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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Helpful Ghosts



Being back in my home-town has given me the strangest sensation; it’s like entering a time machine and meeting my past…face-to-face. I sense an eagerness to explore the dark quarters, the condemned haunts that I occupied when I led my life by raw instincts, and wisdom was a dusty book kept on a high shelf...well out of the reach of my small hands.

Up until now my home town has played host to a legion of ghosts and phantoms, resurrecting ancient fears, and sorrows…casting their exaggerated shadows across my history, leaving me shivering from the damp chill of their opened graves. I carried the heaviness of their corpses with me throughout my life…their stench reminding me of the murder of my innocence.

I was four years old when I made the most disastrous of life choices, unwittingly wandering from the safety of the Yellow Brick Road into the Forbidden Forest. A child shouldn’t have such power; but being a tyke doesn’t exclude you from the laws of free will, or protect you from the degenerate hands of society. Nothing will ever change that fateful day when I decided to move left, instead of right; it has had far reaching consequences.



I expected to confront the same dark spirits on this visit, but instead I’m being greeted by new ghosts, venerable Caspers, with gentle voices and warm hands. I welcome their assistance…while also remaining guarded, waiting for the chafing pain of childhood traumas to return; those familiar rubbings like ill fitting shoes. But it never comes. The pain has somehow evaporated, leaving a center of silence so acute that my body is buzzing with the sweet nothingness of its presence.



Little Leah’s ghost looks radiant and with high-spirited enthusiasm she wants to show me everything: the wall where she spent endless hours observing the world and waiting for life to bring her important answers. Amazingly the wall is still there, its structure stoically fixed like a tombstone defying the seasons. I sit my aged ass down, noticing the cold hard surface, fidgeting for comfort, and remembering how I used to sit for hours on this hard spot rather than returning to the desolate nothingness at home. No matter the weather I would sit, waiting for something to do, perhaps a friend would return home and invite me to share their happiness for a while.



I adjust my position and notice that from where I’m sitting I have a perfect view into Joanne J’s old apartment window. Suddenly she’s jumping on her bed, doing her Go-Go routine to Mony Mony. Sitting cross-legged on the hard wood floor I’m her sole audience member. Joanne is wearing white fish net stockings, black vinyl boots, and a yellow baby-doll pajama top. Her breasts are full for twelve years old. I’m wearing an oversized nighty. My breast buds barely cause a rise in the pink flannel gown. I’m jealous of all her jiggling and I grin when her mother comes in and snaps at her to put some clothes on.

I smile with this memory, still noticing the absence of pain. It’s as though the swelling and redness have gone out of my past leaving me to enjoy the subtle nuances of my youth...a luxury that I’m unfamiliar with.



Tipping my head back I look up through the golden leaves of a hovering maple and inhale deeply. For the first time I can say that I actually love the vibe of this place. This is where I resourcefully used paper clips and bubble gum to hold my cracked shield together. I fought off dragons with that shield. I was brave and kind. I had no way of knowing that the brooding darkness of my childhood was indeed a pressurized incubation chamber which would produce the future diamonds of my essence. It has made me who I am.

As they say, “All’s well…” But a part of me still wants to look into that kid’s courageous brown eyes and reassure her. I want to tell her that no matter how bad things may seem everything is just as it should be. And then it hits me…I just did.

55 comments:

Healing Morning said...

I'm closing my eyes and gently embracing young Leah, holding her close, feeling her silky hair against my cheek. It appears that we are both walking similar paths right now, with our childhood insistently ghosting and crowding the present. I have impending endings on my own horizon that I am not yet ready to face, but the ghosts of the past seem to clamor for me to do so. I am happy you've walked that delicate path that unites both lives, and that you're finding peace to be the unifying thread. I daresay it is some luminous, contrasting thread that stitches the two, and the pattern of the thread sings a quite harmony. A new one.

Much love to you, and Namaste', dear friend.

