I was recently reading an article about the phenomenon of Ghosting. Now, what is Ghosting? Well, it is when you are in communication or relationship with someone and they literally just disappear. They don’t return calls, texts, emails, letters… whatever. They literally vanish outside the realm of communication. Are they still around living their lives? Yes, but you are no longer in it. The phenomenon is most common in dating relationships, but can happen in other working relationships or friendships as well.
As I was reading the article pictures of friends started to flash through my mind like a silent film. Whoa, I have been ghosted and I have ghosted people. I have made the decision in the past to just stop talking to someone because they take too much out of me or make me angry. I have cut people out of my life because I didn’t have the energy to deal with it. I’m pretty sure that is why people have cut me out of their lives too. When someone or something becomes too much work it almost feels easier to just walk away and erase it from your mind. It feels easier to ghost.
Oh, and I’ve been ghosted. As a matter of fact a ghost from my past recently reappeared. I am proud to say, I did not allow them to waltz back into my life. Maybe when they vanished I was too much work, but now THEY are too much work. Now I’m not saying that when the going gets tough you just give up. That would never be printed on a motivational t-shirt or poster. But maybe erasing someone or something is ok. Not necessarily making them vanish or making yourself vanish as if a ghost, but perhaps it’s more like unplugging them from your soundboard.
Being in radio, and recording music has had me sitting in front of some seriously large and confusing soundboards. There are 20+ audio In functions and 20+ audio OUT functions, plus mixing and wireless send functions… oh, my brain hurts now. When I used to sit in front of that huge soundboard every day, I started to think of myself as a soundboard. Stick with me here. As a soundboard, people would be plugged into me, investing in me, bringing content to me so that I could, in turn, process their input and output it to someone else. In audio production, your input sound or data is not necessarily what your final output is going to be. The board has to process it. I think the same is true in life and the relationships around you.
When people invest in you and bring something to your life, you take it and create or change it into something else. But when that audio channel goes dead, you try to fix it by tracing your signal back to the source and trying to troubleshoot any problems. When a relationship ends or ghosts you replay every moment of audio that ever came from that channel and try to notice when the quality changed. But a valuable lesson I learned through my years of hanging with techy nerds is that sometimes you just have to unplug the input and start over, perhaps find something new or a new path to replace it.
Unplugging an input or a person from your life is never easy. I think it’s even more difficult when someone chooses to unplug and just walk away, vanish, become a ghost. The only redeeming factor I’ve seen so far when someone unplugs is that you now have an opening in your life for a new perspective, new laughter, new struggles, new friendships. Do you plug new people or music in and turn it up full volume right away? No, but just like any great piece of audio, you know when it’s right, when to chance it and when to let it truly become something worth blasting the speakers over.
My soundboard has gone through a rebuild in these last 2 years. I’ve lost some connections, reorganized my channels, and welcomed some new audio to my already phenomenal board. There are still a few channels that aren’t ready to be refilled yet, perhaps because I’m still desperately troubleshooting the problem or perhaps because I’m not willing to go back, retrace every tangle of the cord and figure out when it all went bad. Or maybe I’m just hoping that the people who unplugged, who vanished, who walked away, will someday rebuild their board and find me missing too.