Chronicle of a Rereader

As little kids, we all get used to hearing the same stories before bed every night, and most of us love it. Somewhere along the way, when we learn how to read by ourselves, many stop enjoying reading something they’ve already read again. I am not one of those. I love rereading books.

I form an emotional connection with every (good) book that I read and with the characters in said book. I usually become super invested in them and I feel like I know them. My sister will never let me live down the moment when I came downstairs crying because a character in my book died. It’s not the crying she won’t let me forget. It’s my explanation for why it was so horrible: “I’ve known him his whole life!” When I reread a book, I get to spend time with these characters that I loved so much the previous time, and it never seems to bother me that I already know what happens.

Usually when I reread a book I also notice things I didn’t notice before. Be it a comment from a character that seemed insignificant (but isn’t) or a description of a place that I overlooked, every time I read a book the story becomes a little richer for me. The best example for this is, of course, Harry Potter. Don’t look surprised. You all knew this moment was coming.

I have read the entire Harry Potter series (which consists of 7 books), 7 times. That’s 1,084,170 words in the whole series x 7 = 7,589,190 words. I won’t talk about this for too long, because if I let myself get into it this post will be 18 pages long and consist almost entirely of gushiness. BUT, I will just say that every time I read the series I get something new out of it, and with every reread I noticed additional clues JK Rowling strewed throughout (which just means that she’s a genius, not that I’m oblivious). The most recent reread was just a few months ago, and I had thirty pages left of the sixth book, so I was sitting in my school lobby and trying to finish it. But, a character dies right at the end, and I always cry hysterically when any of the characters die. Just picture this scene: I am curled up in a ball with the book held in front of me, sobbing, and the bell goes so the lobby starts to fill up with students. Mainly people just walk by and go “Oh Ella!” but the lovely Beatrice comes to stand in front of me and starts to laugh. “Sixth time?” she says. “Seventh,” I correct her. True friendship.

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The reason why I wish my school looked like Hogwarts…

Beyond the emotional connection I form with characters of a book, there is also an element of my own experiences over the period of time that I’m reading it. For instance, when I read “Tell it to the Skies”, a book by Erica James, I would meet a few friends in the morning before school started and update them with the new developments in the storyline. So now, when I reread it, I remember the feeling of them all waiting to hear me speak (which didn’t happen often during that time) and of sharing the excitement with them. I can use books to slip back to different times in my life and revisit them.

But alas, we cannot forget one more important factor here: whether I have any new books I feel like reading. Sometimes, I just want to read a story that I know is good and that I know I like. Like a few weeks ago, when I was worried about something medical that was creeping up and creeping me out, I chose to reread a fairytale book I love because I knew I would be able to take comfort in escaping in my mind to that other place. Sometimes I feel too not well to even read, but most of the time, if I really don’t feel good, I can read a book and just escape. Books are amazingly therapeutic, and rereading them is too. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 

 

Love,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Drench yourself in words unspoken. –Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield

 

Announcement:

A few months ago, Julie Ryan contacted me and interviewed me for her fibro warrior segment. I just wanted to let you all know that for the first time she’s opening it up and inviting you to contact her and share your own story! Don’t miss out on this opportunity, you can find all of the info here: http://countingmyspoons.com/2014/08/fibro-warrior-share-story/

Good luck and enjoy!

Honesty

The stark difference between outside and inside doesn’t pass my notice. On the outside, I am calm, silent and still. Inside, there is so much movement it makes me sick. Or is the sick the cause of the movement? My heart is all aflutter; it feels as though everything within me is jumping, shivering, quaking.

They call my name. I walk in. I am only thoughts and yet I have no thoughts. We sit. The two men are seated before us. They tell me to talk. I’m surprised to find words leaving my mouth. I barely remember what I said.

Then one of the men starts talking, and I hate the things he says. Implying I have complete control over my body, and I could be better if I wanted to be. Implying I don’t get out of bed. Implying I’m making things sound worse than they are. The other man tells him to leave me alone. He doesn’t. And one thing he said shines in bright letters across the reel of my mind: “maybe if she just tries she’ll be better”. Maybe if he just tries he’ll be less stupid.

