DISCLAIMER: I know that Halloween was like 2 months ago, but this blog post was very much influenced by a podcast that I listened to (again) this morning and by my devotional.
Growing up in a Christian, Black-Caribbean household, there were certain things that I could not do. To make it even more confusing, no explanation was provided by my mother as to why I could not partake in certain activities. One of these activities included celebrating Halloween. “It’s Satan’s day! Why would you want to celebrate it?” So of course, I grew up with this mentality; that to celebrate Halloween is to celebrate Satan. In middle school on the day of Halloween, my friends would go from store to store, collecting candy from store owners while I stood outside, remembering my mother’s tough love of a voice, “Satan’s day. Don’t you dare.” Now as 24-year-old woman, I have come to learn that to celebrate Halloween is much deeper than receiving treats, dressing up in costumes, and “celebrating” Satan. In the Advent Next podcast, there was much discussion on the fact that many, if not all, of us have ghosts within the spaces that we reside. Not literal ghosts, but the ghost of failed dreams and marriages, the ghost of domestic violence, the ghost of sexual trauma and abuse. Like Halloween, we dress up our ghosts in the prettiest and coolest costumes to conceal our authentic selves. To conceal our pain and heartache.
I can say that, for me, there are ghosts that have intruded my space long ago and have been comfortable ever since because I allowed them to stay. There are ghosts that I dress up every morning to go to class with me, to go to the grocery store with me, and to talk to my loved ones with me. There are ghosts that have been part of my life for so long that I am afraid of how empty I would feel if they were to leave. The ghost of sexual trauma and abuse. This ghost, specifically, invaded my space for over 18 years, and perhaps this ghost could have been kicked out years ago if I was given the opportunity to ask more questions about Halloween and why we, Christians, don't celebrate it. Nonetheless, today for some reason, I felt moved to confront, grieve, and, ultimately, dismiss this ghost for good. The ghost of sexual trauma and abuse made me feel like I was not deserving of love nor to be loved. Made me feel like I could never be a good lifetime partner or friend to anyone. That my existence was a mistake. Yet, oddly, I enjoyed this ghost’s company because at least their presence was consistent. At least this ghost stuck around, despite how it made me feel. Today, for some reason, I thought of my unborn children. My future family. If I don’t let go of this ghost, then what does that mean for them? Does my trauma trickle down to my Black babies and my partner? Whatever happened to breaking generational curses and cycles? These are the questions that rest heavily on my heart and mind. Then I thought, “well, how in the world am I going to just easily let go of this ghost when we’ve been inseparable for much of my life?” By honoring the dead.
I know some real conservative Christian might have cringed when reading that but hear me out. This Black, Christian woman is choosing to celebrate Halloween because there are some ghosts that she needs to say goodbye to. It's time for her to start honoring the dead. That is, a little Black girl, who died at 7 years old when she was sexually abused and molested by a family member, needs to be honored. It is time for me to acknowledge the fact that her innocence died. Her voice was taken. Her body felt like it was no longer hers. Acknowledge the fact that she died over and over again for every day that the abuse prolonged. That little Black girl died and never received a proper burial. In fact, many did not even realize she was gone, including herself.
Today, I will grieve and mourn the loss of that little Black girl. I will let her know that I remember her and the injustice done to her. I will honor her by ensuring that the now 24-year-old woman remains on the journey to healing and liberation. I will remind the now 24-year-old woman that she is worthy and that she exists for a reason. Most importantly, I will help her through the difficult process of releasing the ghosts from her space. They no longer concern her. She will celebrate Halloween (in this specific way) because she is ready to be renewed. She is ready to move forward.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
Advent Next Theological Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/advent-next/id1452748484