Now.

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I used to wonder. Now I don’t have to. I used to hoard love songs in a playlist called “Some Day”. Now I don’t have to. He was baffled. Now he doesn’t have to be.

Now I don’t need to be confused, or overanalyze, or miss him and worry that he doesn’t miss me or feel the same way.

He misses me. He feels the same way.

And so the girl has a boyfriend.

And she really needs to find a good nickname for him.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

It feels so real, lying here with no one near, only you and you can hear me when I say softly, slowly, hold me closer, tiny dancer. -Tiny Dancer, Elton John

Bloom.

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.

-Ernest Hemingway

I never thought I would have the life I have now. I thought it was impossible, that I would be denied and deprived of it until the day I was no longer sick. I thought Bloom had been stolen from me. I thought like that up until so recently… and then everything changed.

Except that’s just it. Nothing changed. I changed. Sick and tired of waiting to be better to do what I wanted to do and live the way I wanted to live, I’d finally had enough. I remember telling my friends about this crazy idea I had. I told them where I wanted to move, that I had no idea what I would do, where I would live, or how I would get by, but that I was going to figure it out.

And I did. I turned it from something I thought would never happen, from a crazy idea, to a plan, then to a reality, to the life I have now that I can’t begin to tell you how much I love. I find myself thinking, always during the most humdrum moments, “This is Bloom”. My life was so lacking, and now I have everything I was missing. Minus health, of course.

It’s winter now and my pain is ever-present. The cold has turned my body into fragile marble. I feel like I’m drowning beneath the pain, suffocating because breathing takes too much out of me, freezing because my head can’t think over the sound of the struggle. And still —

I’ve never been as happy as I’ve been these last three months since moving. I’ve never felt this happy for this long. I’ve never been as happy to be buying fresh produce, walking to a train stop or doing my laundry. I’ve never been as happy to be in pain, because unlike in the past, I know the pain isn’t winning.

I’m winning. This is Bloom.

I’ll never forget I thought this life was something I would never have. I have it now, and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for it. I’m grateful for it and I’m grateful for myself, for trusting my instincts and not letting my lack of hope or my lack of health stop me from daring to live.

To live in spite of it all.

Someone recently asked me how I manage to deal with all the pain, and my answer was simple: “I just really love life.”

That is the truest sentence I know.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

I live for this feeling, this everglow. -Everglow, Coldplay

Break.

And then comes the breakdown. Because apparently, it’s time. Because I’ve been doing so much, managing so much, taking on immense responsibilities greater than what I’ve ever handled, so yeah… something slips through the cracks.

Except that what slipped through the cracks is a big deal and beyond anything I’ve ever had to figure out before. It’s my fault, my responsibility, and I’m struggling to figure out how to fix it. Such a small mistake and such huge fallout (or at the very least that’s how I feel).

But you don’t make mistakes if you never do anything. I’ve been trying to do everything, and so I’ve made a mistake. Sometimes I forget I’m only 19. I’m living on my own and working a job I’m not really qualified for with zero training, and with that in mind – what’s surprising is that I haven’t messed up until now. Right?

It’s going to work out however it works out and then it’s going to be over.

It’s a breakdown, but I’m not really broken. I’m okay.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

We’re gonna get it, get it together somehow, get it together and go up and up and up.

-Up&Up, Coldplay

Baffling.

“Have you never had a boyfriend?”

I shake my head.

What?… How?!”

I smile. Shrug.

“That’s… baffling.”

(And the word “baffling” was said with so much emotion I don’t think I’ll ever hear it again without thinking of that moment.)

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

You warm me to my core and you left me wanting more. -An Act of Kindness, Bastille

 

Blanket.

I made soup last night. It came out delicious. McLaughin came over and we sat on my couch and ate soup out of mugs. I turned off the stove.

The pot caught fire.

McLaughin and I went out and met up with our friend, Mick. Together we went to… where he works. Was this wise of us? No. Is it what we did anyway? Uh-huh.

McLaughin was up to date, but Mick wasn’t, so I found myself sitting and filling him in on the entire story as he walked back and forth around us. I told Mick the truth: “I hate him for not being interested.” I say it’s fine — if he isn’t into me, I’ll just move on. There will be plenty of options.

But that’s easier said than done.

“I feel pathetic!” I exclaimed to my friends. They comforted me, laughed with me and distracted me. The waitress brought over our drinks.

It’s cold here. I was wearing Mick’s fleece and shivering. And then he came over and handed me a blanket…

“No! Don’t read into this,” McLaughin said as soon as he was out of earshot. “There are plenty of blankets around, it’s not a move.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t ask for one… he thought of me.” As I finish my sentence I drop my head into my hands because McLaughin is right and I don’t want to feel like this anymore. Yet I really can’t help but think about that night, how such a big chunk of the flirtation was around me being cold and him warming my hands…

Mick patted my knee. They both agreed: the situation is bizarre. The wires got crossed somewhere and we’re obviously not on the same page, but it’s just strange of him to make such obvious moves and then flip a switch and turn cold.

They also agreed he’s incredibly handsome (not the word they used).

As we neared midnight, I decided it’s worth enjoying this feeling. Because really, this confusion and angst? It’s so perfectly normal (it’s almost laughable). Mick tells me I’m “practically ‘Sex and the City’”.

They walked me home. They didn’t try to kiss me when we got there*. 

I let myself in and transferred my smoky soup to a container. I started scrubbing the pot and scraping off the charcoal layer at the bottom. As I scrubbed and scraped (and scrubbed and scraped) I felt lousy and elated and stupid and… happy.

