Happy Halloween everyone! When this article is published it will be the week of my favorite holiday and we’ll be hitting peak autumnal splendor, which means it is officially my favorite week of the entire year. So far the leaves are more vibrant than I can remember in years past, the weather has been so lovely and agreeable and everything just seems to be tracking for an awesome All Hallow’s Eve. Not to mention, this year Halloween not only falls on a Saturday, but it also happens to be a full moon AND the time change, making the night even longer. I can’t imagine spookier circumstances to create the perfect celebration.
In light of this perfectly ghoulish upcoming event, I started thinking about real life creepy crawlies who might be lurking in the shadows of my own life. While everything has been on the up-and-up for me lately, I haven’t fully exorcised all the demons from my past and each time I think I’ve outrun them and drop my guard, they seize the opportunity to pop up in some form or fashion. It seems in my life it’s tough to escape the ghosts, vampires, demons and clowns.
While you might not believe in the traditional vampires of lore who exist for centuries draining humans of their blood, I can promise we all have at least one emotional succubus in our lives. Whether it’s a friend, relative, co-worker or partner, I’m certain each of us knows that one person who just seems to vacuum the good energy from your life. These types of people can be hard to shake, because the sad truth is, the majority of them don’t do it intentionally. In fact, they’re probably totally unaware of the negativity they’re carrying over into your life. Many times it’s just other human beings who are struggling through a tough time of their own and as they say, misery unfortunately loves company. I would never advocate to just start cutting people out of your life all willy-nilly without reason or explanation, but until someone wants to help themselves you can be of little service. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re repeatedly draining your own precious energy by trying to assist a toxic person, it might be time to consider backing off. You can always be there when they’re ready to make change, but you don’t have to stand by and watch them continue to self-sabotage. And remember, time is your most valuable gift and you don’t owe anyone anything. Don’t feel guilted into maintaining a relationship with the office complainer, a gossipy relative or a lackluster partner simply because it’s “nice.” People waste a lot of time they’ll never get back because they didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
Since running away to the 3-ring circus known as the dating scene, I have experienced more than my fair share of clown encounters. While most of them are affable goofs who are borderline lovable in their silly hijinks and tricks, there is the occasional run-in with a Pennywise caliber sociopath that can be a little jarring. Keep your guard up folks. Sometimes in the rotation of happy-go-lucky Bozo’s a real creeper can slip in and do some damage.
The most frightening of my personal cast of monstrosities are the ones I can’t shake no matter how hard and far I run. That’s because instead of being outside factors, these are parasites who have set up permanent residence within me. My ghost and my demon are my worst enemy, and it’s a constant battle to stay ahead of them.
I’ve done a tremendous amount of work on myself in the last year which I’m very proud of. That doesn’t mean by any stretch that the struggle is finished and I’ve got it all figured out. Every time I start to see progress that same mentality of “treat yourself” creeps back in, and very quickly my old bad habits begin to replace the new productive ones. No matter how hard I try, I am never going to be able to turn down a second glass of wine or a rich dessert at an expensive restaurant (especially if I’m not paying.) That is hardly the demon. The demon is the one who orders another bottle of wine, or whispers in my ear to indulge in that rich dessert every night for a week. The demon tries to poison my positively aligned brain with doubt and worry that leads to giving up prematurely. I hate that little sucker, but darned if she isn’t tenacious. As I’m continuing to grow as a person, I’m finding that the key isn’t to destroy her, but instead to befriend her and form an alliance. Like my momma always said, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. So I’m trying to be more kind and forgiving of myself and it really seems to keeping the she-devil at bay. Balance is absolutely the key to a happy and healthy life for me.
Finally, I would be lying if I said I’m not still haunted by my own personal Casper. Though he doesn’t pop up with the same frequency and presence as times past, I still get daily reminders of the impact he had on my life. He’s a poltergeist- even though he’s not physically visible, he’s still coming in and putting things out of place in the tidy, organized compartments of my heart and brain. Whether it’s as small as a certain song popping up on my iTunes shuffle during an otherwise lovely day that causes a small mental crash, or as big as the looming threat that I might not ever trust someone enough to experience love again, his impression is still undeniably permanent. It terrifies me because I’ve made such tremendous personal strides and yet I cannot exorcise the actions of one confused, destructive individual. I’ve got no answers to this conundrum, beyond it takes a lot more time and strength to heal than I anticipated and the only solution is more time and strength. Or maybe I just need to call Ghostbusters.
Happiest of Halloweens folks. I hope you’re able to defeat any ghouls and goblins within your own personal space. May this week offer you more treats than tricks, and I’ll see you guys in November, just in time for the scariest event in history…election day. Agghhh!!