The Sunburn Anecdote

 

I’ve been a bit of a mess lately. I’ve been in good spirits, actually, but I think my brain has decided vacation has arrived (no vacation in sight) and is really enjoying kicking back. The other morning I woke up with only one earring in. I looked everywhere, scoured the office, called shops I’d been in, the whole shebang, and I was forced to come to terms with the fact that it was just gone.

But then I found it! Very early yesterday morning I decided to check the shower again, and as I pushed in the door I peeked around it and lo and behold there was my earring, a frighteningly small distance from the drain. Needless to say I was overjoyed and went about getting ready with a spring in my step.

I needed to leave the house quite early to meet up with a coworker at a golf club. Now erase that image of me as an old white guy, and replace it with this: the nonprofit I volunteer with is organizing a golf tournament fundraiser with this club, and we need to take it in shifts to be present and recruit players to sign up. I happily told my coworker that I found my earring (hallelujah) and we set up our stand in the sun because we were cold.

Then the wind happened. I had a cup of orange juice on our table, and the wind knocked down our poster, which knocked down my juice and spilled it all over our materials. Oops. Also the cup broke.

Now I have a tale to tell about a man named Richard (so fitting for the setting it’s actually ridiculous). Richard is a bit creepy. Is creepy the right word? Maybe we’ll call him pervy. The first time we met on the course he called me pretty, which is fine (ish) unto itself except then he made a joke about how my grandmother is probably too young for him and how funny is it that he still falls in love with girls like me? I’m barely 19. Yeah. So that’s Richard. We talked about atheism and his grandchildren (no relation between the two subjects).

I saw Richard again yesterday and while my coworker was busy being amused by our conversation Richard told me I have to take better care of my skin. I ignored this comment as another “old man talking to young girl about preserving good looks” comment, but when I left the club I discovered he deserves more credit than I gave him…

I kind of burnt off my neck. It’s kind of a highlighter pink hue, it’s extremely pissed off and it is going to express it’s rage for the forseeable future. Sorry, Richard. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.

Now the thing about sunburns isn’t just how painful they are. Whenever I see the red skin in the mirror I get angry. I mainly get angry at myself for not taking better care of myself, but I also get angry at the sun and at random people around me. It turns me into a bit of a witch. Bye-bye, good mood.

On my way to the office I stopped to gas up the car and pulled into my regular lane. The guy working there (we’ll call him Gus cause I’m lazy and Gus seems like a good name for him) smiled a cocky smile and motioned for to me to move to the lane over. I was like, “Sorry buddy, but the cap is on this side. I know what I’m doing.” But Gus kept smiling and kept motioning, so finally I pulled into the other lane and lowered my window. “The station there is out of order,” says our chummy little Gus. “Turn around and come to this one in the opposite direction.”

Okay, maybe his words don’t sound condescending here, but it was the way he delivered them. So I turn around and pull up, tell him what the car needs and he just stands there smiling. What, Gus? What do you want from me? He just keeps standing there. Eventually he says, “You need to open it for me.”

I felt like squishing his face. I’d had enough of misogynistic men for the day and he was just looking at me like, “Look at the silly little girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing”.

Let me tell you something, Gus: I’m doing more with my life right now than you will ever do with yours, so get off your high horse and treat me with the respect I deserve.

So I got to the office, completed my entire to-do list (!!!) and grabbed something we needed to exchange at the mall. Where I encountered an idiot. The day was really just not going well. The trainee at this store, who refused to call her superior, had a lot of difficulty figuring out what to do with my receipt. Twenty minutes later (I’m not exaggerating, I timed it) she told me I needed to pay the difference between the two products, which came out to 176 (local currency). Now listen, honey, I don’t know if you have any sort of education, but the difference was 30. 30! Not 176. Another ten minutes later (half an hour out the window) the superior finally shows up and go figure, the difference, when calculated correctly, is 30. Thank you very much, good bye.

My level of frustration with humanity was pretty high at this point. This entire time I was feeling extremely self-conscious of my angry red skin and suffering immensely from the pain. I could fry an egg on the back of my neck. Lovely times.

Later that night I also broke my sister’s very expensive glass bottle of skin care something-or-other because I was trying to get my top on without touching my skin. She was mad. Sorry.