I want to run away. But heaven knows I can’t run. All I know I can do is cry, but I don’t. Then we’re getting up, and we’re walking out of the room, and the other kids my age look up at my face. I know they are there for the same reason I am, and they both look good. Like me. Put together. Dressed well. But wrong inside. A part of me wants to smile at them, encourage them, but I can’t seem to control the muscles of my face. Oh, I remember. It’s because I’m holding them tight so I don’t sob. Good thing I remembered.

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I am sweating. I can feel myself shaking, but I don’t know if that is only inside. I still want to cry. I want to go home. I don’t want to stand in line. I don’t want to repeat the verdict five times to unsympathetic people. Isn’t the verdict good though? Isn’t it what I wanted to hear? The outcome was the best it could have been, I suppose. I know this makes no sense to anyone but me. I apologize.

But I hold it together, and I make it home. Composure. I am a master at it. I go about the rest of my day, but now it is night, and it all decomposes. I can’t hold it together anymore. The composure, I mean. Not the rest. The rest I hold together whether I like it or not, because there is no other alternative for me. But the composure – yes, that is gone. Officially. Like my documents are today.

I would wish you a good whatever, but I am pretty sure that is not what it is.

Ella

 

Song Quote:

I’m sorry for the honesty, but I had to get this off my chest. –The Man, Ed Sheeran

AUTHOR”S NOTE:

I really am sorry for the kind of depressing post today. I wrote this the other day after a not so fun experience, and as I always try to be honest with you and share how I truly feel about things I decided to put this up. There are moments when I feel like I can handle anything, and moments when I don’t. Sometimes everything just becomes a bit much for me to handle. The good news is, when I feel like that I write it down and then I feel a little better.

Totally unrelated, but… Time is almost up! You need to send in your competition entries today! You can find all of the information about the competition and how to enter right here: http://smurl.ws/0zi1tm  It’s still anyone’s game! 

To Growing Up and Staying Young – 17

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With warm summer air surrounding us and the sounds of the crickets drifting in through my open window, I curled into my mother’s body and she hugged me to her; though I may be bigger than I was on the day I was born, exactly seventeen years ago, I will forever be her little baby and she will always be my mother.

She told me last year that as she turned seventeen, she was sad to part with sixteen. Today, I understand the way she felt then. Though sixteen might not have been exactly glamorous or particularly spectacular, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.

A lot has changed this year. I gained freedom, in a way, because I started and completed the whole process of learning how to drive and getting my license. Finally, something that everyone my age is tackling and mastering, and I could participate just liked everyone else. I even mastered it quickly and well, if I do say so myself. I probably annoy people a lot at this point when I talk about driving, but it’s fun to be the expert and the sage around my friends (I’m one of the only ones who can drive so far) on a topic unrelated to medical things.

The way I think about things has changed, drastically. I just approach things in a better way now. I keep up my positive thinking and I’ve developed an inner sense of humor that I’ve always had into a shield and a mood booster. I see humor in a lot of places I didn’t use to see it, and I cherish that change. It’s a change for the better.

I’m also more cautious, in a way, but at the same time I dare myself to do things I never would have done a year ago. I’m cautious with what I say and how much I share, not for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings, but for fear of sharing thoughts and feelings that I’m not yet sure about. I used to just blurb out whatever I was thinking, but now I take the time to actually form my thoughts before speaking and weigh the weight of what I’m sharing and how frustrated I will get if I can’t explain myself properly.

But I also take myself out of my comfort zone: I go places alone, I call people and talk on the phone, I do the things I know I should do but always feel awkward doing. I’ve just developed this way of approaching things and talking myself through them, and it’s starting to feel like I can tackle the things that have always intimidated me. I’m starting from the smaller things, like those I mentioned earlier, and at some point I will have the courage to face the bigger ones.

