Perhaps I should explain.
I was raised to believe some pretty strange stuff about death and dying. For most of my childhood my mom was very into being "An Immortalist." No, not a vampire; simply someone who lives forever. Someone who transcends the need to die. She had health tinctures and youth tonics and drank stinky herbs from a Chinese medicine man. She meditated and got acupuncture before it was cool, and thought a lot about reincarnation.
"Don't say that, Minnie!" she would say. "Your thoughts are very powerful and you don't want to attract death by speaking about it!"
If I was excited about a new Nancy Drew mystery that was about to hit the shelves, I might say "I am dying to read that book!!!" To which she would reply "No Minnie, you're living to read that book," all dramatic and shit.
This always drove me crazy, because I knew it was just an expression I was using, but she seemed to think I was writing a suicide letter every time I got excited about the release of the new Babysitter's Club movie. And because every pre-teenage girl has an insatiable need to do the exact opposite of what her mom wants her to do, I decided early on that I didn't think dying was a bad thing. That I, in fact, would embrace it when it happens. That I would RUN towards the light and never look back. I was positive that whatever comes after you die would be better than being alive. (Not that being alive isn't great...I LOVE being alive and I'm thankful for every day that I awaken from a good night's sleep.) I just thought for sure that the after-life would either be some sort of ice-cream pie heaven situation, or being reborn as a kitten wrapped in a pink bow who was being given to a little girl for Christmas, or...nothing. No matter what, I'd be ok with it...because hey, I love ice cream, all kittens have to do is purr and take naps in the sun, and even if there's just nothing after you die, you wouldn't really be around to realize what you were missing.
Unless of course, you turn into a ghost.
Ghosts have a shitty deal man. They are real people who died who didn't get everything done that they wanted to in life so they're still bumming around their old apartments trying to convince the new tenants that their room is in fact, not for rent. Or they died in a tragic, painful, or sudden way, and they are PISSED. They want everyone to know what happened to them, so they slam doors and freak your dog out and hide your nail polish and stuff. But because they are just thin whispy Kate Moss-y version of their former selves, they don't really understand what they are doing or why, so they just get stuck doing it over and over again until someone says to them "I understand, you can go now"....and they do.
I was taught that we are all energy; that we are spirits connected to and by some white light essentially, and that ghosts are real because they are just another form of energy, and that all of this is God. When I was younger, maybe 10 or 11, my mom attended meetings where groups of women would gather to listen to someone Channeling...something. I don't know what. Spirits? Angels? Somethin' dead and spooky but wise and bearing messages from higher beings about loving one another and trying to spread the message of peace and equality for every living being on the planet. One or two of these Channels were a little weird and would talk about getting impregnated by aliens and shit, but my mom and I would chalk that up to "Dark Energy" and we would say a magical spell and I'd feel safe and protected. I basically had Harry Potter for a mom, and it was awesome.
My best friend and her mom would attend these meetings as well, and we didn't really take this stuff seriously. We just thought our wacky moms were at it again, and we would pass the time in another room away from the festivities making up raps, pretending to ice skate, and hatching up brilliant business plans/inventions for things we could sell. For example: "Melolo's." "Melolo's" were an entire log of Rolo's candy that we Melted (burned) in the oven then squished into a patty and shoved into a (probably used) plastic sandwich bag once it had hardened into the consistency of dry cement. A Rolo roll cost us eighty-nine cents, and we sold these lumps for fifty cents each, because math was not our strong suit.
Occasionally if our creative business juices were just not flowing, we would sneak up the stairs and spy on these women, chanting and listening to the dead speak through some woman named Huuluu in a voice that sounded like a dying antelope. It scared the shit out of me because I thought it was completely legit, but I also felt safe because I truly believed in the power of my thoughts, and I knew that all I had to do was forcefully say "NO GHOSTS, I DO NOT WANT YOU TO HAUNT ME" and they literally wouldn't be able to. (I still carry this belief over to rapists and robbers and people trying to cut in line at Starbucks, so no one mess with me...I will hit you bad with my mind.)
With the recent exception of my Grandpa, who died peacefully in his sleep in his own bed surrounded by loved ones at age 95, I have never known anyone who has lived a nice long life and then died a nice and easy death. My first love in high school was stabbed to death by a friend of ours when he was 21. My cousin was hit by a car on his bicycle when he was 26. My friend today was on his way to work when he plowed into a bus and was killed at the age of 25. He was so hilarious...so wonderful...the guy who lit up a room with his smile and his kindness and his love for life. He was a guy who's profile pics on Facebook always showed him jumping off a roof into a pool, or laughing hysterically at the dapper outfits he dressed his dog in. I'm not surprised that he died on his motorcycle, because he'd already crashed it several times and he still rode it like a man exhilarated by the love of speed. But I am deeply saddened that I didn't spend more time with him.
And, to be totally honest...I'm a little paranoid that he's going to watch me have sex. Or worse...watch me when I'm... ahem...alone. I am absolutely positive that the number one thing ghosts like to do is watch people do it. Wouldn't you? I said before that I think people stay around in a ghosty way when they have unfinished business. Well...isn't a man in his 20's MAIN business to get laid as much as possible? Don't get me wrong, this guy was charming and hot and got plenty of girls. But if I died in my early 20's, I for one would be pissed that I couldn't have sex anymore. It's entirely probable that I would feel like I had unfinished business in the bedroom and would spend the next 20 or so years haunting people that were getting laid.
So, instead of hiding out with a chastity belt on, I will soldier on, as I've done since the day my high school boyfriend passed away. I will make every love that I can. I will pretend that I'm not totally freaked out that there are most definitely the ghosts of friends in my bedroom every time my boyfriend and I try to make a baby, and instead, I will put on the show of a lifetime... just in case they are watching. Cuz they deserve it dammit. RIP Patrick. 11/20/12