Rising.

 

I am rising.

 

Rising, as opposed to drowning

But not rising, as in forgetting.

 

The yearning

For him, the love, the passion

Persist inside me.

Nothing is gone.

(Except for him.)

 

It hurts less and less,

But I still think about him every day.

 

He’s with me every step of the way,

As I step towards a future

Without him.

I carry the past with me,

Wrapped and entangled

And entrenched

Always

In memories that wrench my heart

And blur my mind.

(More than anything),

I am stronger for it.

 

I am rising.

 

~

Ella

 

“I’ll rise up and I’ll do it a thousand times again.” -Andra Day

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And all the sad words.

 

And all the sad words have been written and recorded.

In a loaded diary, in untitled documents, on discarded pieces of paper,

And in tears that have since dried.

 

And all the sad words break my heart right back into a million pieces,

Into sharp edged shards of glass that glisten and glimmer, mocking me.

And yet slowly the glass crumbles into sand.

 

And all the sad words sound like they were written by someone else,

Someone who seems to know exactly how I felt,

But who isn’t me. Because my attempts to distance myself from those shards of glass…

 

Are starting to work.

 

I can breathe.

 

Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I glimpse the shadow of that girl. The one who couldn’t think, who couldn’t hear her own voice, who felt so torn apart inside it’s a wonder she remained intact.

 

That girl looked haggard.

She was in love,

But she was hurting.

 

I catch other glimpses though, in that stained and cracked bathroom mirror. I see the reflection of an elegant woman. She is brave and wise, confident and pure of heart. She is golden, effervescent, enchanted…

 

She knows how to love, and she will love again. And maybe next time it will be right.

 

~

Ella

 

“Birds flying high, you know how I feel / Sun in the sky, you know how I feel / Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel / It’s a new dawn / It’s a new day / It’s a new life / For me.” – Nina Simone

At first I called this “The Dock”, but now I’m calling it “In The Water”.

 

The girl was on the rickety dock for months.

The dock was familiar, and it felt like home.

Sometimes she was closer to the shore, at other times closer to the water, but most of the time

She was sat safely in the middle of the dock.

 

Until one day

She realized that the water seemed to be getting closer.

Maybe the tides were changing, or it had rained so much that the water level had started rising.

Or maybe, just maybe, the girl had been moving

Unnoticed even to her.

 

Something had changed.

All of a sudden the girl found herself on the very edge of the dock.

Her toes peeked out over the water, the water that was so close, and she felt the spray of droplets tickle her feet. She stood like that for a few days, sobbing, and looking back at the path she had walked. Then, she took a deep breath, braced herself and stepped off the dock.

 

Splashing

Gasping

Reaching

Crying

Drowning.

 

The blue coated her.

The sea claimed her.

Under the surface everything was dark.

She was cold.

 

And so the girl came to live her life from way out at sea.

Every day she kicked her legs to stay afloat, even as she drifted further into the depths.

Sometimes, her head was fully above water, and she could breathe.

She could even feel the heat of the sunlight on her closed eyelids.

But when she tired of the effort it took to stay in the sun, she sank back into the water,

Where the monsters were lying in wait.

 

The strain of the struggle has warped the girl’s perception of time.

Two full years of her life led her to that dock, and now

She’s been in the water for two months.

Both stretches of time feel equally as endless.

 

Only one has come to an end.

 

The girl is in the water.

She isn’t waiting there to be saved. She knows how to swim.

She’ll swim back to shore when she’s ready.

(She’s just not ready.)

~

Ella

“It’s everything you ever want
It’s everything you ever need
And it’s here right in front of you
This is where you wanna be…

So tell me do you wanna go?” -The Greatest Show

(No.)

Day 1.

 

December 3rd, 2016 – December 21st, 2018

 

His key on my desk. It’s over. Pile of tissues on the bed. On his side of the bed. An empty shelf in the closet. Missing utensils in the kitchen. No toothbrush. No future together.

I wanted one more night. I needed it. To live it while knowing it was the the last one, to hold him tight, to memorize the way it feels with him. To look into his beautiful eyes while I still could, and tell him how much I love him. I asked him for the night.

We both knew. We’ve known for a while. It was in the air, and we left it unspoken, so we could just have a little bit more time. It was heartbreakingly, gut-wrenchingly, sad.

There was nothing left to say. He won’t be my one and only forever. He won’t be mine anymore. Two years is the time we were destined to have.

But we tried so hard to save it. I tried so hard. It has taken me months to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing left I can try, nothing else I can do, except accept the situation. There’s no use fighting the truth anymore. You can only fight for so long.

