Jennifer 12/10/14 Ghosts of the Past

glassesGhosts of the Past


Dear Jennifer,

Ghosts assail you from every direction. Ghosts of bad decisions, of limited options. Ghosts of oppression and doubt. Memories bumped up your anxiety in the night…and the day, and the twilight and the dawn.

The husks of poor coping skills lie everywhere, tripping you as you try to walk through the memories with your head held high. But like smoke, the higher you hold yourself, the more you choke.

Life sucks sometimes. You’re not always going to make the right decision. The dog-and-pony shows sometimes require more than a stiff upper lip—sometimes they require every ounce of your strength. Your internal strength. The strength you have to realize when you’re making your life worse for yourself.

After all, the oppressive weight of those nightmare years is all in your head, as are the ghosts of bad decisions past. They are not the gray ceiling that passes for sky here. They are not the cold, sticky wind that reaches into your clothes and chills your bones. You create these associations, and you alone.

Your judgments are yours, too—no one can see them but you. No one knows if you weren’t the best mother you could have been except you. No one knows that you battle the demon of overeating except you. No one knows you pick your scabs.

People may be silently judging you (or right out loud, in some cases), but their judgments are theirs. You can’t see them or feel them, not really. You only create the feelings you have about the judgments you think they’re having.

It’s a complex little world you’ve created in your head, and it’s not real.

This place is just a place. This court, just a court. The sky is just a sky, and although it is that dismal shade of clinical depression, you know there’s a blue sky above it and that’s where you live: above it.

Ghosts rattle their chains in the silent space between your ears, and whenever you wish, you can stop them. Because who you want to be in the future is who you can be right now. You don’t have to wait for the plane ride home. You don’t need to have been perfect every day of your life. You simply need to choose to be a great mother right now. A great person. A person who holds her head so high she’s above the smoke. And there’s no need to be arrogant, because you know everyone does the same thing, and can choose what you’ve chosen: change.

And when the ghosts of the past try to assail you once more, when the husks of bad decisions try to gather around your feet, they won’t be able to find you, because you’re not that person anymore.


To read more letters, click on The Path!

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