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

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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.

The Hospital Anecdote

I never wanted to end up in the hospital. I never wanted to get sick in the first place.

I’m so exhausted. Yesterday was a nightmare, and I wish I could erase it from my memory.

But I keep thinking of two things: the song that played in my head while I listened to other people moan and cry out in pain, and the hair cut I’ve been dreaming of for years.

“All I need’s a whisper in a world that only shouts.” Poignant as it is, I’ve related to it since I heard it for the very first time. But after everything I went through yesterday, it was the soundtrack and is still at the forefront of my mind. I don’t deserve what has happened to me. I am a good person, and this is awful stuff. The pain I suffer through is not fair, and yesterday was a bad dream that really happened.

I’m getting a pixie cut. This is so unrelated, but lying in bed today, all day, I keep thinking about it. How free I’ll feel, how cute it’ll look and how I can’t wait to release the weight of all of this long hair. I never realized what a burden it was until I decided to cut it off.

This haircut is now linked, hand in hand, with graduation. I naturally create things to look forward when I’m staring at a bleak stretch of time. I’m about to finish high school and I have no clue what my life will look like. The fear threatens to cripple me every day. Because here, look what happened! I have three weeks left to the year and it was so important to me to feel like I’m not missing out on anything, so I pushed myself beyond my limit and yesterday happened.

Yesterday.

Isn’t it fun when you end up in the hospital? When the dramatics went down in school and they carried you through the building on a gurney to the ambulance?

My own voice is echoing in my mind. “Why are you being so mean?” I tried to yell at the paramedics. They were hurting me, but I could barely talk. I don’t know if I screamed it or not.

Isn’t it funny that I just turned eighteen? At eighteen and three days I wasn’t allowed to go to the children’s hospital and had to go through the regular emergency room. I spent seven hours hearing awful sounds and seeing awful sights. All I need is a whisper.

From the worse pain to the shaking hands, from the tightening sensations to the embarrassment, from the worry and fear to the panic. From the mob of spectators to the scary paramedics, from the rough yanking and dragging to the collapsing, from the stairs to the chair and the chair to the gurney. From the sirens and the movement to the bed-to-bed, from the ugly curtains and needles and sleepy eyes to the waiting and waiting and waiting. The sounds of suffering, the yelp of the in pain. Curtains don’t block sound. The man who yelled that the nurses don’t care if his wife dies. The man was removed by security. I cried and cried – the woman was alone now. I want to go home. The world only shouts.

Erase. Erase. Erase. Delete. Backspace.

Now I should think of a way to look at this differently. I shouldn’t be angry at the world; I should appreciate what didn’t go wrong.

My friends were amazing. They acted quickly, and well. They love me. It upsets me that they saw me like that. They love me. My family loves me. Yesterday proved how beautiful my support system is. I have people, and I am so grateful for this.

What my body did to me yesterday was a reminder that I’m not superwoman. I can’t do it all. It might not be fair, and it might upset me very much, but I just can’t do everything I want to. I need to take care of myself, slow down, be more careful and go back to living life in small doses. If I could choose a super power, it would be healing. To be able to look at someone who is suffering and heal them. I saw so much pain yesterday.

These last few tests are going to be a struggle, but I will manage them and I will graduate. The next few days will be spent in bed, but after that I will pick myself up. I will get a pixie cut and then I will feel free and adult and optimistic about my future. It will mark this transition in my life, and it will be a sign that I can control what happens to me and how I deal with it all.

Ella.

Song Quote:

Well it’s hard to find a reason, when all you have is doubts, Hard to see inside yourself when you can’t see your way out, Hard to find an answer when the questions won’t come out. Everyone’s filling me up with noise; I don’t know what they’re talking about. You see all I need’s a whisper, in a world that only shouts. –Whispers, Passenger

The Interview Anecdote

Don’t let your cheek twitch. Yes, yes, I know it wants to, but don’t let it.

This is exciting! You might be setting foot on the campus of your future for the first time! In fact, the campus doesn’t look all that pretty… and the guys here look kind of weird, not handsome like you imagined… but that’s okay, this is still cool. This is still exciting!

Room 112, that’s where the magic will happen. If only we could find it. Around and around and around… I swear I’ve been down this corridor. Front desk, we meet again. Didn’t you hear? They changed the rooms. 112 doesn’t exist, it’s a typo.

Down the hall, hall down the, the hall down. Here we are!

Why thank you, I am welcome.

Is it just me or is this chair built weirdly? How do I exude leisure and confidence while in a chair that awkwardly leans backwards? I don’t know.

Maybe I should have realized that I would need to speak, need to tell them why I’m interested in joining this lovely and competitive school, but I didn’t. At least someone spoke before me.

The man was nice and he seemed to like my answer. Good job! You’re doing so well!

I will let you tell me a little bit about the course.

It’s fancy, yes, that’s why I’m here.

It’s revered, yes, that’s why I’m here.

It’s creative, interesting, professional, yes, yes, yes, that’s why I’m here.

It’s night courses.