We knew it had to end, and we knew that it would. That knowledge was tearing me apart. For months I’ve been stuck in a loop, trying to bring myself to end it but not wanting to. My heart has broken every day, over and over again, but it I never gave it a chance to heal. I’ve been preparing for Day 1 for so long, and fearing it for so long, but I never made it to Day 2.

Now it’s over. It’s Day 1. And tomorrow will be Day 2.

~

We put his things in the car and he pulled me a few steps aside. We hugged, and he twirled me around. We looked at each other lovingly, tears falling on my cheeks, glistening in the sunlight. We kissed. He called me his. I called him mine. He told me I’m beautiful. We walked the few steps back, holding hands. “My first love,” I smiled up at him, holding him with two hands. “And hopefully not your last,” he said. And smiled back.

~

Ella

~

Like it was written for our last night together…  “All I Ask” by Adele:

 

I will leave my heart at the door

I won’t say a word

They’ve all been said before, you know

So why don’t we just play pretend

Like we’re not scared of what is coming next

Or scared of having nothing left

 

Look, don’t get me wrong

I know there is no tomorrow

All I ask is

 

If this is my last night with you

Hold me like I’m more than just a friend

Give me a memory I can use

Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do

It matters how this ends

‘Cause what if I never love again?

 

I don’t need your honesty

It’s already in your eyes

And I’m sure my eyes, they speak for me

No one knows me like you do

And since you’re the only one that mattered

Tell me who do I run to?

….

Let this be our lesson in love

Let this be the way we remember us …. 

 

A quiet storm. -21

20 was quiet. I’ve known happier years, and I’ve known sadder years. Last birthday I was bursting with words, none of which were enough to describe the life I’d been living. But this birthday, the words are harder to find.

For a multitude of reasons, this year I found it very hard to make it through the day. Whether it was pain, exhaustion, anxiety, frustration, disheartenment or confusion – it just took a lot of conscious effort to keep myself going. It’s been a struggle. A quiet struggle.

This year I left the first place I ever felt truly happy with my life, and moved to a new city again. It still doesn’t really feel like home, but it’s comfortable here. I bought a mattress and a rocking chair, and filled my room with lights. I’ve had 3 different gym memberships (it’s a long story). I take walks, even though there isn’t really anywhere to walk to. At first, when I moved here, I was so lost in memories of the past. I would walk the streets of my old home in my mind, and I missed it so much that it hurt. But I have a good, humdrum, routine life here. A quiet life.

In October, I started university. It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I didn’t fit in. It took me a while to find my people and find my place. I loved my first semester – everything was interesting, exciting and challenging. Now I’m in my second semester, and it totally sucks. I’m genuinely counting the days until it ends (coincidentally, 21 days).

Despite that, university has still been a good place for me. I’ve been doing well. The university itself has offered me 4 different jobs in the time I’ve been there (I took three of them), and so many opportunities have found their way to me. I joined my university’s radio station, and now I produce and host two shows on the radio every week. I spend so many hours at the station that it feels like home. I’ve created really cool things as part of my workshops, and I’ve gotten high grades and high praise on everything. I’ve succeeded. I guess, when I think about, I actually took university by storm. Somehow it was just a quiet storm.

This year I didn’t settle for anything less than what I deserve. I challenged myself to be in control and to face everything – even things that scared me. I did everything I could think of to take care of my health, and went through such upsetting processes along the way. It was a really difficult health year, but I never gave up on myself. I’ve been dealing with my pain for 7 years, and I’ve fought for my right to find salvation. It might be right around the corner now. I’ve done what I can to give myself my best shot at life. And I’ve done so quietly.

I guess the loudest thing that happened this year was the breakup. It was the epitome of not settling for less than what I deserve. Even though most aspects of my relationship were so beautiful, it still caused me so much heartache this year. Ending the relationship was terrifying, and I was so proud of myself for doing it. As he told me that night, he was also kind of proud of me. Tom and I were broken up for 9 days, 9 days that changed so much.

Breaking up with him was the second best decision I made this year. The best decision was to get back together with him. It’s crazy to think the story could have ended there, and not evolved to become what it is now. It took brutal honesty, brave decisions and a lot of trust, but we worked through it all. I’m so grateful he loved me enough to try, and I still get to have him be mine.

I don’t know why I feel that so many things this year happened quietly. But whether my days have been quiet or loud, I know that I’ve been living a good life. It’s a thought I have when I remember that my childhood bike had streamers running from the handles, when I walk onto campus and look at all the beautiful trees, and when my mom sends me pictures of flower arrangements in the vase I gave her. Please remind me forever to be thankful for the life I have had.

