fate, always challenges us to change. Transformation is painful and often leaves us resentful but isn’t it the proof that we are, indeed, on a journey?
    Like a limpet, you cling to a wall: the fortress of the known. A tsunami shows you that you can survive. The ocean is vast but it cannot drown a limpet! πŸ™‚
    Btw, do you know Emily Heller? She is worth checking online!

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  2. This is limbo. That disconnected place that sometimes we can all fall into. It’s scary I’ve been there as have many others. Thing is it’s temporary, just a passing phase. Doesn’t help but it’s still true. The key here is to focus on your primary destination, time is not the factor, time just passes. You know inside you will be fine you will arrive, and look how many people care! Most ghosts don’t have that particular luxury… Chart that course hold true and you will arrive. All else will sort itself, if in doubt call a friend get a coffee. Works for me!! xxxxx

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  3. Hi Ali, turn it on its head….you are not the ghost, they are, the village is. You are creating your new reality and keen to get on with it! The result is the old reality is receding and becoming unreal, and necessarily I dare say. Why not have a small gathering of the keepers- lunch at the pub or something. It’s a bit like a funeral, the people left behind want to say farewell…but obviously it’s only ” au revoir” as you are just down the road in reality and will see them in 40 minutes driving from Glastonbury.
    I identify totally with the limbo….we have been in this rental cottage for 18 months now while we wait for the Devon house to sell….never thought it would have been this long! Life feels on hold and another winter in this place is certain even if the house sold tomorrow….ho hum! Like you, last time I was in Hemyock I felt like a ghost, the hidden observer. I no longer belonged. Funnily enough I had an ” Ammy drammy “melancholic moment too. I saw a poster inviting people to come to the auditions for the Hemyock panto that happens at October half term. I felt a little sad, thinking about the one panto I did ( and you sawπŸ‘πŸ˜€) two years ago; felt like I was missing out on the fun and comaradery of the rehearsals and the performances themselves. But, dearest Ali, new experiences, new, and familiar, friends await. The new existence where you are not the ghost. The Ghost of Glastonbury Future is about to be reincarnated as Ali in her new lifeπŸ˜€. When I now return to Scotland, this place now feels like reality, my new home…..I live and move and breathe very much alive in this new place, learning gaelic; joined an art class and now on the committee of the Glenlivet wildlife group, as well as doing and creating what we can in order for our new house to become a reality…
    Be patient Ali, life may be on hold for the time being….but very soon a new life will be a reality….xxx

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    1. Thank you for this wonderful, comforting and empathetic comment, Dean. Your advice is spot on – and I know you understand. How strange (or perhaps not) that we both had melancholy Ammy Drammy moments recently – and, yes, I vividly recall the joy of seeing you on stage two years ago! Such fun! The Ghost of Glastonbury Future is a brilliant way of putting it, as is the concept of reincarnation as Ali in new life. Fabulous, all the ways in which you have joined in with your new community: Very positive – and, as I know from having stayed with you twice, great fun! See you soon. xxx

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    1. Thanks very much, Sue. Yes, you can indeed empathise, and always do. The calling of the North I understand absolutely – and trust is, as you say, all we can do for the moment. xxx

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  4. So sorry, that feeling of limbo is terrible. I am one that too needs to be able to move forward, I have a hard time waiting for something I know will happen to occur. And then for you to be missing out on something you’ve loved, that has got to be upsetting! 😦

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