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

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, Tom. 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 Tom 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 Tom 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 Tom’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…

Tom 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). Tom 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.

One Hell of a Year – 19

18 started with uncertainty, exhaustion and a dramatic collapse. I was plagued by the question marks and the sorrow of regret, immersed in the emotional storm of goodbyes and the pre-graduation pressure. My strength was failing me, just when I needed it most. I couldn’t help but reflect on the year I had had and feel as though it might have gotten the better of me. I graduated and said goodbye to a place that had been my home for the best and worst years of my life. A few days later I fulfilled my dream of cutting my hair short, and embraced the new look as a symbol of the new phase in my life.

18 continued with me starting my volunteer position and feeling lonelier than I’d felt in a long time. Starting from scratch in a new environment was a challenging, frustrating and upsetting process for me, and my friends weren’t around. They too, were going through their own processes of change. It took some getting used to.

I wasn’t quite sure where my place was. High school wasn’t my home anymore, but the foundation wasn’t my home yet. It was strange, and at the same time sort of freeing.

A few months in and everything had settled down. By ‘settled down’ I mean ‘picked up’. I had so much going on – because things were going well – that I very nearly couldn’t handle it all… And I loved every minute of it. My friends and I adjusted and the time we spent together became true quality time. My memory and my diaries are peppered with our adventures, our birthday celebrations and our (many) lazy, lounging catch up sessions. We realized that not being together all the time meant having countless stories to share, and we appreciate every moment we get to spend together now. We are evolving and so is our friendship. I love them so much. I’ve also made new friends along the way, and we’ve had our own share of wonderfully random adventures…

The foundation became my home (understatement). I’ve always tried to be kind to other people, but this year it was my job to do so. I made people’s lives better and I made magic real. I’ve grown so close to the people I work with and we’ve had such a beautiful time together. The staff meetings, the lunches, the office banter, the events, the work itself… It’s been my everything. They know me: they know how much I care, they know what I’m capable of and they know just what to say and just when to say it. I’ve learned so much from them and I’ve loved feeling embraced by their love and appreciation.

As 18 started to come to a close I started to figure out what my next step would be. My goal was to know my plan by my birthday and my plan succeeded. I’ll be finishing my year with the foundation in two months and moving out of my parent’s house to do another year at a new non-profit. I’m not sure I’ve ever been this excited about something so inherently scary. Realizing how little time I have left with the foundation has made it all very real. I’ll miss them and I’ll miss being one of them, but I will never, ever, forget how much it has all meant to me.

18 is over, and it was better than anything I ever expected it to be. I’m overjoyed to say that looking back, I feel proud. This year did not get the better of me – I made it what it was. I truly lived it to the fullest. 18 will go down in history as one hell of a year…

This year I’ve realized that I love who I am as an adult, I’ve wasted way less time worrying about things I can’t control and I’ve learned how not to give a fudge and just cut myself some slack.

This year I changed my ringtone to “Here Comes the Sun”, and that really says it all.

19 – bring it on.

Love,

Ella

Song Quote:

I see skies of blue and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world. –What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

 

“You can take the girl out of the foundation but you can’t take the foundation out of the girl.”

Actual Truth

Dear Abandoned Blog,

It’s not that I don’t love you anymore. Sometimes I just feel I’ve said all there is to say. The picture of my life has not yet evolved; I am still sick and I am still sick of it (more and more each day). Countless times I have moved beyond the moments of thinking I can’t take it anymore.

This summer marks four years since my headaches started and three years since diagnosis. What have I learned in all this time? Many things, that’s for sure, but none that make me feel like it’s been worth it.

It’s hard to be in pain all the time. As I once wrote, “My friends wonder how I do it, and I wonder why.” I often find myself in this numb state, where my anger is equal to my pain level and as the two compete I turn into a sort of zombie. I care so much that I just can’t care anymore, because caring doesn’t get me anywhere.

A problem shared is a problem cut in two, but I can’t share this pain because it is mine alone to bear. I’m by myself with it, feeling it day in and day out. I barely sleep anymore. I spend hours every night staring at the ceiling, blinking away tears, because the pain is so bad and there’s nothing I can do but survive it. All I want is for someone to hold me and make the pain go away.

Dear blog of mine, please don’t feel hurt. As you can see, I’ve been dealing with a lot. I’m very unhappy.

Since I last wrote to you, I graduated. I was in charge of graduation, and for three months I put my heart and soul into planning a beautiful evening. It took a lot out of me. I didn’t cry until after I got my diploma and walked offstage. It was a moment of relief, realizing it all went off without a hitch and I had no more responsibilities, but also a moment of great, deep sadness. I’m never going to get those years back.

I’ve been sick for so long, and the past four months have pretty much been the worst I’ve ever had physically. I told myself it was the pressure. It was the stress of graduation work, tests, social events, etc. But it’s been a month since I graduated, and I’m not doing very well. I’m in a pain spiral and it’s dreadful.

Please understand, dear blog, that it is not about you. It’s about me.