So I reiterate, I’m a mess. But at least you got a lengthy rant like the good old times! It’s been a while since I’ve had to write something like this. Good thing or bad thing? By the way, this blog just turned 3 years old! I still have a little notebook where I recorded the first like! And the first follow! And the first reblog! I tried to keep track of when I hit milestones, like 10 followers, 100… Little did I know I would go on to celebrate 1,000 and 2,500 and now we’re at 3,600! Craziness. Thank you for all the love.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

It’s a wonder at all that I survived. –This Is War, Ingrid Michaelson

I Hate Everything – A Tale of Optimism

For quite a while now my first thought every single morning has been, “I hate everything”. Well, to be fair, it’s usually a word that starts with “F”. Or “S”. But the second thought has been, “I hate everything.” It’s like the soundtrack to my life. *

Why? Because I’ve been in immense pain. But why have I been in immense pain? Because I’m busy. And that’s why it’s a phrase of optimism.

You’ve known me for a very long time – remember when I turned 16 and started freaking out about growing old and being sick? – and you know I’m big on self-reflection. I’m astounded when I think about how much I’ve grown in the past seven months, on so many fronts. Besides all kinds of official things – being upgraded to an adult credit card (not below 18 anymore), having no more age-related driving restrictions, having control over my own medical everything – there are the things that are less obvious.

I’m not here to list all those things. Normally that would be a classic post, but today I’m content with just the knowledge that I have grown. Today, I’d like to talk about the fact that I’m busy (and therefore I hate everything).

Since September I’ve been volunteering with a certain charity, and in the past few months I’ve had to make a decision: either find another place to volunteer for a year, or go on to university. I took the higher education entrance exam (psychometric test) and got a high enough grade to enter the excellence program and receive a 50% scholarship (!) at my school of choice. Attending the course, preparing for the exam and still working (i.e. volunteering) three days a week took a lot out of me, but the success felt amazing. So that covered the technical aspect of university for me, but I was left with the question: am I ready?

I’ve never told you where I live, what my real name is or what my religion is, and you’ve never seen a picture of me. You know no truly identifying factors (which I’m sure has driven some of you crazy). I have my reasons for this, but the reason I love the most is that this blog is the opposite of real life. In the real world, the first things you (usually) know about a person are what they look like, the part of the world they live in, their name and maybe their religion. It takes longer to learn about their personalities and their feelings, if you ever do. In this world, our world, the only things you know about me are my personality and my feelings.

Which is why I’m still not telling you anything, including where I’m volunteering or what country I live in. I wrote all of this simply to explain that in my country, it’s not weird that I’m not starting university at 18. In fact, even if I go when I’m 20, I’ll still be on the younger end of the scale. Generally speaking, I’m much older than my age suggests, so I’m not worried about fitting in socially with an older crowd, but I am worried about my feelings. I’m so separate from my contemporaries as it is, and if I jump shoot choosing a profession, studying and starting a career I fear I’ll feel galaxies away from everyone.

It has come down to the fact that I have doubts. I’ve decided that the fact that I doubt I’m ready to start is enough to decide I’m not ready. I’m not the sort to waste my time and I take things very seriously, so I’m not going to start until every aspect feels right.

Which leaves me with finding another place to invest my heart for a year. I’ve been busy because I’m following leads and putting myself out there, all the while keeping up my regular work schedule. Sprinkle in tutoring, physical therapy, exercise, doctor appointments, additional work events and the occasional (*gasp*) attempt at fun, I am exhausted.  

So my brain is occupied with hating everything the majority of the time because I constantly feel like I’m dragging my body around and running myself into the ground (please note that I’m still taking care of myself – I haven’t aborted the mission of health just yet). When the thought first started popping into my brain I was kind of amused – it is kind of a funny way for my mind to have phrased my displeasure – but I recognize that it’s a sign of me being proactive with my own happiness.

I am my own person, and I am making the decisions that are right for me. I’m not just sitting here, feeling miserable, and hoping I do something worthwhile with my time. I’m already doing it. I’m being smart about my life. I’m building my path from scratch and turning it into something I can be proud of. Even if I don’t always realize it, I know that every step I’ve been taking recently has been an offspring of a superpower: optimism. Somehow I’ve been operating under the assumption that I have the ability to make everything work out.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why hating everything means I am a true optimist. Farewell.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

We’re on the right side of rock bottom. –Rock Bottom, Hailee Steinfeld

*I literally push myself up into a seated position on my bed and think, “I hate everything.” Then I go to the bathroom and think, “I hate everything.” As I’m getting dressed, I’m thinking, “I. Hate. Everything.” When I find my way to the kitchen and start making breakfast, I’m just a broken record of, “I hate everything”. It’s quite the life I lead, my friends.

