Not This Way

RIP sleep

This isn’t how it was supposed to go. I wasn’t supposed to feel like I was seconds away from collapsing all day. I’m not supposed to feel this upset after what otherwise would have been a great day.


Today was my first day of junior year, and like anyone would be, I was excited, nervous, and not at all eager for it to start. But at the same time, I was worried. I chose a beautiful outfit to wear today, got my hair cut a few days ago (so now when I wear it down it’s layered and naturally wavy), and got myself just a bit pumped about a new school year. But I was worried.


Ten minutes in, I felt sick to my stomach and needed to run outside. Too much noise, too many people, too many limbs around me. Outside it was extremely muggy, so after realizing I was probably going to get more oxygen inside, I went back in. Playing super hero music in my head and thinking “I’m going in” helped a little bit with that tough decision.


See, you all pretty much know me by now, or know the way my quirky head works. You know that I am generally an optimistic person, and that in almost every post, regardless of it’s theme, I have some witty or weird sentences that lift the spirits a bit. This comes naturally, and it wouldn’t be me writing if whatever piece didn’t have those. Right now though, I don’t want them to be here, because it’s makes me sound happy or strong or brave or whatever, and I’m not! Well. I am. But I’m not. You know?




I had a really hard time. I’m not going to get into everything that happened today, but I’ll share a few main events that show that the staff at my school are incredible, and that I feel really sick:


-My teacher had the “tech staff” turn down the volume on the microphone after it worsened my migraine.


-The school guidance counselor brought me a cup of water and offered to take me home when she saw how I looked (dead and sweaty).


-The principal picked up my backpack, carried it for me, and let me stay in his office (under the air conditioner) until I felt a little better.


-The school superintendent is setting up a cupboard in my main classroom so I don’t have to walk down two flights of stairs to get to the lockers.


So as you can see, my school has been absolutely amazing to me so far, and it’s only been a day. I’m so incredibly thankful for them, especially the guidance counselor who has been on my side since the first day three years ago, when I transferred into this school. She’s known me since before all of the medical shifts and scares.


At the same time, this year is extremely intense in terms of school work and schedules, and my energy is so limited that whatever leeway I’m given will only make a dent. I have a long scary year ahead of me, and I want to just go ahead and tackle it, but I don’t know if I can. I’m so sick and so tired after one frickin’ day. How am I supposed to last more than that?


It doesn’t help that I haven’t seen my dad in forever. Part of it as because my vacation was longer than the rest of my family’s, so I missed a week, then he went away on business. It has been two and a half weeks since I saw him, and he comes back this Friday. Usually our relationship is great, even when he’s away, but this time it’s been complicated. He’s away so often, and he misses so much of my life. I know it’s not fair to be angry at him, because it’s not like he’s having that great of a time and he’s just abandoning us. He’s working all day long, and I know that he’s probably lonely. He just… he’s away, you know? My life keeps going, and two weeks in teenager land is a major chunk of time.


He misses doctor’s appointments, school meetings, tests, and dinner I cooked for everyone last night. Ten minutes on the phone everyday is just not enough. He also has a knee-jerk reaction to any complaints, which is to get angry/frustrated and try to make it clear to us that the world is a mean place and we should just deal. The thing is, I’m not like some other family members: I rarely complain. I rant, but in a funny, sarcastic way. If I’m complaining, it means it’s serious and I need support. Him telling me off is not what I need. It’s not like I’m trying to have a bad day on purpose.


For instance, when my mom and I went to another doctor last week (a new one), he (the doctor) was a total jerk and upset me a lot. I talked with my dad on the phone right after, and I was basically sobbing into the phone. He very quickly just got frustrated and told me I should just deal and not over-react. When I talked to him the next day he told me he talked to my mom, and “it turns out” I “wasn’t exaggerating, the doctor really was a jerk”. No kidding. I told him I don’t normally complain or make a big deal out of little stuff, so if I tell him something, he should just take it as it is. It’s the truth. It doesn’t help that he always has to cut the conversation short because a meeting is starting.


I try to be understanding, to tell myself that he’s working really hard, that he didn’t choose to have to travel so much (except he did, basically), and that he would much rather be home with us all the time. But at the end of the day, when I’m a kid and he’s my dad, he just isn’t home. I hate it, and I’m crying, because I miss him and I don’t want to have to write this down. If I don’t though, I’ll just feel worse.


