Kiss me congratulations.

Kiss me congratulations

Because it’s always one foot in front of the other

And I’ve

Lost track

Of the days.

It’s the beauty of unbearable pain.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because I got a new job

And I have a new apartment

And

      I.      Am.

Trying.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because I can see and I can tell you

That the sky is as blue as the breeze

And the birds fly as high as the melodies.

I can see and I can tell you

That sometimes sight and speech

Can take a slight toll

On me.

It isn’t that everything is falling apart around me

It’s that I’m falling apart inside.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because being strong has left me weak.

I promised that in my old age I would fill

The room around me

With all that is said and done.

Memories of a life lived and the people I lived it with.

Feelings I felt once before, not again,

And thoughts I only had back then.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because maybe I don’t need to

Be in my old age to need to

Fill the room around me.

Maybe right now, more than anything,

I need a room full of phantom bodies dancing in the woods

To make me want to dance again.

 

So kiss me congratulations

And do it like you mean it.

 

~

Ella

 

“And we won’t place any stock in old days, let’s save up for something new.” -Rusty Clanton

 

Displaced.

 

It’s okay to be afraid to leave the first place I’ve ever truly been happy.

 

The microwave outside the door that we kept the spare key in.

The nighttime and the relief it brought with it.

The criss-cross paths around my office and the new staircases I discovered every day.

The watermelon and coal store.

The roof where I worked out under sunset skies.

The delicate brush on the light rail door.

The blue-pink-white-green-gray horizon from my bedroom window.

The gap at the bottom of the shower door that let all the water out.

The approximately 12 people it felt like I lived with.

The glass and marble table.

The pedestrian rage when tourists walked too slowly.

The park on Saturday afternoons and the market on Friday mornings.

The breeze that always played with the hemline of my dress..

The shop owners who knew my order.

The top step.

The beep that meant the laundry cycle was done.

The road I parked my car on – half an hour away from my apartment.

The trucks and cars and busses and ambulances and motorcycles – the noise I filtered out.

All the other noise I tried to filter out.

The spur-of-the-moment excursions that didn’t always make much sense.

The sunlight or the moonlight.

The view.

From the porch.

The porch, the porch, the porch.

With the swing.

The swing, the swing, the swing.

 

I’m really going to miss it.

 

I’ve left.

I’ve left the first place I’ve ever truly been happy

And now

I feel a little bit displaced.

 

~

Ella

 

“There is a place where I can go, when I feel low, when I feel blue, and it’s my mind, and there’s no time when I’m alone.” -The Beatles

Destiny determined.

I didn’t blow out a candle

But if I had

I know

What I would have wished for.

 

My life is now dictated by dates

Destiny seemingly determined

By the designated number of days

Before (or was it)

After (perhaps)…

It’s in the distinctly delicate way everything always depends

On indefinite details just beyond my desperate grasp on –

All that is balanced precariously on other things I don’t know

And won’t know

Until (when?)

And then?…

 

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

The word is stubbornly haunting my mind. But,

 

Sometimes –

When you say goodbye –

You get to say hello again.

 

Change seems to have brought with it such dazzling things.

~

Ella

 

“Good times never seemed so good.” -Neil Diamond

Changed. – 20

19 brought it on.

At 19, I moved out. I built a new life for myself, by myself, in a new city. I said goodbye to a place I loved very much, and with the support of everyone back home I went in search of something new. I didn’t have a single friend here when I moved, and today I barely leave my apartment without seeing someone I know. I have fallen in love with this city – its rhythm, its quirks, its sights, its sounds and above all, its people. This is my home now, and I will never be alone here again.

That said, it wasn’t easy. This year has been riddled with challenges, some I anticipated and many I did not. There were nights I was so tired and so achy I couldn’t move to turn off the lights, and mornings I felt so sick I cried getting out of bed. There were complications at every turn and frustrating surprises, but there were also moments of pure triumph and pride when I succeeded where I feared I wouldn’t. Nothing was ever ideal, but I adapted, managed and rediscovered time and time again how strong I am. I was determined not to let anything get in my way, and I didn’t.

At 19, I worked harder than I’ve ever worked before and proved myself from scratch. I had no idea how stressful (and occasionally infuriating) my position at the Center would be or what a toll it would take. But when all’s said and done, I think I will always look back on it fondly for one reason: the people. If it weren’t for the Center, I would not have the community that I do. I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by incredible, unique, good people. I have friends for whom words do no justice, and have had experiences so random and so amazing I could never have dreamt them up. I’ve gained beautiful people in my life without losing any I had before, and have lived memories that will last a lifetime.  

