Ghosts


Do you have ghosts from your past that just seem to just pop up out of nowhere, just when you thought they were gone for good? I do. Mine seem to come in the form of words. No surprise there, really, I guess. Considering how much I love words, it’s only fitting that my ghosts should take that form as well.

My husband will be here in a week. I’m way beyond excited. But, as has happened every time we’ve been apart, I’m starting to get nervous little butterflies. Mostly when I look in the mirror.

Does he really find me attractive? With my out-of-control hair, pale skin marred by scars from too many breakouts, ass that’s there but not as firm as it could be, nearly non-existent boobs? Is he really going to want to put up with my books everywhere? My dislike of doing the dishes after dinner or folding the laundry after washing it? My obsessions with making all kinds of things, my stashes of supplies everywhere? How can he roll over and want to kiss me first thing in the morning, when I squint at him and put on thick glasses so I can even see the clock next to the bed?

I call these ghosts because they’re the remnants of a toxic relationship, where I heard things that shredded what self-esteem I started out with and still struggle to get back, on a daily basis.

Put on makeup to go out with me. You’re ugly.
Can’t you wear something other than jeans and t-shirts? You’re ugly.
Go shave your legs before I touch them. You’re disgusting.
You’d be pretty if you tried. You’re ugly.
You could be hot if you worked out. You don’t turn me on.
Don’t knit in front of people, it’s embarrassing. You’re embarrassing.
Why do you do that (quilt, knit, spin, whatever)? Only grandmas do that. You’re weird.
You shouldn’t feel that way, you’re wrong. Your feelings don’t matter.

When we’re together they occasionally pop up, but Matt is incredibly good at silencing them. After we haven’t been together for awhile, they all start swirling around in my head again. Nevermind he’s now been with me both at my thinnest (yikes!) and heaviest weights, he’s seen me lose a third of my hair, and he’s seen me puke more times than I care to remember (still can’t handle my liquor). And he’s still moving all the way to the other side of the world to be with me. Nevermind I’ve never felt wanted the way he shows me in my entire life. I’ve never felt accepted like this. Leg hair, old t-shirts, messy hair, un-made-up face…just normal, plain me. Sure he appreciates it when I dress up, but he’s not embarrassed to be with me when I’m just normal me. He’s not embarrassed to introduce me to his friends. He likes me. Just me.

Trying to convince myself? Maybe. Remind myself? Sure.

It’s kind of not helping right now. Maybe if I turn all my mirrors to the wall. All I see is an ugly, tired-looking woman. Just a ghost.

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