Don’t let your cheek twitch. Don’t let the nice man see your face fall. Don’t let yourself acknowledge the disappointment coursing through your insufficient veins. Don’t let this inefficacy affect you. Don’t let your body’s inefficiency be a character in this conversation.

Don’t let your cheek twitch. And whatever you do, goddamit, don’t you dare cry. Tears are beneath your pain right now.

What? Oh, no, I don’t have any questions. Actually, just one: do you offer any daytime courses?

Oh.

Have you heard of any places that do?

Oh.

No, thank you, it was great meeting you.

You wish me health.

I wish me health too.

Cause wouldn’t health just be a great thing? Wouldn’t it just solve this all right here, right now? Wouldn’t it save me this pain, quite literally? Wouldn’t it spare me this turmoil of watching my independence quiver into a mere dream, of watching everything that excites me be cut down and vaporized, barred from me because I just can’t freaking do it?

It would. But it won’t. Because health is nothing but a rumor around here. My body believes it to be a fantasy, in fact. You should never hope to chase a fantasy, it tells me. Because this body of mine, it hates me. I’m looking down on it now, in fact, using it to type these words, but it’s using me, too. Using me to make me miserable. What it gains? I’m not sure.

I won’t be going there next year. I won’t be going anywhere. I will remain exactly where I am, writing about being sick and totally sick of it, treading water, paddling backwards and discovering that all my hopes are in the muddy puddle I keep treading in over, and over, and over.

Game over. Wave your dreams goodbye as they pass you in the car you could drive if you had anywhere to go.

The people around say: “It’s okay, there will be other courses. Something with daytime hours, something you can do.” The people in me say: “Believe them. Please, please, believe them! If you don’t, what will we do?”

I say: “Give me a chance to live my life for once. Give me my choices back. Give me freedom. Give me an interview I can be happy about.”

But whatever you do, in this life, don’t let your cheek twitch.

Ella.

Song Quote:

I have tried but I don’t fit into this box I’m living with. –The Box, Damien Rice

The Sleepless Anecdote

One might think there’s something romantic about a late night. The dim lights, the silent house, the rustle of the wind outside.

There isn’t. I couldn’t sleep. I got into bed at 10:30 and fell asleep at 4:30. That’s six hours of non-romance. It was frustrating. The crazy thing was, my brain was totally awake and processing the implications of the situation while also enjoying the game of keeping me awake.

I finished reading The Bell Jar. I watched three episodes of Friends. I meditated. I ate cereal. I took everything off my bed and put it all back. I solved a math question.

I did everything but sleep. My body is like “you suck” and my brain is like “yay I won!” and I’m like dead.

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

Insomnia for the win,

Ella

Song Quote:

Even when you’re sleeping, keep your eye-eyes open. -Eyes Open, Taylor Swift

P.s. Happy second birthday “Sick and Sick of It”!!! Rather than creating a virtual cake with candles, you’re each invited to just write a wish in the comments below. I think my wish is obvious at this point.

The Gas Station Anecdote

Last week I took the car to get cleaned and sat on a nearby chair reading a book. At first I didn’t understand why everyone was giving me these weird looks, and then I realized I’m a girl sitting in a gas station reading Ernest Hemingway. Now I get it.

As supremely uncomfortable as I was, I buried my nose in my book and didn’t look up until it was time to give the tip. Which I first dropped on the floor. Because I’m just cool like that. I also started driving without popping the right mirror back in place. Because I’m cool like that. I then awkwardly leaned over the right seat and flailed my phalanges at it while the man waited next to me. But only because I’m cool like that.

Good story.

Anecdotally,

Ella

Have you had a similar experience? Or are you just generally cool like I am? Tell me in the comments below!

Song Quote:

I wish that I could be like the cool kids. –Cool Kids, Echosmith

~~~

“The Anecdotes” is a series of fairly mundane life occurrences documented by Ella. They are a result of a busy schedule that has led to an upsetting lull in posting. Ella hopes The Anecdotes will amuse you as they amuse her and that you will join her in recognizing the reality of every situation she is in. She will now stop talking in third person because she’s pretty sure she’s insane. Read the full introduction here.

The Anecdotes – An Introduction 

“The Anecdotes” is a series of fairly mundane life occurrences documented by Ella. They are a result of a busy schedule that has led to an upsetting lull in posting. Ella hopes The Anecdotes will amuse you as they amuse her and that you will join her in recognizing the reality of every situation she is in. She will now stop talking in third person because she’s pretty sure she’s insane.

The Anecdotes will be posted sporadically and irresponsibly, but that is their beauty. Like life, they are unexpected and occasionally charming. Though a break from the regular writing style on here, they are nonetheless as sufficient and as satisfying as the usual. And way more causal.

Share the love.

Ella

(Do not fret and do not frown, both regular posts and Anecdotal posts will contain the trademark song quotes. I would never let you down like that.)

Song Quote:

We like you, this is a game already won, the time has come, stop trying. -Stop Trying, Sia

 

Are you excited to read Anecdotes?! Let me know in the comments below!