I love you,

Ella

Song Quote:

The tears come streaming down your face when you lose something you can’t replace. –Fix You, Coldplay

Yes, I’m Collecting Scraps

 

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The cover of the scrapbook. Poet, Bastille

Scrapbooking is not something new or something unheard of, but it is something that I think is underappreciated. It gives validation to my belief that there is meaning behind everything! That every candy wrapper can have sentimental value and every picture has a story that deserves to be written next to it. As you may have noticed, I like recording things and having written reminders of my thoughts and feelings (more on this topic in my upcoming posts – see Posting Schedule), and therefore my having started another scrapbook is not exactly surprising. I’m still going to tell you all about it though.

1. At work the other day I needed a nametag for an event, and someone showed me how to use the label maker. Yes, they have a label maker. Yes, they are the coolest people ever. I printed my name inside a candy wrapper frame a couple of times, and one of them is now on the back of my scrapbook. I’m not even going to try to cover up the fact that the label maker totally made my day and that maybe the single best thing in my room right now is my sticker label.

2. I stayed over at a friend’s house in a another city, and we bought frozen yogurt (because, um, what I do with my friends is eat frozen yogurt… I promise we do do other things too. Like laugh at “do do”). I saved the stamp card I got and made sure not to lose it, and it’s now in my scrapbook.

3. Every now and then, late in the evening, when I’m in a certain mood, I let myself float through YouTube for longer than recommended by, well, anyone. On one such night I lost myself in a flurry of commencement speeches, and I landed on one given by John Green. It is by far the best speech I have ever heard. I transcribed large sections of it, and it is now written in my scrapbook.

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Part I

Part II

Part II

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Part III

These three examples demonstrate what my scrapbook means to me. The things in there might not be the most beautiful or the most impressive, but to me they mean something. Every time I see my name on the back of it I will remember my (slightly) out of proportion excitement, and how sweet everyone at work was that day. Every time I see the frozen yogurt card I’ll remember hanging out with my friend and her boyfriend in a park playing Heads Up in the dark. Every time I read the highlights of the speech I will remember to let myself be inspired (though I have something against that word) and remember all of the people I have read it aloud to.

And of course, let us not forget, that my scrapbook is also full of collages and song quotes. Because, well… it’s me. Way back when, during what feels like forever ago, I wrote a whole post* about how I want to fall in love and it all had to do with listening to Ed Sheeran’s love songs. Without further ado, the love page of my scrapbook:

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Thinking Out Loud + Afire Love

*clears throat* Okay, back to business. I’m simply writing this to encourage you to maybe give scrapbooking a try and to share with you what I have been busy doing lately. Mission accomplished, right? Okay, fine, I’ll answer that myself: right!

 

Yours truly,

And babbling because that’s the mood I’m in right now,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Where you invest your love, you invest your life. –Awake My Soul, Mumford & Sons

P.s. Tweet me with your examples of #RainbowArea!

*The post is called When You Wake Me Up

 

I didn’t even realize this is my 50th post! That’s insane! Please leave me a comment with the words (fifty, fiftieth, five, zero) or the number 50 in it. Let’s see what you can come up with :) get creative!

Rainbow Area

 

In life, there is an accepted term, “gray area”. It means things aren’t black and white; there’s no clear separation between good and bad. I’ve always accepted this term, and it never occurred to me how wrong it is until today.

It’s a rainbow area. It’s an area where a lot is happening, where things shift and change according to what we’re feeling and the circumstances, and what better way to represent shifting than color? I’ve always felt that I have some small version of synesthesia, because memories, dreams and feelings are represented in my heart by colors and shades of lighting.

I sometimes wish there was common ground in colors. If I tell someone that today I’m feeling orange, they’ll think I’ve gone a bit loco. To me, this makes sense: orange is a feeling, it’s the kind of mood I’m in. Yet when I try to translate this into normal people terms, it loses its meaning, and I simply say I’m feeling fine. But I’m feeling orange.

Humor me for a minute, and pretend you understand what feeling orange means.

Now do you have a better sense of me? Yes. Do you know what my day has been like? Yes. Do I need to say anything else in order for you to understand? Nope. Orange sums it all up.

Unfortunately and fortunately, colors are not used as everyday adjectives in the sense of feelings. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, you can “feel blue”, or “see green”, and these have a commonly accepted meanings, but they don’t count. Specific colors have been allotted certain connotations, and that doesn’t mean that’s the way I’m feeling. In my cozy world, green does not mean someone is jealous. Green can mean many, many different things, and jealousy isn’t actually among them.

So next time, instead of using the term “gray area”, please use “rainbow area”, and explain it to them if they don’t get it.

rainbow powder

Let’s make this a thing, people. #RainbowArea . It started here.

 

Yours truly,

Ella

Song Quote:

Loving him was red. -Red, Taylor Swift

 

Sheesh, time is flying! Don’t forget to send in your 2,500 competition entries! All of the info here: 

The deadline is Monday, July 14th!!!

In addition, I will hopefully be getting back to regular posts now that school is over for the year. I survived! I did it! For a few months now I just haven’t had much spare time, but as I said, you can start looking forward to weekly posts again :)