The Ghosts of Our Lives

Photo by Ash Fuentes and Tracy Fuentes

By Tracy Fuentes

Okay, I know it’s October and not December, but how can we talk about spirit and ignore three iconic spirits: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future?

Because let’s face it, what can be scarier than the Past and the Future? Nothing haunts me more than my past regrets and embarrassing moments. Remember when you called her by the wrong name? Remember when you tripped and fell in front of everyone at recess? Don’t you wish you said yes to that invite instead of no?

When the Past is taking a break from its role in making me regret every single word I have ever said, the Future takes over and terrifies me with what could happen in my future: people hating me, me not being fulfilled in life, me working a job I hate, me just completely and totally fucking up. The Ghost of the Future has an extra trick up its sleeve: torturing me with the future of the world as a whole. I see images of climate destruction, too many gruesome, unnecessary wars, an unlivable Earth. It’s haunting enough to make me twist and turn in my bed at night.

The Ghost of the Present seems like it would be relatively tame, especially compared to the skilled ghouls of the Past and the Future. However, the Ghost of the Present knows some haunting skills too. It plagues me with thoughts that I’m doing everything wrong, that everyone secretly hates me, that the person I am right now is a whole slew of negative adjectives. When I’m scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, the Ghost pops up and says to me, you should be just like them, why aren’t you at that level right now? When I see a pretty girl on campus or meet an accomplished peer, the Ghost of the Present likes to sit on my shoulder and ask me, why aren’t you just like them? Why are you behind, why are you lacking?

I don’t think I am as bad as the notorious Ebenezer Scrooge, but damn, these spirits know what they’re doing and know how to make me think I’m just as bad, if not worse. These Ghosts are generous enough to visit me daily, not just on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen Ghostbusters. I don’t know how to get rid of these wicked spirits. I try my best to be a better person, but I suppose my transformation is not as good as Scrooge’s, and the Ghosts continue to follow me everywhere I go.

I think the best trick of these three ghosts is their ability to make me believe that I’m their only victim. I’m the only one feeling this way, I’m the only one that isn’t good enough, I’m the only insecure one. It enhances their haunting, truly making me believe their propaganda.

But the logical part of me knows that there’s more than just me and Mr. Scrooge on their hit lists. Right? Someone out there reading this has met these ghosts too? For the sake of my sanity, I will say yes. You’re not alone! But if anyone has managed to bust these ghosts, please share your tips and tricks.

1 comment

  1. First of all, I can honestly say, I wish I were more like you when I was your age. At 40, I’ve endured the haunting of those ghosts and at times they have consumed me. Those ghosts, those past regrets, they will always be there…if you let them. It was easy for me to give up on social media because I felt the embarrassment of “not being where I should” or “not living up to societal standards.” I will tell you this, you are in control of those ghosts. You do have the power to ignore them and shut them down. When my ghosts pop up to say hello, I acknowledge them, I accept them for what they are- fear and insecurity. Do not let them linger around. All of those negative experiences and emotions have taught me valuable lessons. They have made me stronger, and I am proud of the person who I am today, regardless of where “I should be” or “who I should be”. Remember who you are now, all that you have overcome, where you have been and all of the amazing positions in life where you are headed. Be proud of who you are and your achievements. Do your best in your way in your capacity. Accept yourself and realize, these ghosts…they are what make us human.

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