This is the 6th birthday in a row that I’ve sat down to write, and it’s weird for me that it doesn’t feel so significant this time. Even though university was an entirely new experience, I suppose I just feel I haven’t created a new world this year. And that’s okay. I’ve been living in the world I created last year, and I’ve appreciated it for what it’s worth.

I can’t describe this year as dazzling, but I can say that I’ve felt proud of my achievements. Nothing was particularly exhilarating, but I’ve been lucky enough to have my loved ones close by. And even though nothing really changed this year, the good things have stayed good, and for that I’m grateful.  

I wonder what 21 will bring.

~~~

Ella

“I know you’re feelin’ weighed down tonight, and you can’t find the breaks. Every day is too long for you, you are sworn to your fate. But we got everything we need, baby, in the memories we make, in a world of reinventions it’s never too late.” – Sam Smith

 

Taking stock.

I have too many thoughts. I need to get them down.

Things that have hurt me:

  • Him not being there for me
  • Him changing plans at the last minute, all the time
  • Him being hours late
  • Him choosing other people over me
  • Him not calling me back and leaving me hanging
  • Him putting his needs above mine, all the time
  • Him saying negative things about my family
  • Feeling like I had to beg for attention
  • Feeling rejected and unimportant
  • Feeling alone, when I was meant to feel like I had him. Too often I felt like I couldn’t talk to him.
  • Being so confused when he says one thing but his behavior says another
  • Sometimes feeling afraid he would be judgy or dismissive about stuff
  • All the times he ruined my joy

What I’m looking forward to about being single:

  • Dating other people. Having new stories. Being my age.
  • Dating someone who eats vegetables, has a driver’s license, and who doesn’t have a secret job that takes priority
  • Dating someone who has more free time, who I can make casual, carefree plans with. Just dating someone who is actually around
  • Dating someone who is in a more similar place in life, and who is on the same schedule and timeline as I am
  • Dating someone who lives in the same city
  • Being able to be more present wherever I am, less distracted by someone far away. Being less attached to my phone, because my phone was my only potential connection to him.
  • Being more at peace with my truth
  • Not having to wait for him all the time
  • Not having to deal with him being forgetful and disorganized

Things I’ve hated about being single:

  • Not having him.
  • Not having him.
  • Not having him.

Steps I took towards moving on:

  • I found comfort with my family and my friends, who have been so unbelievably amazing and supportive. I’ve spoken to so many people in the past week, and they’ve all understood me so well, empathized, mourned the loss of him along with me, but also told me how proud they are of me. Reminded me how many more chances I’ll have to be in love, how worthy I am and how strong I am. How I will find someone (how they will help me find someone) who is everything I need and more, and who I can be happier with.
  • I cried myself out, until I had no tears left.
  • Studied for and completed my finals, even though I probably did less well than I could have. I was distracted by him and everything I was feeling. But I still did it – I showed up for the tests and I did my best, and the fact that less than 48 hours after I could sit for a four hour test is pretty impressive.
  • I gave him his stuff
  • I made a break up playlist called “I Choose Me”
  • I changed my profile pictures
  • I switched out the fairy lights he gave me for my own set
  • I changed his name in my phone back to his full name
  • I cancelled the tickets I bought us for a show
  • I took down our framed picture in my room, and moved our pictures from my phone to a backup drive. 896 photos. 
  • I put our pictures, magnets, and letters in a box. I didn’t cry when reading his letters.
  • I de-synchronized our calendars so he couldn’t access mine anymore
  • I had dinner at a friend’s house, met a gorgeous Italian there, and found out he now “has the hots” for me (friend’s wording, not mine)
  • I planned my next radio show to reclaim the songs I connected with him. “All of the songs I’m going to play for you tonight are songs that used to be linked to someone very special to me. Now we’re going to reclaim them, and change their meaning to be about closure.” The last song: “Don’t you forget about me”, from the end of The Breakfast Club.

Reasons I agreed to meet with him:

  • The end was so abrupt, and he was so in shock, that the whole conversation feels surreal and it makes sense to talk again
  • I haven’t stopped loving him, and since I’m the one who made the decision and it came as a complete surprise to him, I think the right and decent thing to do is be present for another conversation.
  • At the very least, it could mean a bit more closure.
  • I genuinely thought he would never reach out to me. He said, when I broke up with him, that he wouldn’t reach out to me. So the fact that he did – it has to mean something.
  • I hoped that he would fight for me and try to prove himself, and when he told me he wouldn’t, it really hurt. But now he’s changed his mind, and that’s what he’s trying to do. So I think it’s only right that I hear him out.
  • He waited to reach out to me until after my last final so that he wouldn’t interfere with my studying. That was considerate and shows he put my needs above his, which is a small sign that maybe something will change.

