When I woke up on Halloween morning and went to check a chat with someone I’d been talking to for months. I realized that I HAD BEEN GHOSTED! We had shared our family background and childhood stories, intimate details about our life philosophies, and spent hours into the wee hours typing away by chat. And then, without a word, I was DROPPED.
The act and word “GHOSTED” made me think about how to coincide what I know of ghosts with my vintage and stage in my life as a 40s queer woman. And at this age, who is there for me in my life? And who decides to drop out? Rejection is part of my narrative now. And not as something that needs to necessarily take from me or make me feel empty or lacking value. But becomes an opportunity to do more with other people and partnerships that are a better fit.
In high school, I was fascinated by Asian female ghosts, and how they appear so we know they’re supernatural beings. And realize now it’s because they’re outliers. They’re seen and not seen. They are there not just to scare us about something regarding femaleness or female sexuality. But they’re there for women who feel they are teetering on the edge of being invisible or disappearing. In their personal or professional lives.
Oyuki, an 18th C Japanese ghost has long, tangled hair and no feet. I don’t know what’s scarier in a culture where women are pressured to be perfectly groomed…the unkept look of these ghosts or the fact she floated? Either way, she defies what people think she can do.
I know the idea of the “waiting woman” who has been left by a lover, is popular, but it doesn’t sit well with me. I have spent my whole life bearing the likeness to that “Oyuki” female archetype, the Asian girl who in the US would never wear the perfect “feminine” outfit to show off her curves. Or didn’t want to. My hair has gone through various stages of funkiness. And as someone with ADHD, my level of daydreaming or creativity would resemble her lack of feet underneath her kimono.
But there have been times I resembled the Onryou, the vengeful female ghosts who look more like monsters, who died in a state of betrayal or violence. These ghosts aren’t merely unkept and floating; they torment and seek revenge on the people (mostly men and ex lovers) who have done them wrong. These ghosts are more aggressive, powerful, and resemble the first Hindu Goddess archetype for all creation and destruction, Kali. Seen below.
On the flip side of how people have responded to me, I have also resembled the Onryou by speaking my mind in social situations. Or especially when I was more active in the academic world, surrounded by mostly male scholars. As a woman of color, I had to work 10x as hard, and my theoretical treatments were exacting and outside the box. You’d think that would be rewarded in a public forum. But where good ole’ boys are there to scratch each other’s backs. And revel in an echo chamber. I was seen as a threat. Although what I thought I was doing was creating something new, like Kali I was received as a monster, a destroyer of the male ego.
Okay, back to my crush. Although, I saw this person as a possibility for me. For a friendship. Someone to date. A partnership, potentially. She, unfortunately, decided to cut me off without giving me the courtesy of a goodbye. And that’s okay. I am letting it go. I want to show other women and gender non-conforming folx like me that we are NOT GHOSTS just because WE ARE GHOSTED. Or treated as if we are weird. Or invisible. We are awesome. And remarkable. Exactly how we are!