February 26, 2024

The night I turned into a ghost

Sales business speaker in South Africa, Jacques de Villiers writes about ghosts.

Jacques de Villiers – writing quest: Article 34/365

Just this Saturday evening I was at a friend’s dinner party when it happened again. I turned into a ghost.

I was telling someone something mildly interesting when a woman inserted herself into the conversation and with nary a blink, started talking to the person. I exited the conversation and poured myself a stiff drink. Neither noticed that I’d left.

It’s not the first time this theme has played itself out for me. It’s been an all too regular occurrence: insert, interrupt, ignore.

I get paid to talk to people, but in social situations, I struggle to have conversations for free.

I’m convinced that I’m interesting. I get asked to be a +1 at many functions because I can handle myself well in a social setting. I know I’m a marvellous specimen to look at, but it can’t just be that surely? I must be mildly interesting too?

Do you sometimes feel invisible, unheard and unseen? Do you feel like you’re a ghost?

I cook. I clean. I wash. I work. I pick up. I drop off. I love. I shout. I scream. They don’t hear me. They don’t see me. I’m alone. I’m a mother. I’m a ghost.

I fix things. I work. I pick up. I drop off. I love. I shout. I scream. They don’t hear me. They don’t see me. I’m lonely. I’m a father. I’m a ghost.

I stand on the street corner. I work. I wave my sign. I smile. I look frail. I’m hungry. I’m lonely. I’m hurt. I love. I shout. I scream. Why don’t they see me? Why don’t they hear me? I’m a beggar. I’m a ghost.

I study. I eat. I stay in my room. I do chores. I love. I’m lonely. I try to fit in. I don’t fit in. Why am I invisible? I shout. I scream. I’m a son. I’m a daughter. I’m a child. I’m a ghost.

I’m restless. I’m needy. I’m unfulfilled. I’m weak. I’m powerless. I’m in pain. I want to be loved. I want to love. I’m lost. I’m lonely. I’m alone. Please, someone, notice me. I’m human. I’m a ghost.

If you have ever felt lost, unappreciated, unloved, shamed, apathetic, fearful, unfulfilled, regretful, guilty, dissatisfied, disjointed, fractured, or disappointed, then you know what a ghost feels like.

It can’t find peace and leave this place because it’s stuck in a pit of self-pity, a river of regret, and a desert of depression.

It’ll only be released to blessed peace and the bosom of mother Eden when it lets go of its expectations of how the world should be.

If it expects the world to appreciate, love, and be grateful for its existence, it will be stuck in eternal regret, dissatisfaction, and disappointment.

The ghost can only find solace when it realises that the world owes it nothing. Its children owe it nothing. Its boss doesn’t owe it anything. Its employees do not owe it anything. Its spouse does not owe it anything. The planet owes it nothing.

It will only find peace and move on when it realises that it owes everything – appreciation, happiness, awe, gratitude and love to the world and those that rent space in it.

We should make peace with the world as it is now and make peace with our role in it. The consequences and regret of not doing so will last for an eternity. The ghost will be released into joy only when it accepts things as they are and surrenders with grace.

“Hello, my name is Jacques. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. Would you like to have a (uninterrupted) conversation?”

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