Depression · Fear · Love

The Haunting of Sarah Gisriel

“The ones who love us never really leave us, you can always find them in here.” — J.K. Rowling

How we act in the face of pain doesn’t always make sense.

Most of the time, the reaction is destructive and numbing, whether it’s found at the bottom of a bottle or in the warmth of a stranger’s bed.

For the brave ones, pain is often faced head-on. They grit their teeth and allow the hurt to propel them forward.

And then something happens that feels unbearable, excruciating at the time, so you just bolt.

And that’s exactly what I did.

When you build your life around something, someone, a memory that only lives in the future, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

That’s not anyone’s fault — seriously. It’s something everybody needs to learn in order to take the pressure off the people you love and most importantly, you.

I numbed the pain of my depression and unhappiness in my hometown by sinking deep, deep down into the only thing at the time that really made me feel alive and worthwhile.

But when life happens and things get messy, no matter how much love will always persist, things can become very complicated.

It’s really not my business to know what will happen with a lot of things in my life — I’m still a sucker for “everything happens for a reason” but in the present, I can’t deny that I have ghosts.

Ghosts who can rattle off my favorite Blink 182 and Third Eye Blind songs in seconds. Ghosts with stories behind every scar that I know by heart. Ghosts who I believe would take a bullet for me — or at the very least a punch.

Ghosts that I love.

A combination of things made my life a hurricane, and somewhere in the ferocious waves and booming winds, the life I’ve known since I was 17 was drastically altered.

I became a different person because I had to survive it. My world became different because it had to sustain me.

Once the wreckage cleared, I realized that I lost some of my closest companions.

“It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.” –Cheryl Strayed

When I first read this quote, I thought, “How sad, everything changes and no one is happy forever and people, families, relationships must all be doomed to fail.'” (I really go for it after I’ve listened to the Emo Forever Spotify playlist too many times.)

Then I realized the beauty of this sentiment. True, we get no choice but to try to anchor ourselves to some semblance of happiness as life takes us on a roller coaster of inevitable changes, and yes, once something changes, you never really get it back just quite the same, but maybe that’s what needs to happen for it to metamorphose into its best self.

We might think things are going great, until the world reminds us how fragile and expendable we are, and then we must go on like we never have before.

All the people I love follow me to my second job as a waitress, to every scene of my live shots and to the bar that I adore down the block from my apartment.

I’m thinking now that it’s never too late to make contact with the other side.

Happy Hunting,




2 thoughts on “The Haunting of Sarah Gisriel

  1. “We might think things are going great, until the world reminds us how fragile and expendable we are, and then we must go on like we never have before.”

    So much of literature is based around this simple idea — the character has everything she’s ever wanted, one day it all changes, and everything gets worse. Then she struggles to overcome the challenges life threw in her way, she finds a way forward, and she finds victory or peace or some mixture of the two.

    I remember an editor telling me loudly a decade and a half ago, “Things get worse!” 🙂

    I relate to what you’re saying here. Life is filled with “It was the best idea at the time” moments. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they’re disasters. But we never know until we’ve made the choice, and then we have to make the best of it. And sometimes, making the best can feel overwhelming.

    Like Gandalf says, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    (We don’t know each other, but your father posted a link on Facebook. I finally met him a month ago, after knowing him for several years online. He had a book signing in Winchester, and I drove from Pennsylvania — “Through four states!” — I told him, just to buy his new book. Good trip. I needed it.)


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