Laying the Ghost to Rest.
I find it easy to justify things in my head in a way that soothes those little irritated voices in my mind or the flutters and twists in my abdomen.
You know what I mean — “Sure, no worries, that’s fine,” when your logical brain is screaming otherwise; “Of course I can make that happen,” when the energy in your body is distinctively telling you otherwise.
When it comes to doing what we love, what sets our heart of fire, it becomes even easier to fall into the loophole of agreeing to things that may not sit well with us, but we convince ourselves that its getting us one step closer to where we actually want to be.
I have written stories since I was old enough to hold a grey lead pencil. Words have, more often than not, been my safety net, my closest companions, the light in my dark dreary tunnels. They have been the quiet whispers of hope, the resounding joy that comes with new love, and the mumblings of other worlds that exists beyond the fenced horizon.
At times, my words have been all I have had, and we have wandered the globe together side by side with no agenda, no clear path, just trusting the journey. Tattered notebooks line my cupboards where other people may have clothes or shoes or photographs. Documents fill each folder of my laptop where other people may have bills, emails, to-do lists.
Over the years, my personal ramblings have developed to researched articles, blog posts, paid projects on everything, ranging from how Yoga changes our chemistry, to reflections from the Holocaust, to why Quentin Tarantino never used the color red in his films. When magazines began to pick up my work, it was thrilling to say the least. No pay? Of course that’s okay, I’m being published!
And so I set the tone for many words written for the love, and perhaps ego, of seeing my work in glossy publications I admired.
Perhaps looking back, I preferred working for free when I could keep my name on my work. For the next step up the writing ladder was to get paid, and oftentimes get paid well, to write. Yet my name never followed the entourage of syllables and full stops. There was no name, or worse still, another’s name sat there staring back at me haughtily.
It has always perplexed me how someone can sit with this blatant deception of attaching their name to work that they have never, could never, claim as their own. And yet, how come I was the one that felt out of integrity time and time again?
I remember seeing my words reaching millions of people and assuring myself that these words were helping change people’s lives. I may have been a ghostwriter, yet I was still making a difference, I was creating the positive change I always dreamed my writing would evoke. I took on the role as a ghostwriter, and soon enough, my persona did the same.
I lived in shadows, in echoes, in dark hours and threads of virtual communication. My world was quiet, empty, and the words, they no longer poured from me with joy, they were wrenched out from me with conviction.
Of course, I am not exempt from blame in this. I could have voiced the pain in my heart sooner. I could have refused outright, saying that it made me uncomfortable. Yet I was being paid to write, and wasn’t that always the dream?
There was a definitive moment, I tell you, when I knew the end had come. I opened my inbox to receive a link to a new article that had been published. My words graced the page, hundreds of likes, shares and comments were made, and there sat another name to the piece — a full-length bio and image that were not my own. In that moment, a little part of me died.
And thankfully, it was the little part of me that needed to be cast aside in order to stand firm in my truth and power.
I made a decision that day to reclaim my words. I made a commitment to never agree to publish a piece of my own without recognition. It wasn’t about my ego needing to be seen and heard, it was about my words and I needing to be side by side again. For I feared if we remained strangers for much longer, the passion we had once shared would slowly fade away.
The path to our dreams is often is fraught with compromise. We have to falter precariously up the lower rails of the ladder to reach greater heights. Yet there also comes a time when we know, we know, when it’s time to let go and trust. The work will come, the dream will be reached, with authenticity and commitment, not with fraudulence or deceit.
Stepping out of the shadows of my ghostwriting has gifted me with the simple joy of writing again. I would rather a single pair of eyes read my own work as opposed to millions read words claimed as another’s. I have reclaimed my soft flesh and warm blood from the shadows. I have laid the ghost to rest.
Kelly Alexander is a passionate writer, enthusiastic yogi, and professional sunrise-chaser. Kelly has traveled and worked extensively around the world in health resorts, detox centers, and wellness retreats. Specializing in health and wellness, her written work is regularly published in both print and online media. A gypsy heart and lover of nature, Kelly finds inspiration in the world around her, and translates her visions into whimsical stories and creative projects.