At 19, I learned a different kind of happiness I never believed existed. I used to say, “Happiness is not a state of being, it’s just fleeting moments that pass you by and you need to know how to notice them.” Now I know that the only kind of happiness I knew before 19 was incredibly fragile. That’s not the smile I wear anymore. Now, when shit hits the fan it turns into sparkles, because the happiness I have found is the kind that doesn’t run away. It trembles, sometimes, but it’s a pure and true joy that miraculously refuses to leave.

At 19, I fell in love. How strange to think that for the first half of 19 I didn’t have Tom. So much has happened, to us and between us, in just six months. He is everything I ever dreamed of, and everything I didn’t realize I should dream of. It took me a long time to believe he was real, to feel like we were real. But he is, and we are. I melt at the thought of him, and I never feel as at peace as I do when he finally embraces me in his arms. I never smile as widely as I do when he gets excited or want to sing as much as I do when I’m with him. He makes me shine. Or rather, I let myself shine when I’m with him.

I have no doubt the memories I made this year really will last a lifetime – and a lot of those memories are with Tom. We’ve gone through some really tough, trying times together, but regardless of whether I was crying or laughing at the beginning of a conversation, I was always laughing at the end. We’re the absolute cutest. We’re so in love even we think it’s a bit much. We’re a real life couple, but we’re a match made in heaven.

At 19, everything came up roses. I had fun. I worked, I worked out, I sang. I saw sunlight everywhere I looked. I cooked, I cleaned, I crashed, I took the stairs without realizing. I talked to strangers. I wrote, I read, I filmed, I edited, I felt like I could fly. I laughed so hard my collar bone hurt and I jumped every time I got a text. I cried. I listened. I took walks and got lost on purpose.

I watched the sunsets from my balcony and fell asleep on my roommates. I supported my friends, new and old, and I supported my partner, as each and every one of them went after the things they want and deserve in life. I spent hours and hours on the phone, being long distance not only with Tom but also my family and my friends from home. I took it all in and then I brought all of my worlds together.

At 19, I existed under a new sky, not because I went somewhere else but because I became someone else. I became who I’ve always wanted to be.  

I’m not 19 anymore. But whenever I walk the streets of this city, I will always be 19 again. These roads will be my memory lanes. Everywhere I walk I’ll feel the rush of independance and exhilaration all over again. Stairs will remind me of stories, buildings will remind me of people and alleys will remind me of feelings. Every step will remind me how it felt to be young and in love.

It’s on these streets that I felt more alive than ever before. It’s on these streets that I lived a life I wasn’t sure I would ever get to have.

It’s on these streets that everything changed.

I’m about to say my third big goodbye in three years. Everything is going to change all over again. Another new city, another new adventure, another chance to find myself fearless in the face of all of my fears. It’s the end of an era that has taught me more than I could probably realize right now.

Turning 20 is a big deal. It’s a big number. I always hoped I would get a chance to be a healthy teenager, but that’s not how things have worked out. After graduation I began the journey of figuring out how to live my adult life while sick, and I’ve done that. I’ve succeeded. I have been fearless. And I know, I’ll be fine. I just wish it didn’t have to be such a struggle to be fine. I’m so tired of the endless circle of pain and I wish I could make it end. I never talk about it anymore because I try not to think about it. I’ve learned to soften, lean forwards and allow my feelings to be engulfed by the presence of another person, whoever that person may be. I find solace and refuge in words that having nothing to do with pain. I submerge myself in interactions, in conversation, in laughter, so that what weighs on my heart isn’t heavy enough to hurt it.

I wish I could say there was no sadness laced into this birthday, but there is. As much as I love my life, I was forced to give up a lot and I think that will always hurt. It comes and goes in waves, the sting of all that my health denied me. But I can say there are no regrets laced into this birthday, because I have proven to myself and everyone around me that healthy or not, I’m going to achieve every goal I set for myself and love every step of the way. I may be sick and sick of it, but I am living the life.