- Dawn

Healing Morning said...

Sings a quiet harmony! I hate typos!

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Such a painful, but lovely remembrance. You stun me with your words.

~Debbie

Julia said...

Leah...this is so deeply beautiful, I could feel every word in my deepest inside places. What a way you have of gently grabbing hold of my heart.

<3 Sending so much love your way.

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Dawn, Your words are so sweet. I grew so used to the pain that I didn't pay much notice to it. It's not until it leaves that you notice the silence. Life is such an epic journey with pain and dragons sent to teach us.
I'm keeping your haunted path in mind, sending out love and prayers. We're all the same in so many ways. I like that...no need to hide.
Love,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Debbie, I wasn't the least bit hesitant on posting this. It is what it is and it's just as it should be. It's so good to see you.
Hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Julia, I'm so glad you came. This post was probably the most personal in that I revealed my ghosts of childhood past. Funny how they lose their power to frighten.
This is all about being naked so naked I've become. You and Brooke both inspire me.
I have three more days here in MA. Maybe some snow today;)
Love,
Leah

JANU said...

Beautiful post as always.Good that you have made peace with your past and pain. You have to be strong to let go....hugs.

Leah Griffith said...

Morning Janu, yes, it was quite a gift. I thought I had made peace, but I guess peace comes in stages. This is my best peace so far.
Hugs,
Leah

Savira Gupta said...

Aww am glad that peace finally came to you... It soften the pain but allowed it to be released... You have crossed over into freedom...
Your post felt soulful..

Rimly said...

Leah that was beautiful. We all have that child in us still that still needs to be reassured and you did just that, which I am sure you had been wanting to for a long time. But like you said we all have go through the good and the bad to become who we are. Loved it

Mary said...

Home is not always what we remember it to be when we get the courage to go back and visit. It sounds like you are moving on in the right direction :)

Leah Griffith said...

Yes Mary, the right direction. I guess I've always been moving in the right direction...it just didn't feel that way. LOL!
Hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Miss Rimly, that is soooo true. We each have our bag containing a custom blend of all that we need to learn and to grow. Thank you for your sweet words.
Hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Savira, the peace is so settling and smooth. Funny how we have things tucked away inside of us that make all sorts of noises, yet we learn to live with that noise...and then when the noise is gone it's as though it never existed at all.
Hugs,
Leah

sulekkha said...

Leah, Going back and facing the past takes courage and an urge to conquer the fear and to let go of the memory.Once you have done that it no longer has the power to haunt or hurt you. Proud of your accomplishment and sending you hugs and positive emotions.

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Sulekkha, Yes it sure does take courage. I think the only way to conquer a fear is to face it. Yikes!! That can be scary. This wasn't scary at all. It flowed like a little river.
Thanks for the sweet words honey pie!!
Hugs,
Leah

Dangerous Linda said...

Truly gorgeous piece, Leah. You make me cry. And the photos are GREAT! Thank you for sharing yourself this way! Love.

Cheryl P. said...

Very thought provoking post, Leah. I struggle with "coming to grips" with my past. While part of me just compartmentalizes the problems of my childhood and try not to think about it, the older I get the more I see how those events potentially changed the course of my life. While I came out on top and have had a good life as an adult, the grown up me mournes the loss of a childhood. Someone wrote a novel based on my childhood and someone once told me it is such an interesting story. Unfortunately, from my vantage point, it's not so much interesting as it is sad.

I might say that my life's events led me to be the person I became but the truth is I grew up in spite of my obstacles and those same obstacles made the course very rugged.

Leah Griffith said...

Oh Linda, I hesitated thinking that perhaps it was too much, but that would have been dishonest of me. If I'm to communicate to others I must speak my truth. Thanks for your words of encouragement...they mean everything really.
Love.

Leah Griffith said...

