Do you believe in ghosts? In case you’ve missed all the pumpkins in doorways, it seems that All Hallow’s Eve is approaching. It’s got me thinking about invisible monsters – things that hide under the bed and go bump in the night.
Darkness hides all sorts of things: ghosts, monsters, shame, guilt, fear. Getting out of bed when there might be something in the wardrobe is to show strength in vulnerability. Speaking up for a cause you believe in, only for spiteful bullies to respond – the monster in an activist’s life isn’t hiding under the bed, it’s hiding in social media accounts full to the brim of hateful words. Or sending your creative work out into the world, only for the world to remain oblivious – the poltergeist in a writer’s life doesn’t throw stuff, it ignores you completely.
Online vitriol is getting worse, for women and minorities in particular. The keyboard warrior feels safe in the invisible dark and is rarely called to account.
Ghosting happens all the time. It’s the friend who never calls again, the publisher who never replies. And always the message is silent but clear.
We can do better. Let’s show solidarity to someone who bravely speaks up, or send a positive message to someone about their work. It’s these small acts that shine light into the dark corners of fear and self-recrimination.