Beach Happiness

Last year, on a particularly hard day, I spoke on the phone with my friend, Beatrice, about why we were both so depressed. We had many reasons, and this led us to a discussion about the different types of sadness. The list covers a lot of ground, including: hypothetical sadness, death sadness, projecting sadness, jealousy sadness, bittersweet sadness, extreme weather sadness… we ended up listing about 75 types.

 

After half an hour of compiling this list, I forced her to help me come up with the different types of happiness. Surprisingly, we found this extremely difficult. When we challenged ourselves to think of the bad it poured out of us as though we’d been mentally preparing our whole lives for the moment we’d need to recount it. But the good? It was slow to come to mind. Over the course of a few days, with the help of a couple more friends, we eventually had a list consisting of around 50 types of happiness.

 

One of these types is beach happiness. Neither Beatrice nor I thought of it initially, but it rings true for all of my peers and I. When I’m on the beach I just feel… peaceful, I suppose. The sound of the waves replaces the sound of worry in my mind.

IMG_1896

I stand on the beach looking out at the sea and marvel at how tiny I am compared to it all. If my life is so small compared to the world, then the problems in my life amount to nearly nothing. I’m never one to belittle my own suffering or the hefty challenges I face every day, but during certain rare moments I truly believe they aren’t all that important. The beach supplies the majority of these moments.

 

Yesterday was an odd summer day in the middle of February so I flocked to the beach with my friend and her boyfriend. The water was freezing but I almost prefer feeling numb to feeling my normal pain. The smell of the water and the sunscreen smeared on my (pathetically) sensitive skin remind me of summers past, in just the way that bug spray reminds me of hiking trails around my childhood hometown.

 

My mom reminded me that one year I had a birthday party at the beach and that I hated it. I remember the reasons for this being that sand got on my birthday cake and watermelon, that we never had time for the dance party or limbo (I’ve always been quite the planner), and that a boy from my class (who was not invited) saw me in my bathing suit (mortification. I hate you, Speedo.)

 

My mother remembered the reason being that I got salt water in my eye and that at that exact moment the love affair between the sea and I became a tale of regret and disappointment.

 

Safe to say the discord has dissipated, and I have kept a special place in my heart for the beach throughout it all. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I’m forced to miss out on fun – a seemingly harmless substance the majority of young adults seek and occasionally experience. I’m more of an 80-year-old stuck in an 18-year-old’s body type, and I have to “take care of my health”. Which means I often need to miss out on all sorts of experiences because fun has a clear consequence for me – pain. Pain leads to sadness, but mainly, pain leads to more pain. More pain leads to trouble sleeping, which leads to extra fatigue, which leads to extra pain, which leads to even more trouble sleeping… it’s only one of the viscous cycles that people with chronic illnesses need to live with.

 

But just because I have less fun doesn’t mean I have to be less happy. This year I’ve been privy to a few types of happiness that weren’t on my list before: proving myself happiness, spreading joy happiness, professional growth happiness and above all – somehow, it will all be okay happiness.

 

At the very least, that’s how I feel after I go to the beach.

 

Love,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Take me back to the basics and the simple life, tell me all of the things that make you feel at ease. –Ease, Troye Sivan

 

Have a suggestion to add to my lists? Share in the comments below please!

Believing in Bloom

Sometimes I just feel it’s only me.

According to my brain and heart, there is Truth, Magic and Bloom.

Truth is personal. It belongs to each of us and to none of us. Whatever my Truth is, it’s legitimate, and whatever yours is, it is too. I try to see and understand each person’s Truth in the way that they do. You can’t deny the validity of somebody else’s world.

Magic is something I can’t seem to pin down… Magic is fleeting moments of pure joy, along with moments of awe and appreciation for everything that this incredible world holds. Magic is seeing the bigger picture and knowing it’s the little things. Magic is… hope. It is not something I control, but it’s something I’m learning to preserve in order to survive. To survive in the hopes I will reach:

Bloom.