I also made the switch from thinking of all of the things I would like to do to actually doing them. I do more than talk, nowadays. Take, for example, my horrendous lack in general knowledge. For a bunch of years now I’ve been saying that I don’t know how I’ve been in school for so many years and yet there are basic things that I don’t know. This year, I just started educating myself. I bought a book called “The Knowledge Book”, and I read it before bed.

I’m just very aware of how I’m changing and how I’m learning to accept myself more and more. That’s another major change this year, my self-confidence. It’s been hard learning to accept my body with all that it puts me through, and that affected my self-confidence for a long time. But I’ve somehow learned how to separate fibromyalgia from my body, and because of that I’m learning to accept and like the way I look.

It’s exhilarating to realize that I’m getting older and there’s a whole new world of opportunities opening ahead of me, and absolutely terrifying at the same time. I’m sad to lose the feeling of being a child, of being protected by these strong and kind parents who are nothing but my parents. It’s huge to realize and to process that parents are people too, and to think of them as people before parents, but important. You do lose something though with that realization, because you can never go back. On the on hand, I still want them to take care of me and be there all the time, but at the same time the independent woman in me is showing her true colors and I just can’t wait to get out there in the world.

I’m sure it won’t be easy, but with every passing day I feel more and more ready to do it. To live life.

I propose a toast, to growing up and staying young forever.

 

Yours truly,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Time may change me, but I can’t trace time. –Changes, David Bowie

 

You Thief Me Not

 

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? It was probably the same person that stole the words from my brain. Yes, surely it is one and the same. I’m thinking, if we join forces and try to capture the culprit and force him to return the stolen goods, we can all benefit and maybe even save others from the same terrible fate.

I think this thief preys on the weak. My brain is probably super easy to tap these days, what with all I’m demanding of it. Not only does it have to remember to tell my heart to pump and my muscles to move, it also needs to memorize copious amounts of information and regurgitate them on paper during a few high-pressure hours. Beyond those, it also has to constantly encourage my body to keep moving and keep coming up with new thoughts and fantasies to distract me from my pain. I sympathize with it, truly. That’s why I don’t blame my poor brain for being so vulnerable. It’s not its fault.

Now that we’ve established how the thief chooses its next victims, let’s move on to how he executes his crimes. My brain is most susceptible when I’m sleeping, of course, but I think that those hours are relatively safe because I close my shutters at night. Shutters keep brains safe, I believe. After much pondering, I have concluded that he must be operating while I sit down to write. This makes sense. Do you get it? It’s the perfect moment to act, while my brain is open and spewing, he can just come and pick out the best of the best.

Is the thief working alone? So I believe, for is he were not I would surely see someone else gallivanting with my words, and it has not come to that. Yet.

How will the thief be stopped? How do I restore my words to their proper domain and protect the future ones from being lost?

This is my plea for help,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

As he faced the sun he cast no shadow, bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say. –Cast No Shadow, Oasis

 

P.s. If you help, I promise to share the cookies with you when we reclaim them.

Someone Likes Me!

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Something exciting happened, and now I get to tell you about it! Julie Ryan, who blogs over on Counting My Spoons, interviewed me for her Fibro Warrior Wednesday segment. She put it up today, and now you all get to read it!

Here’s the link:

Fibro Warrior Wednesday – May Seventh, 2014

Enjoy, and thank you very much :)

Yours truly,

Ella

This

I have words with which to describe beauty. I have words with which to chronicle elation, and words that express pain. I have many words with which to describe frustration, happiness, fatigue, excitement or nervousness.

Why don’t I have words for this?

I’ve gotten better at hiding my feelings lately. If I’m fed up with myself for being in this mood for so long, other people must be fed up with it too. I don’t want anyone to get fed up with me. It’s just this combination of feeling so sick, and having already used up my store of emotional strength and inspiration. There are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed anymore. What’s the point, really? If I know that I’m going to be suffering all day? I’m just a hollow statue of a human, running on empty.