Things that would have to change:

  • So much. So much would have to change. I’ll just write a few.
  • He would have to learn how to stick to plans and be on time
  • He would have to make it clear that he knows where he was wrong, and that things really will be different. He would have to find a way to prove to me that he’ll set his priorities right
  • He would have to try harder with my family
  • He would have to put my needs first more often, and not just think about his needs
  • He can’t ever make me feel like a burden or an obligation. Shame on him if he ever repeats the things he wrote that night
  • In all honesty, he would have to start getting his license. It’s so frustrating that only I can drive, and it limits our options for fun because he can’t drive us back home late at night. Plus, as of a few months from now I might not be allowed to drive anymore, so it would be really crucial to be with someone who can

Reasons I’m scared to get back together with him:

  • What if I go back to him and nothing actually changes? I wanted to be done getting hurt.
  • I don’t want to have to leave him all over again.
  • I’m scared I’ll feel weak, for going back to something that already proved hurtful. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” sort of situation.
  • He was so good at saying what I needed to hear and making me feel like everything is okay. It made me quash my feelings down so many times and I’m scared things will fall back to the way they were. I don’t want to go back to him just because it’s hard to get over him and because he says the right things.
  • I’m scared if we get back together, and he tries super hard, and it still isn’t enough for… that could really hurt him. I don’t want to hurt him.
  • I’ve started taking steps to move on, and a lot of the steps have felt so good and so positive.
  • I’ll be sad to get back together because it will mean that I won’t get to see other people now and have new stories. No hooking up with random hot Italian dudes.

Reasons maybe I should get back together with him:

  • We’ve had such a significant, deep relationship, and it’s probably worth giving it another shot
  • What if he really has realized where he was wrong, and things do change, and this relationship lasts? I feel like I owe it to myself to see if that’s what will happen, so I don’t always wonder “what if”.
  • I know how to leave him. I’ve proved to myself and to him that if I need to make that decision, I can. Which means if I have to, I can do it again. If it has to end again, it won’t hurt as much, because the decision would be so much easier to make and I would have more closure and peace of mind than I do this time.
  • My mom reminded me what happened with her and my dad. When they were dating, my mom told my dad that she felt he didn’t love her enough and that she was going to move on and find something better for herself. Somehow that made it clear to my dad how much he appreciates, respects and loves her. It changed everything for him. It set everything in place for them. They’ve been happily married for 30 years. What if this is the shock to the system that our relationship needed?
  • It’s been such a strange thought that I wouldn’t be talking to him anymore or sharing my life with him. He’s such a huge part of my life, and that doesn’t just disappear.

What do I do?

~

Ella

I will walk in there.

I will walk in there

With my head held high

And tell him it’s time

I say

Goodbye.

 

I will tell him:

 

For months and months

It’s been the same old story.

We’ve been going around and around

The same things

And nothing changes.

My feelings keep getting hurt

And I deserve better.

 

I don’t think you realize how much it hurts

When I get my hopes up that things will change.

 

I do what’s best for you

And you do what’s best for you.

Can’t you see that’s not how it’s meant to be?

 

Every time I have to wait for you to decide

Whether you’re going to come see me or not

(And you decide not).

Every time you say I should tell you what I need

And then I do

(And you don’t do it).

Every time I hear the phrase

“This is what’s right for me right now”

(And what’s right never seems to be

Being with me).

Every time,

I lose a little bit of my self respect

Because every time, I just accept.

But I can’t keep doing that.

There’s a limit

And we have reached it.

I don’t want to keep feeling like I have to beg

For your attention.

 

If I keep forgiving

That which hurts my heart

I’m not sure what I’ll have left of it.

 

It was exactly a year ago that I told you I loved you

For the very first time.

I gave my heart to you that night

And now I have to take it back.

 

I know my self worth.

 

I deserve someone who drops everything

When I tell them I need them.

I deserve someone who does the utmost they could possibly do

To get themselves to my side.

I deserve someone who wants to see me

More than anything.

I deserve someone who doesn’t make me wait

And wait and wait.

I deserve someone who never, ever,

Makes me feel (even just a little bit) rejected.

I deserve someone who puts me first,

And who loves in the way that I love.

 

Sometimes, you were that person.

But often, you weren’t.

I owe it to myself

To demand better.

 

I know my self worth.

 

I will say goodbye

And then I will walk out of there.

 

And also:

 

When I walk out of there

I will break my own heart.

~

Goodbye, Tomie Tom. You’ve been my world. I will always love you. I miss you already.

~

Ella

“I’ll always love you, but tonight’s the night I choose to walk away, I’ve got to.” Midnight Train, Sam Smith