At 20 I can say with my whole heart that I am happy. I am confident. I am in love. And I am ready – to continue having the time of my life.

~~~

Ella

“That’s the delicate way you’ve shown me, you’re the strongest person I know.” -The Streets

Sunlight.

Sunlight, it

Shines bright in my eyes,

Paints me in bronze,

Gifts me with

Glistening, golden, effervescent eyelashes and

Fluttering, autumn, amber eyelids and now

Everything I see is hazy and psychedelic as the –

 

Sunlight, it

Washes over me and

Pseudo-solves all of

My woes

Now, I am nothing but an ethereal extension

Of the brilliant, luminous ball of flame

That gleams with the promise

My woes

Won’t come back when the –

 

Sunlight, it

Smothers me with sprawling warmth

That catches on my breathe and

Settles in my pores and

Coats my core and

Drips off my limbs

As I turn every surface of me towards the –

 

Sunlight, it

Shatters, as the rays reach me and splinter

Into the thinnest whispers of copper threads

That I see everywhere I look and

I see even with my eyes closed as they

Find and fill every crevice around

As the sounds

Hush

And the movements

Still

And nothing in the world exists

Except

This single split second in time and the –

Sunlight.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

It goes and it’s golden like sands of time. -Golden, Zayn

Silk.

We stole

A day.

To make everything

Okay

Again.

 

Plans out the window and

I can’t control my thoughts,

Foot on the pedal and

My nerves are doused in rain.

 

Just this once,

There’s no need for

The endless chain of

Busses and trains.

Just this once,

My car

Will transport

My body and

My baggage

(And my heart

Is already,

Always,

Wherever you are.)

 

Now I’m on

My way

To you.

 

I tried

Not to

But I

Scripted

Myself

A vision

Of how this would go.

I was so sure

I had lost you.

 

I know you told me

You’re back

I know you told me

You aren’t out

I know you told me

This is it and

The reason is me.

 

I know everything you’ve said

And everything you say.

It’s just that

You can’t possibly fathom

How hard it is

For me to believe

You feel the way

You say you do.

 

And I don’t know why that is.

 

But you should know

I left

The words I sketched

Outside, in the parked

Locked

Car.

 

This is a relationship

On steroids.

You move so quickly

I can’t always keep up.

Sometimes I forget

What it was like

Before

I had you.

 

But I never forget you existed

And lived and loved

Before I knew you

Existed, lived and loved.

 

That night,

I made you promise

That we would stay up

Until

We felt close again

Like before.

 

But –

That night,

After hours

Of staring into your eyes,

Silk laced thoughts

Tracing our silhouettes,

There were other

Promises

On my mind.

 

We stole

A day.

And made everything

Okay

Again.

 

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

We had time against us, miles between us, the heavens cried, I know I left you speechless. But now the sky has cleared and it’s blue and I see my future in you. -I’ll Be Waiting, Adele

Orange.

Who knew a butchered orange could be so sweet?

 

Standing in my kitchen and the dark world beyond can see us so clearly in the light. I think to myself, we’re like a normative couple with the time to cook together. We’re swaying to music and I smile at him as he’s focused on his mission of – making dinner. I pass him by the stove and he swivels us against the sink and I smile at him as he’s focused on his mission of – kissing me. He leans back and I lean into him and still we sway to the music and still the dark world beyond can see us so clearly and I think to myself, 

Is it the motown that makes us unreal?

 

I take him on park tours and he tells me everything and he knows how to make my heart miss a beat. I read him like an open book and we both think we aren’t photogenic (but love pictures) and  I own fairy lights. I barely notice his British accent anymore and we text each other black and white pictures of couples from a different century and he likes gummy candies (and beer). I worry about him being sad and he makes me promise to wake him up in the night if I don’t feel well and we read each other poetry. We visit his dad for afternoon tea and he sees right through me and we sit on a beach staring out at the sea. We sandwich our phones away and he holds his hand against my cheek and we watch a movie with my family and I think to myself, 

Is it the lighting that makes us unreal?

 

We’re young and the future is far away, but we’re not that young together and the future is on our minds. Together and apart we ponder this relationship and how can our hearts feel so strongly so quickly? We take it in turns and we yearn for some answer that will be enough. How will this go, how will this end, will this end – we freak out. We’re too young to have answers, or maybe we won’t ever have any, in fact – maybe it’s best if we forget all about the questions. We’re young together and actually not that young and what if this is the beginning of the story? Hand on heart, because it feels so right, and he tells me he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop and perhaps so am I. But I look at him when we go dancing and when he quotes a reference of mine back at me and and when he chuckles his little boy chuckle and I think to myself,

Is it the timing that make us unreal?

 

Sunlight reaching through the cracked open window because maybe our emotions needed a way to escape the room. Reality roaring it’s wretched wrath and crawling past our gaze, announcing the dawn of a new day and another goodbye. We almost got used to not missing each other. It’s time to go back to, “I love you, sweetie, I’ve got to go now.” But I don’t want to forget the way he smiles a tiny smile when he calls me honeybunny and how it feels to be in his strong embrace, pressed against his body, lining up because we fit (his arms containing my Goodbye Sadness). Little, kisses, squeeze, it’s so cold when he leaves, and I think to myself, 

Is it the distance that makes us unreal? 

 

A butchered orange has never been this sweet. 

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

I’ll paint the picture, let me set the scene, you know, the future’s in the hands of you and me… but what do I know? -What Do I Know, Ed Sheeran