Because this, ladies and gentlemen, is what happy looks like. It’s been six weeks since I moved here, five weeks since I started my job, and the biggest problem I’m dealing with is some stupid boy who’s playing it hard to get. It’s been six weeks and I feel like everything’s falling into my place and my life is starting.

“She believed she could so she did” has never felt truer than right now. Everything really is coming down roses.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

I’m drawing perfect circles round the life that we could share. -Light Up the Dark, Gabrielle Aplin

*Ha. Humor.

Onion.

My single roommates and I sit around our living room, scrolling through Facebook on our phones and announcing: “Engaged”… “Married”… “Engaged”. They understand there is no max to how shit I can feel. They say I make love to my food – I take my time, I make sure everything is well orchestrated, I put background music on…

My roommates and I sing nursery rhymes as we walk to the ice cream shop. We read each other texts from guys and congratulate each other on being empowered. We share our writing and speak truths.     

There was a gathering at work, a celebration. I was waiting in line for the sandwich bar with a few friends. He walked over and asked if I could put some red onion on my plate for him. I said yes. Later, after, he said, and I quote, “Thanks for the onion.” So, you know, I figure we’re friends now.

I was walking back from my pilates class a few days ago and all I could really think was, “Eff yeah”. I’m simply loving all of this.

I feel surrounded by hot and cold, hot and cold. I’m giving it no thought.

My roommate calls, “Come look at this girl’s wedding dress!” We flick through pictures and I smile inside out. One day those pictures will be of me, but not yet. I’m good.

I am thrilled through and through with the here and now.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

Everything’s coming down roses. – Whole Lot of Heart, Ingrid Michelson

Mint.

A ray of sunlight will always find its way through my metal slab shutters in the morning. The front door swings open of its own accord if it isn’t locked. There’s a little girl in my building named Ella – she’s always being called outside to play. My stove only responds if you touch it very softly. My windows don’t reopen if you close them. My bed’s too big for one person – I need another person to make it feel right.

This is home. It’s been three weeks, but it may as well have been a lifetime. I’m on my own now.

There’s a guy, who will forever be known as “The One Who Was Nice To Me On My First Day”. I hope he knows that he’s infamous in my book now. He started a conversation as I sat awkward and out of place, and invited me to a movie with a bunch of people. I didn’t know their names until I got there. Until the movie was over.

There’s another guy, who will forever be known as “The One Who I Flirted With And Who Flirted With Me.” He was sweet, and thoughtful, and warmed my hands when they were ice cold. We were surrounded by people the entire night – his people and apparently now mine too. He didn’t seem to care. He cared about my story and what I’ve been through, without knowing who I am. We laughed, and joked, and he made my face all warm and my heart expand. I felt something, maybe for the first time ever. I could see it.

He walked me home, even though it was out of his way. He told me about himself and I won’t share much, lest someone put two and two together. But he made himself vulnerable – more vulnerable than I would have thought him capable of after only a few hours. My apartment came around too soon. It was late, but the entrance to my building was swarming with people. We hugged. We pulled apart. Or rather, I thought we were pulling apart but he was pulling me in for more than a hug. I didn’t realize. He got my cheek.

I was flustered. I should have expected it – I was hoping for it the whole night – but it took me by surprise. I felt uncomfortable surrounded by all those people, the children, everyone watching us. I quietly said, sweetly I hope, “Not in front of the kids.” He smiled, I think. I’m not sure. We hugged again, and held hands as I parted for the building. I couldn’t sleep, running the whole thing through my mind and wondering how I could have made things end differently. I couldn’t sleep, thinking of the next time I would see him.

I saw him today. I don’t think I imagined the whole thing, but today… it didn’t seem like we had the same experience that night at all. He hugged everyone around me, but barely said hello to me. I wouldn’t care, except that when I saw him walk through the door I felt like my insides were struggling to escape. I’ve never felt that before. I watched as he made his rounds, and waited for him to reach me, suspended by the suspense of not knowing how he would greet me. But I don’t think I imagined the whole thing, so now I’m left with… Did he misinterpret my response that night? Did he feel rejected (like I do now)? He has no way of knowing what I’ve been thinking ever since then. How I’ve been thinking of him.

My new job is strange. I’m not sure how to find my place in an environment that’s so dynamic, but I’m taking it as it comes. Ask me one day and the place is amazing – the people, the cause, the projects – it’s phenomenal! Ask me the next and the place is confusing and I am out of my element. 

We’re five roommates, but three are subletting to other girls, so in the span of less than 20 days I’ve had 7 roommates.

There was a while when fibro was a non-issue. It’s an issue again, but I refuse to accept that.

I joined a gym. They’re requiring me to bring a doctor’s note that it isn’t dangerous for me or other people to join classes.

One night I sat on my porch in the dark and watched a show on my laptop. One character proposed to the other, and I burst out crying. It was just too much.

There is not a single person around me who has known me for longer than three weeks.

The light switch closest to my front door controls the light furthest from it. My fridge has a “pour water” option, but the spout isn’t where the marking is. There are four mirrors on the trip from the entrance to my room. The microwave isn’t broken – only the “Start” button is. The pictures I’ve strung up along my wall fly off when I turn on my fan. I’ve stopped using my fan.

This is home, and I love it more than anyone could possibly imagine.

This is my life now, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted. 

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

Something inside me has changed, I was so much younger yesterday. -Starving, Hailee Steinfeld