Starting a new school year is never supposed to be all that amazing, but it definitely wasn’t meant to be like this. I just want to feel better already. Screw all that telling myself it could be worse, and that I should love and enjoy life. Life right now sucks. I want to be better. Healthy.


I can’t sit here anymore, my back hurts.

On that absolutely beautiful and uplifting note,

Yours truly,



Song Quote:

All the dishes and the words would pile up inside, she loved the world but it didn’t love her back. -Expecting Too Much, Orla Gartland



8 comments on “Not This Way

  1. Taylor Jamieson says:

    Hi Ella,

    Just catching up with your writing and wanted to tell you, you really touched me as a dad with this story. My son started school last week. He is nine, sometimes bold, sometimes scared, eager to please his dad and fiercely independent at the same time. We road our bikes on the first day and his little sister had to tag along. I used to travel too, like your dad and I know what it’s like to miss those precious days,

    That day, I was helping my little girl (she’s 4) across the grass in the park beside our house where she had trouble with her pedals and when we rounded the fence at the corner I saw my son on the ground tangled in his backpack and bike face down on the sidewalk yelling, ‘dada, dada….’ I ran to him and held him as he cried and he calmed while a stranger with his little girl came over to see if he was OK. He had skinned knees and and hit his head (yes, helmet on!) and face on the fall and bit into the back of his upper lip with his teeth. He cried and caught his breath and coughed and spit out the blood and I held him there on the sidewalk and knew it was my fault.

    I know…but I should have been there to catch his fall…I should have been closer, right beside him, watching, waiting, anticipating…

    Dad’s do that. Some of us say, some of us don’t, sometimes we are there and the rest of the time we wish we were. I honestly believe if I were beside him he wouldn’t have fallen. I know that is silly and impossible but it’s true. I don’t know your dad Ella but I know that much.

    I can’t sit here anymore…my back hurts. ;)

    Have a great day Ella.


  2. melodyr883 says:

    I am a 47 year old mom of 2..a 13 yr. Old and 11 yr old…and I wish I could just hug u right now…I think you should tell your dad exactly how you told us..if you can’t let him read your blog..thst might help…as parents who are working and going thru daily crap..we tend to ignore things..and hope its just a phase or temporary problem. ..hang in there..I had a god awful day too. .had to keep myself from crying at my desk at work..the fibro took over today.


  3. destinyjmm36 says:

    I give you a LOT of credit for giving it your best on your first day of school! :) And it definitely sounds like the school staff are supportive of your fibromyalgia (which is good). Perhaps there could be a way where the school can flex and bend where on some days you can complete your classwork and homework at home so then you can get some time to rest.

    During your bad moments, as hard as it may seem, try to focus on the good things that happened in your day (no matter how small). It may help you feel a little better. I’ll pray for you that your school year gets better, and that there can be some sort of compromise where you can get your school work done but also be able to take frequent breaks to rest. :)


  4. You went back in. Well done. That is the best and bravest thing you could do.
    If time out is what you need, take it.
    Just keep going, one day at a time and celebrate the successes you have.
    Oh, and jerk doctors suck, can you ask to change? I did and it was the best move ever.


  5. dawnhosking says:

    You are having it tough at present – I can’t begin to imagine attempting to attend class when I feel at my worst. You are brave ;)


  6. My day wasn’t nearly as exciting as yours, but none the less I too thought it would go a different way. When I saw and read the sleep tombstone I knew this was for me. I have serious issues finding sleep, I always have, but now it’s exponentially compounded by my neuropathy. I normally don’t sleep until my body just gives out. But sometimes I can get on a little bit of a cycle, as I thought I was starting my second day of today. But lo’ and behold the biting pain returned again. So I’m going back in for another thirty hours as of right now and probably will keep on rolling for another day or two. I’m sorry your day sucked but it’s comforting to know there are other people out there. Keep on trucking sister and pop me a message if you’re stuck somewhere in your day ………………………………………………….. I’m normally up.. :) Haha..


  7. Ella, I am so completely in awe of you. You are totally a wonderful, brave woman. I know what you’ve been through. I went through it in my 40’s. For you to go through this at 16 or so is just too much. I want you to know I have so much empathy for you. I hate that doctor you saw. Your father doesn’t get it. He has no understanding of what a brave, brave young woman he has for a daughter. Take it a day at a time and see how things go. If you can’t do a day at a time, try a minute at a time. Take good care.


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