Once in a while, just a few lines in a song will take me back...
"I don't think you ever learned a thing from me,
But I'm sure that you want me to learn from you.
And you've drawn heavy-handed lines around morality,
About yourself, and I don't share your point of view.
It's been time to let you go a thousand times.
You never know that it hurts to be the one that you'd regret
I have to say that I am proud to know you
And I'll never be the same because we met.
You might not miss this,
But I will, I will, I will."
-Brandi Carlile, "I Will" from Give Up the Ghost
I think back to where I was just two years ago, and it's like I see a different person: a girl unsure of who she is, wearing her heart on her sleeve and about to fall head-over-heels in love. Innocent and complicated and scared and wild-eyed. Loud and messy and silent. Indecisive. Hopeful. Sometimes, that girl feels very close. But most days, she feels a million miles away.
Two years ago, this small girl in her very small world learned that there are times when not even love can overcome the "heavy-handed lines." She learned that sometimes people come along and scrawl all over your life in permanent ink. They make demands, smirk at compromise, and leave their mark forever. It's not always pretty, but it's there. And it's something to look back on so you can remember, "I was there once."
Some people drew beauty and love and promise on her life. Some drew spite and jealousy and that sour-stomach feeling that develops with a grudge. But one left just an outline. A brief but deliberate encircling of something that fades a little each day but never really goes away. It's there, even at its faintest. Like a ghost. A quiet, passing reminder. A spectral post-it note of sorts.
The girl is a little more grown-up now (but not so much). Sometimes, she loves the ghost and thanks God for it. Other times, it makes her angry. But mostly, she just watches it pass through a back room in her heart from time to time, seeing it grow more still and faint and quiet. She thinks she's slowly giving up the ghost.
But then, maybe it will always be there.