Sweet Cheryl, I can't say that I came to grips as that would imply that I had some sort of power to snap out of it. I can only say that as I grew the shackles became loose...finally falling off.
I know exactly what you mean when you say that you grew up in spite of those obstacles. So did I. I don't know how I did it. I just did. Now I am safe and in charge of myself for the most part.
I mourned the loss of my childhood all of my life until recently. Now I can see that I was with me...Leah, and she was magnificent. Threaded throughout my messy life were the golden threads of love from friends and family. I see those now whereas before all I could see was the darkness.
I am so sorry for your hard start...the robbery of your childhood. Nothing can give that back to you. You're an amazing woman Cheryl. I believe that the best is yet to come. There is light where there once was utter darkness.
Love,
Leah

Jayne said...

Oh Leah! It appears that the pen, as your mighty sword, has replaced your old shield. I love that you no longer need to ward off the ghosts and goblins with that shield--instead, you've taken them straight on, aimed right at the heart, struck!, and Voila! the demons have evaporated into October's chilly air.

So very happy for you. So glad this journey has proved to be cathartic. 'Tis the thing about free will (and no one could ever fault a four year old for taking the wrong path--how on earth could a four year old know?), we always have the opportunity to revisit our thoughts, to find light where there was dark, to move forward in awe of what we've gleaned from our experiences (no matter how awful they may have been), to embrace the future and thank our past for making us a stronger, wiser person.

You're a brave soul, Leah. Yes, you are magnificent! And a good hugger, too! ;)

Jessica said...

You paint a vivid picture....It's always a journey to return home..to return to the dark corners we once left behind and explore them in a new light.

May you find peace and light wherever you go.

Leah Griffith said...

Jayne, I'm still smiling from today. I don't need to tell you how amazing it was to relax and chat.

I can't wait to see what becomes of all of our words Jayne.

Thanks for your encouraging and insightful thoughts on today's post. I told you that it was a doozie! All good...so cathartic.

:) Hugs!

Leah Griffith said...

Aw Jessica, thanks for your sweet words. Exploration is exciting and scary but in the end the discoveries we make justify the efforts we put forth.
There is always something;)
Peace,
Leah

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

We have walked similar paths. I have come to terms with my ghosts. I don't look back anymore and have peace. I'm hoping you do too. Beautiful post and blog. I'm following. I love your photos - they add so much to your story.

http://www.mariscamera.blogspot.com/

Leah Griffith said...

Mari, there are many who have walked this path who are never able to shake their ghosts. Some ghosts are there to remind me that there is much more to me, and my childhood, than the pain inflicted by others.
Thanks for the comment and the follow. I'm so glad to meet you;)
Peace at last...
Leah

Chris said...

I love this.

Of course, I lack the specific details of your personal story, but they are really not even necessary. I get it. There is something so touching in reading posts about someone's childhood, the inner core where we all come from and that we try for the rest of our life to comfort, nurture, and indulge in a way that it might not have been allowed way back when.

There is weight and release in this post, and beautiful, peaceful self-love. Thank you. Enjoy the rest of your stay in MA, and keep us posted!

And if I may add, you look like Joan Baez sitting on that wall ;)

Shreya said...

Oh, this is nice. Beautifully written. Loved it.

God bless :)

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Leah, I echo so many of the sentiments already written here about this beautiful post and am glad you were able to achieve a peace with your past.

((hugs))

Cathy said...

Heartfelt, bittersweet, a reminder that memory and the definition of home are not static things.

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Leah, you are an amazing writer! I loved the photos, but didn't need any of them to see and feel right where you were physically and within your heart and head. Such a beautiful reflection upon healing and forgiveness . . .

Blessings!

Leah Griffith said...

