Saying Goodbye To Old Ghosts
I‘m back in St Ives. My favourite place in all of Cornwall.
It’s my ‘go-to’ place; my healing place. It’s the place that I ran to when something bad happened – the thing so terrible, all of those years ago, that I couldn’t bear to live in my own skin, let alone my own flat.
I blamed myself back then. Lots of ‘could’ve, should’ve, would’ve’ type conversations with my
head, based on if only I could have preempted the outcome of that night. But the fact is, that I didn’t know, and so I didn’t do any of the things that I wish I’d done now.
Instead, I bought myself a train ticket and ran away here.
I rented a cottage. A temporary thing, so remote and out of the way that I’d lose my bearings, end up in tears and have to rely on a taxi to get me back there. Well, that’s on the rare occasions that I ventured out at all. Most of the time I simply cowered indoors, trying to put my broken head and body back together again.
The cottage was my sanctuary, a place where I could drink, think, hide-away from the world, and start to come to terms with things. I promised myself that if I ever got through this, then one day I would live here.
Many years later, when I’d started to make a success of my life, I was invited back here to collect an award that I’d won. I stood outside the entrance of the castle in a stunning, floor length satin gown and I smiled for the cameras looking every inch the princess that people expected me to be. But inside, I was harbouring a secret this time around too…life had thrown me a series of really shit curveballs. I couldn’t keep up with the fall-out, and I was starting to struggle with the beginning of an addiction.
“I’ve come back to this place totally shame and secret free, and you have absolutely no idea just how liberating that feels.”
Anyway, long story short, clip-in hair extensions and a winning smile ensured that I was able to sparkle on the award night, and the following day I returned both back to reality and also to the more pressing matter of trying not to make too much of a mess of my life…
That was four years ago now, and today I am back once more in this beautiful town, the place that lifted me up, protected me, and helped me to heal myself again.
I’m drinking a latte on the seafront, in one of the million teeny coffee shops dotted along the pavement. The sun is shining and the streets are filled with smiling faces…it feels like a good day to be alive.
A woman starts to sing across the way – she has the most beautiful voice. I sit sipping my coffee and listening to her singing ‘Pie Jesu’, I get goosebumps.
It’s a beautiful song, and a beautiful moment for me to be putting the ghost of that girl and the vile things that happened to her well and truly to rest….which is the real reason that I came back here today.
I’m wearing a beautiful dress and my favourite sandals, and my oversized sunnies mean that no-one can see that I’ve got tears in my eyes…it’s just like the old days…except that it’s not.
Because for the first time in years, I’ve come back to this place totally shame and secret free, and you have absolutely no idea just how liberating that feels.
So bye, bye ghosts of the past.
Thank you for the lessons you have taught me, but you can have this whacking great big cross of mine back now if it’s alright with you. I’ve been carrying it around for years now and it’s out stayed its welcome…so I’ll just leave it here where I’m sat outside this coffee shop when I leave if that’s ok?
Because I’ve got places to go and people to see, and a new, sober life that needs living. The journey that I’m on from this point onwards, is strictly hand-luggage only until I get to where I’m going…absolutely and categorically for once in my life, no baggage required…