Bloom is something I will only truly be able to achieve once I am better. Once I am healthy. Once I am free: released from this prison that coils bars around my bones and marches jail keepers around my core. You know my pain and you know my frustration – I feel no closer to health than I have any of the multiple times I’ve cried to you in writing about how hopeless I am.

Therefore, Bloom feels like an abstract concept that I run the risk of never really understanding. I’m not sure I believe in Bloom. Will it all just pass me by? It’s scary to think about it, because what if I find nothing but disappointment? What if I never get to Bloom?

~~~

Still I wonder. So I take a step back and evaluate my life. What I’ve done thus far with the circumstances I have been given makes me proud. I can declare, with my whole heart, that I am doing well. As always, “still so many ups and downs”, but I don’t take for granted all that I have been managing. When I compare now to this time last year… I know so much more than I did then. I just don’t know enough about Bloom. I’d like to believe it will happen naturally. Must sustain myself until then.

~~~

According to my brain and heart:

Bloom is what my Truth will be once Magic decides to come and stay.

~~~

Ella.

Song Quote:

I wish I could live a little more, look up to the sky not just the floor, I feel like my life is passing by and all I can do is watch and cry… I miss it when life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago. -Million Years Ago, Adele

(I think everyone must relate to this song so differently… the first time I heard it I cried because I felt it perfectly summed up how I feel about being sick. Now when I cry I think to myself “My life is passing by and all I can is watch and cry”.)

~~~

P.s. This post is loaded with references to earlier pieces I’ve written and posted on this blog since I created it nearly three years ago. Did you catch them?

Feeling Pathetic – The Love Song Compilation

I promised myself I would focus on this year. I promised myself I would invest my heart and soul into my volunteer work. I promised myself I wouldn’t worry too much about the future. I’ve been absolutely successful. I feel efficient, proficient, professional, and most of all: valuable. The office is going to be shocked when I leave and they realize how much of their work I’ve been taking care of.

 

But tonight I’d really like to feel pathetic and compile all of the song quotes about love that are waiting in my journal to be used. Because it’s okay to feel lonely and to wonder. Rather than finding myself in the midst of a fluttering romance, I’ve found myself listening to everyone else talking about their partners, and I feel as alone as ever.

 

Let’s just do this, and give me the strength not to feel mortified and go back and delete it.

 

~~~

 

Two young hearts will meet in the middle and a light will flicker on, where there once was none. –The Chambers and the Valves, Dry the River

 

Should this be the last thing I see, I want you to know it’s enough for me, ‘cause all that you are is all that I’ll ever need. I’m so in love, so in love, so in love, so in love. –Tenerife Sea, Ed Sheeran

 

Step out into the wild, there’s a beautiful storm in your eyes, we’re perfectly intertwined and if it’s quite all right, you could be my way of life. –Into The Wild, Lewis Watson

 

Yesterday, you asked me something I thought you knew, so I told you with a smile ‘It’s all about you’. Then you whispered in my ear and you told me too, said, ‘You make my life worthwhile, it’s all about you’. –All About You, McFly

 

When we sleep at night I hope that we write novels in our minds of what to tell each other when we wake. –Novels, Rusty Clanton (Possibly the favorite of the favorites)

 

Kiss me beneath the milky twilight, lead me out on the moonlit floor, lift your open hand, strike up the band and make the fireflies dance, silver moon’s sparkling… so kiss me. –Kiss Me, Sixpence None the Richer

 

You can see it with the lights out, lights out, you are in love, true love, you are in love.

You Are In Love, Taylor Swift

Fun story to go with this one: when my mom had been dating my dad for a few months they went to visit her parents, who lived very far away. She was telling my grandmother about how much she missed him every time he travelled and said she didn’t understand why it felt so terrible. My grandmother looked at her and said, “My sweet, beautiful, darling daughter: you are in love.” All of my relatives can quote that line of my grandmother’s word for word. Taylor’s intonation of “you” is the same as my grandmother’s was.

Speaking of my grandmother… I just remembered that a few years ago I found these slides of pictures from my grandparents’ old house (we’re going with the flow of my randomness tonight):

 

All my little plans and schemes, lost like some forgotten dream. Seems like all I really was doing was waiting for you… It’s real love. –Real Love, Tom Odell (Also all of “Grow Old With Me”)

 

My youth, my youth is yours, a truth so loud you can’t ignore. –Youth, Troye Sivan (Technically doesn’t sound like a love song, but in my mind – seeing as I haven’t yet met my person and my youth is coming to an end – I sometimes think of falling in love as deciding to share a past we didn’t have together… my youth.)

 