See, I have words to describe that. But it’s not this. I don’t even know what this is. I don’t even make any sense any more. Where are my words? Why are they hiding? They’re in my head, I know they are, I can feel them. I think that maybe they’re going underground because they know that if I express this out loud, I can never take it back again. If I let my soul, my heart, my mind, whatever, figure out the words and write them down, they’ll never forget them. The thing with feelings is that they change, and you forget exactly what they feel like. We remember feelings as words. We allocate this feeling to anger, that one to exhilaration and another to sorrow. The words are what we visit later on, not the feelings themselves. At least most of the time.

Now that I think about it, I understand why I can’t word this. My body is protecting itself, for once. Maybe it’s better this way. Maybe, when it passes, I’ll be able to move on and forget that I ever felt as lousy as this. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I just wish it would pass already, because I’m so tired of feeling this way. I feel like a broken record, because I keep writing again and again about being fed up with being sick. I also feel like a broken record because I just feel kind of broken. But what can I do? I can’t will myself into health, I’ve tried that before. I keep up whatever I’m told to do, as much as it sucks. Yet I still feel this way, and it’s still what comes pouring out when I sit down with a crisp white piece of paper and a black pen (hands up all of you that didn’t think about me writing on actual paper before posting).

There have been a few escapes. When I’m with my friends I’m less aware of the pain, and I was with my friends all weekend. When I’m watching TV I’m fairly distracted. When something around me is pretty. And… no, that’s about it. Often it just feels like I’m going to explode.

I’m lost for words again.

Yours truly,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Life goes on the same, you bury the pain… heal the song, sing along, but what does it change? Oh this life is s confusing, feels like I am always losing… Words are found too close to the edge, that we don’t dare sing. –Somewhere Else, Travis

 

I pass this on my way home from school, and I get to escape for a little while

I pass this on my way home from school, and I get to escape for a little while

 

P.s. Sorry for being absent for a while. This has clearly been getting in the way. I was thinking of adding another page- any idea what it should be? Let me know in the comments or contact me.

The Strike

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I would say the past couple weeks have been like a roller-coaster, but I’ve never been on one, so I don’t think I have that right. What have I been on? Trains. Busses. Planes. Pain meds. Herbal extracts. Okay: the past couple weeks have been like travelling in a bus that’s on pain meds, and therefore can’t figure out if it’s actually a plane or a train. Stir in herbal extracts.

Last week I wrote (and didn’t post): “I feel so pathetic. I’m so tired. I don’t even know how I made it through the day. I just don’t know what the point is anymore. I fight and I fight, I write inspiring words on my blog and tell people that I’m okay, it’s hard but I’m okay, but I am not okay. It’s all futile, all the hard work and the torturous treatments, they aren’t working, they aren’t fixing me, I’m still like this…. It all just seems impossible. It feels like I’m being punished, and yet held up on a pedestal by my teachers who admire how I handle it all. I don’t want it anymore. But what always happens is going to happen again – I’ll feel like this, I’ll go to sleep, I’ll wake up, I’ll start getting ready and then I’ll just go through the motions of life and time will pass and before you know it I will have ‘made it through the day’ and be ‘coping’ again. It’s inevitable.

I…

I…

I’m… just so               

Tired. Of all of it. I can’t hold back the tears any longer. How am I going to make it through? Is this all that life is, just awful things and ‘coping’? Is this what the rest of my days will look like? Cause today was bad.

I feel helpless, and hopeless.

E.”

From the strength going on in my last post, I went into a tsunami of fatigue. It lasted a while. I spent the whole next day just staring, because I was too tired to even read. I only smiled once — smiling isn’t energy conserving. The next day I had a test, and the only thoughts I had the whole time were, “Yeah, I know the answer to that. Oh, I have to write it down? I need to move my hand? Do I really? What will happen if I don’t? I don’t think I can. I’m so tired.”

There was also an annoying question on the test that required some calculations (it wasn’t a math test) and I knew that with the brain fog happening I would mess the calculations up and lose the points for the question, so I politely raised my hand.

