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.

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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.

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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!

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.

 

 

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.

Some Truths

I have this fear that my life is a story.

I worry I will one day faint down the stairs.

When my body crashes and I feel worse, my body self esteem dips.

I’m good at being the bigger person when someone else can’t be.

I’m always the one to speak. I’m not sure I like that.

I can’t think of any deep, dark secrets I have.

Sometimes I sip water as though my life depends on finishing the bottle. I wish it could be my salvation.

I think that as a child I suppressed my jealous streak, but it’s still in there somewhere. Maybe that’s my deep, dark secret.

I miss not knowing about the horrible things that happen in the world.

Just some truths today. What are yours?

Ella

Song Quote:

Sometimes I think that I think too much. – Hold You, Nina Nesbitt

The Year of the Extreme – 18

18

My dad always says that the best way to live your life is by being where you are.

I’m very good at being where I am and feeling everything to the fullest, for better or for worse. Today is my 18th birthday. Looking back on 17, I see it as the year of the extreme.

When I was happy, I was really happy, but when I was hopeless, I was really hopeless. So it went with every emotion, from anxiety and sadness to excitement and love. There were times when I felt like I loved my friends so much I would burst, but others when I felt like my struggles were all for naught and I have no future. I felt everything so strongly, and though it’s part of what makes me who I am, it doesn’t lead to the most stable way of life. This year has been exhausting. Maybe it has to do with age or maybe with my personality, but I hope that in the coming year I’ll be able to maintain a steady, positive outlook.

I am a happy and optimistic person, stuck in a situation that often leads me to lose sight of all the good. There is a constant war inside of me, trying to lift myself, suspend myself, and run far, far away from the pain.

There are two things I’ve learned from a person I appreciate very much:

  • Every time I feel pain, of any kind, it only makes me more human. With every new experience of hardship there are many more people whose difficulties I can relate to and to whom my understanding can extend.
  • The moments in life of intense emotion are beautiful. Never before had I looked at my breaking points as beautiful, but this statement of sorts fits perfectly into how I view the world and manage my way through it: we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we look and approach it. I now suddenly find myself sobbing in anguish in my bed and thinking, “This is beautiful. These feelings are beautiful.”

I am eternally grateful to this person.

There’s this exercise where you imagine all of your thoughts as cars on a highway in front of you and you need to try to stay calm and just watch them as they pass by, without feeling like you’re in the traffic yourself. You are an observer of your own thoughts, and you don’t need to find yourself in chaotic, honking danger of being caught in the way of the cars. This year I definitely found myself precariously jaywalking.

The truth is that from every time I’ve reached rock bottom, I’ve risen with newfound insight and maturity. I’ve known for a long time that happiness is not a state that you achieve, but rather something you need to learn how to glimpse when you pass it by. If you don’t notice it, appreciate it and cherish it, you will never feel like you’ve found it. There were moments this year when I was happy. Albeit greatly overshadowed by pain, fear and anger, I will not let myself view this year as one devoid of happiness.

This year holds the record for fewest moments of hating myself. I genuinely like who I am, and in my better moments, I can see myself succeeding in my life. My parents raised me to acknowledge my strengths, and so I do. My strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa, but I’ve made my peace with that. I am a wonderful person, if only because of how hard I try to be so, and it feels really good to say that.

I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I can’t view myself in two months, and definitely not in two, ten or twenty years, but I have a few wishes.

I hope I never forget to remember that people are large and we contain multitudes (Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”, section 51). I will live my life with an open mind, open eyes and an open heart. I will always try to see people and accept them for all that they are. If there is one thing that really gets to me, it’s when people judge others and don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Every single one of us has feelings, memories, and a story of their own, and that is never to be belittled.

“I want to encourage you to be vigilant in the struggle towards empathy… You will have a choice about how to read the actions and intonations of the people you meet. I would encourage you as often as possible to consider… the possibility that the lives and experiences of others are as complex and unpredictable as your own. That other people… are not simply one thing or the other – not simply good or evil or wise or ignorant… You will always be stuck inside of your own body, with your own consciousness, seeing the world through your own eyes, but the gift and the challenge… is to see other as they see themselves, to grapple meaningfully with this cruel and crazy and beautiful world in all of its baffling complexity.” –John Green, commencement speech 2013

I hope my relationships grow stronger and more meaningful every day. I hope I keep trying even harder to be a good person. I hope I don’t lose sight of how much I love life. I hope I fall in love (she puts in the middle of the paragraph to feel less silly for writing it). I hope I keep writing, because it brings me joy and pride. I hope I retain my enthusiasm for everything I love. I hope time will do its job and freaking cure me already. I hope I never let my difficulties cloud my vision. The vision is everything.

Nothing is ever ideal, but the love I’ve been receiving today fills me with warm and fuzzy feelings. Kind words pouring in from everyone that matters to me makes it all seem worth it.

Here’s to being 18.

Love,

Ella

Song Quote:

The backs of my eyes hum with all of the things I’ve never done. –Welcome Home, Radical Face

Where I Belong

The wildest thing about time is that I see it coming.

I dream of having my own apartment someday, decorated corner to corner by me, myself and I. I see it as a cozy, homely place where amazing things will happen. It will be a home not only to me but to my friends, who will probably like it way more than wherever they’re living.

It’ll be my little spot in the world.

My music will be my soundtrack.

I won’t own two of the same mug. I don’t do that set thing. Every mug will have a story.

I’ll have really cool coffee table books.

Pillows and blankets will be in abundance, heaped in corners next to piles of books and collecting a musky smell that I will come to love.

It’ll be marvelous.

Love,

Ella

Song Quote:

When my heart is ready to burst, when the world spins in reverse, I’ll keep running to the place where I belong. –Running, James Bay

Oh, and fairy lights! I’ll have fairy lights!