A Hope Chest of Light Keeping

The ghosts

Today was the first day of my week long workshop at school.

Before the halls are filled with students bustling, screaming, singing and running-the building belongs to the seventeen of us. I always feel strange about being in a place that is normally so full to the brim with energy without the hustle and bustle of it moving. Currently the place feels as though it is sleeping.

I think back on my time in school as a student and smile remembering those moments full of so much hope and mystery. Now, as I travel the same hallway to the vending machine for water that Rich and I use to kiss in, I can’t help but miss the person I was becoming between the ages of 18 to 21. The knowledge I learned in those classrooms changed me. Shaped me. Helped me grow. The shows I rehearsed for in the edging darkness. The monologues, poems, scenes, songs, movement sequences. All of the tiny moments before class, the time I dropped all those papers on the floor and Ryan helped me pick them up. The time Ashley and I practiced our modern dance combination before class. The uncountable hours with Drew. Meeting Rich in the hallway in his roller blades. The moment I congratulated Lauren for the part she got and immediately turned around and cried when I walked away. All of the black sweatpants. The white tee-shirts. The bottles of water, filled and re-filled. The scene shop, and music rooms and ballet studios. The rainbows puncturing the floor of the lobby through the glass in the ceiling. That perfect first Friday in May when summer was coming and so was a relief in the schedule.

Now I stare up at the ceiling a teacher here. 10 years of life under my belt and a lot to share. I wish I could say I am better then the last time I walked through these halls but the fact is, I do not know. Life has a funny way of bruising you in your learning and sometimes that is too hard to look back and see how much you had. So much that is now gone.

I am a ghost of myself. Lost unto the ghosts of my past. All around me they swirl and dance and laugh and pull me backwards to the way it use to be. It’s hard to say no to them. It’s hard to not go back with them. But I can’t go back. I am not made of the same matter that they are anymore. And I know too much now to be able to laugh as freely without care. Without heartache. Or sickness. Or fear.

Life has not turned out the way I meant for it.

And most times I think it is my own selfishness in wanting “more” and “better” when what I had was just fine. Just fine.

But these are backwards glances. So full of longing and understanding of what I couldn’t comprehend then.

That life is harder than you know

That love is more painful than you think

That no matter what the path you walk, you are changed by it and you get through it.
Nothing stops you. You just bend-like steel under intense fire and move forward in your new uncomfortable shape.

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