~~~

 

Why did I do this? I’m going to regret doing this. I’m not going to want anyone to look at my blog ever again. What am I thinking?

But, I must say, these are all fabulous songs that have been waiting to appear on my blog for a long time now. I recommend looking them all up and listening to them, because they aren’t my loves (see what I did there) simply for their words, but for their melodies too. Can we pretend I wrote this simply as a service for the greater good of blog readers, to spread the joy of music?

Ella

 

P.s. I organized the quotes in alphabetical order by the first name of the singer, because anything else felt too preferential.

 

 

The Faux First Day Anecdote

 

I like first days because of how much I dislike them. I feel so nervous that my whole body feels shaky, my heart pounds so quickly and I pee about ten times a minute. I spend so much time thinking over every situation I could possibly encounter and yet I’m always taken by surprise. I love it because I love things that make me feel alive, and first days do that.

 

Exposition.

 

Today I woke up early (from nerves) and put on the outfit I bought specifically for this momentous event (because it’s important to feel confident and cool). I scrambled and I rushed but took the time to make sure I felt ready for this course I’ve been waiting to start for months. I had to park further than I intended, so I ended up power walking, taking the quickest detour possible to use the bathroom (duh).

 

Finally I walked up to the big glass doors (that I vaguely remembered are usually open…) and pushed. And they didn’t budge. So I peered inside. And it was empty. So I looked around myself. And there was no one else there.

 

Plot complication.

 

A guy approached me and asked if I was also there for the course, and as it would turn out we were the only two who had shown up. As we eventually found out, the course doesn’t start for another few days, and we were given the wrong date.

 

Anticlimax.

 

If life were a rom-com the two of us would go grab a cup of coffee, flirt in sepia lighting and fall in love, and oh-isn’t-fate-funny?! But in actuality I said the first thing on my mind: “Just so you know I’m going to be wearing this outfit again next time.” I think he nodded, but I’m not really sure, it’s all a bit fuzzy now.

 

Chapter 2?

 

~~~

 

Ella

 

Song Quote:

 

If we’re strong enough to let it in we’re strong enough to let it go. –Let It All Go, Rhodes and Birdy

 

February 20th update:

Funnily enough, I did end up liking this guy. He was very sweet and friendly, but he smoked and that’s a deal breaker for me. I simply noted from afar whenever he did something thoughtful and made my peace with it, until I found out he doesn’t smoke after all! He simply loved being in the sun during our breaks and went out with the group that smoked. I promptly got my hopes up. Two seconds after I found out he doesn’t smoke, I also found out he’s engaged. So that’s that.

Goody Goody

Change is change and takes adjustment, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Things are picking up, settling in, taking off. It just feels like everything has fallen into place. True to myself I know how to recognize when things are good, and right now, things are good. And I love the weather.

The pain is still here but I’m taking care of myself. The sadness is still here, but there’s satisfaction to combat it. The loneliness is still here, but it has less of a sting to it.

I feel happy again. I feel like I have more good moments than bad moments. I’m crying less. I’m doing more. I’m watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. I’m busy again. I’m seeing my friends more. Or rather, enjoying the time I spend with my friends more than before. I feel like I have what to say, I have what to share, and I have what to be proud of again. I’m interesting and complex and funny and lively. Again.

I wish I could sleep. I mean, it would be helpful, you know? But you can’t have everything. I like that even when it takes me hours to fall asleep, I don’t talk myself into a frenzy. I write stories in my mind like I used to when I was little.

I feel curiosity for the first time in a long time. Being out of school has reminded me that I love learning and I love knowledge, and it’s a joy that is precious. I like surveying the months since graduation in my mind and realizing I’m now out of the dip. I like my clothing and I like how I look. I like that I’m good at staying in touch with people. I like that I persevere. I like that my diary hasn’t been as depressing these past couple weeks.

I like that I’m starting a course soon where I’ll meet new people and make new friends. Winter romance? A possibility.

On that note,

Ella

Song Quote:

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces. -Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles

At this point I refer you back to “An Ode to the Changing of the Clocks”, because it is once again how I feel and I’ve been pining to feel this way for months.