Halloween Girl: the ways in which we mourn

Something I dedicated years of my time to helping maintain and create started to be dismantled yesterday.

Oh, granted…the weather and the actions of the owner started that process quite a while ago. But today made it official. And I’m feeling a lot of conflicted things about the fact.

When I worked at the museum, I used to spend hours sorting newspapers to be used for begging. It was work that was needed and that no one really wanted to do, and it was (admittedly) an excuse to spend more time in a place I dearly loved, being useful in a way that was mostly anonymous.

This is typical of me, I’ve realized. I am somehow happiest working when no one else is thinking of doing so, and in doing the grunt work. It was true then, and it’s been true of me as a haunter.

It makes me very impatient with people who don’t have the same work ethic but are quick to want praise and attention for what little they do. And having worked around too many people that are more interested in talking than working, I don’t have a lot of patience for that kind of work ethic, either. I’ve been around it too much – it offers me too much inspiration to work harder, to keep moving. In many ways, that defines me as a haunter.

It also means I’ve done ridiculous things, like worked alone until it was too dark to see while dealing with a crippling bout of plantar fasciatis. I can tell you now, years after the fact, that I would all but crawl to my car when I was done working – and I did it when no one was watching. I didn’t do it for attention. I did it because I wanted to work, and because no one else was there. My inspiration also came from a man I barely knew, whom I never really worked with, who was a thousand times the haunter I will ever be. I worked in the shadow of his legend, and when a fire took his life, I worked even harder to try to fill a corner of the space he’d left behind.

This place didn’t own my heart – another haunt already had that. That said, it was the haunt that inspired me to want to try to be Halloween Girl. This was the place that made every day Halloween in my world, until today the actual date is more of a nod than anything else. I don’t suffer much from Post Halloween Depression anymore, because Halloween never really ends anymore.

So. The haunt I worked on alone too many times is finally starting to be torn down. I have a lot of judgmental thoughts about that, and I have a lot of sorrow about it. Last time I saw the place, the lack of my presence was very clear to me – the clutter, the sheer volume of things that have not been taken of. I touched the walls of the place I dedicated seven years of my life to and I nearly cried from the neglect I could see. That anyone should be able to see.

Loving something should be an all-the-time thing. Loving something means wanting to make it better, wanting to nurture it, wanting to take care of it. At a time in my life when I was commitment shy, I was fully committed to this maze of plywood and paint. And despite the negative stuff that came from it, that still trickles through, I find that I still love the Castle in a private personal way.


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