Dear Wonderful Chris,
I love when you visit. Yes, this was a rather cathartic post. I actually hesitated in sharing this...but not for long. I'm so glad that I did. I guess it's all part of the "letting go".
Joan Baez huh? I take that as a generous compliment. I'm heading over to your place. Put the kettle on;)
XO
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Sweet Shreya, thank you for your soft words. They mean so much.
Hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Karen, thank you for that. Sometimes when I post I have to force my finger to hit that post button...this was one of them. *grin
Peace and Hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Cathy my dear, you are so right! You always come up with these profound one liners...I like that about you.
Hugs,
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Miss Martha, you make me blush. I'm so glad that you "got" it. Your heart is so full and sweet. Thanks for stopping by and sharing that heart of yours.
Hugs,
Leah

Adriene Joyce (a.k.a Sweepy Jean) said...

You've shown that with time and reflection we have power our hurtful memories. Great write.

Leah Griffith said...

Yes Adriene, time and growth seems to work together healing the hurts. It's great seeing you again. Thanks for the post.
Hugs,
Leah

Healing Morning said...

I'm back, chickadee, because I wanted to thank you again for the beautiful words you just left me at Healing Morning. I said it there in reply to you, but you gave me solace and respite from all the mind chatter that has been haunting me in the past several days. Haunting...there's that word again. It has a lot of layers, yes? Today, my heart is lighter and you're part of the reason for that. Thank you, sweetheart. I hope that today finds you walking in sunshine as well. :)

Loving you,

Dawn

Rachel Hoyt said...

I'm glad it seems this story has a happy ending. How amazing that being back in the area hasn't been more difficult. Thanks for sharing your encouraging story!

FherYmas said...

Understanding the past and re-examining the tiny detail of where we fall...yet we manage to stand up. A sweet tale...a truly very helpful ghost!

http://artlovergroup.blogspot.com/2011/10/random-pick-008.html

Chris said...

Hi Leah,

I just had to come back and share this song with you.. Sad, I know, but somehow so redemptive, too. I hope you might find something in it for you.

XOXO

http://youtu.be/z6Ia2Hd_IvM

Leah Griffith said...

Dawn, I'm so happy to hear that! Haunting does seem to be the word of the week. Hmmm...you don't suppose Halloween has anything to do with it do you? LOL!!
Love you!!
Leah

Leah Griffith said...

Hi Rachel, I've been back before and it was always a little tricky for me. This time around it was wonderful. Thanks for you sweet post.
XOXO

Leah Griffith said...

Chris, that song was perfect. I did find something in it...something more. <3

Leah Griffith said...

Fher...she was very helpful;)She used to scare me but now I understand. Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to read my post. You're very thoughtful.
XO

Julia said...

Leah...I never walk away from here untouched. Oh my. My emotions are all over the place today and your words helped put things in perspective.

These words: "control is but an illusion, and how love, the most powerful of forces, somehow makes up for our lack of control." Oh wow.

I'm walking away fuller--thank you for that, for you.

With love,

Julia

Leah Griffith said...

Julia, We're an emotional lot aren't we. I'm glad that you found something worth taking away with you. <3
Peace,
Leah

Julia said...

I just noticed I posted my comment under the wrong post! Oh well, just glad you got it.

Enjoy your Thursday, dear person,

Julia

Leah Griffith said...

Julia, that was my fault. I somehow screwed up when posting...the HTML was off. Sorry honey. I think it's fixed.
Sometimes I just want to gab with you! LOL!!

melissa said...

I loved how your story unfolded in this post Leah. I get to know you more and more deeply. And I could totally relate with your story.

When I came back home after ten years of absence, I knew I'd be meeting again the ghosts I've left behind ~ but the moment of your homecoming was just right. You were ready to face them and I 'm so glad you met benevolent ghosts too.

I grabbed your line and reassured myself, 'Everything is just as it should be'.

Thanks for sharing this...

PORTIA said...

Hauntingly beautiful!
-PORTIA

Leah Griffith said...

Melissa this visit was very cathartic. I was ready to embrace my past. Of course like all people there will be new ghosts to face and come to terms with but this is proof positive that it can be done.
Everything is just as it should be has become my mantra;)

Leah Griffith said...

Thank you sweet Portia;)

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