Me: I know it’s pathetic and sad, but I need a calculator to answer this question.

Teacher: Really? Ella, you really need a calculator? You’re serious?

Me: Yeah, I really do. I honestly don’t know what a million divided by five is right now.

Teacher: Really? Really? You don’t know how to do that? Are you joking?

Me: No, I’m not joking. Can I use a calculator or not?!

Teacher: Okay, I’ll tell you. What do you want to do?

Me: A million divided by five.

Teacher: Ella, it’s 200,000.

It’s a good thing I asked, because I thought it was 250,000. When I’m that sick, I can’t think! I was not happy with my teacher for the way he responded, loudly, in front of the whole class, making a big deal over the fact that I couldn’t do simple math. He’s not a mean guy and he really didn’t mean to be mean. He generally means well and he’s been very kind to me, but sometimes he’s clueless.

If I tell you about every day, this post will never end. I can endlessly find more words to describe my pain and my suffering. In short, I had days that were up and days that were down (like the day that lead to the italics). I had moments of great depression and moments of elevation. Well, maybe elevation is a little extreme; moments of feeling slightly hopeful. Another test this week was messed up because of fibro fog. It’s so frustrating; it’s not that I don’t know the material, it’s that I can’t get it out of my brain.

My right foot has gone off its rockers. I was talking to a friend who lives on the other side of the world and suddenly my toe just dislocated itself. It felt like the toe next to my big one (does it have a name?) just snapped downwards and underneath the one on its right, and I couldn’t get it to move back. My whole foot kind of seized up and I just looked through the camera at my friend and said “I have to go call my mom now”. I wrote to her later and explained it all. I have no idea what it was, just some weird cramp, but it was extremely painful and scary. It went back into place after I laid it on a heating pack, and I know that it didn’t actually dislocate itself, but it felt like it did.

Then a few days ago, when I was having an up day, I had a couple friends over for a movie, and when I bent down to press play it happened again, exactly the same way: suddenly, without me having done anything, my toe just pops out of place and gets locked in a different position. I must say, I’m very proud of the way I handle sudden pain. I am the picture of serenity. Ish. Anyway, it went kind of like, “Hey, do you think you could reach above the fridge? There’s a purple pillow there. Yeah, could you just stick that in the microwave and hit start? Oh, thanks! What? Oh, nothing. My toe just feels weird. Yeah, I’m fine on the floor. Oh, thanks, that’s really sweet, but I honestly don’t think it would go well if the two of you tried to lift me and swing me on the couch. I’m good, I’ll sit here for a few minutes.”

Other than that the night was great. Unfortunately I still feel it spazzing out. My whole foot has been cramping ever since and my toe still feels dislocated. There seems to be no end to the weird sensations that plague my body daily. Sheesh, I sound like I’m 80.

I’m tired. I’m scared I’m going to run out of fuel at some point. I have a few high-pressure weeks ahead of me, but I need to work a lot on calming down, seeing as that is probably the cause of the foot fiasco, as I have taken to calling since half-a-second ago.

Yours,

Ella

Song Quote:

I think I’m being shunned by my feet… again. –Homeless, Ed Sheeran

Okay, I’ll admit, I have been waiting a long time to use that quote. Glad it works so well here!

 

P.S. I would love it if you would leave a comment with your favorite quote. It can be from a song, something you saw online, a well-known person’s fancy sentence, a life motto, anything that comes to mind when you see this, really. If you know where the quote is from/ who said it, please include that too. Thank you in advance!

 

I Am Strong

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I’m done. I am done with being sick. I don’t care if my body agrees with me or not. I am ready to be healthy again. My fears will all go away. My worries will come to naught. My strength will come to light.

It’s time to get my life back. No, that’s wrong: it’s not time to get my life back, it’s time to get my life. A life in which I am able to achieve what I set my mind to, a life in which I am no longer held back by things that are not in my control, a life in which I am free.

Freedom is a simple word with a simple concept. The definition of freedom is:

1. The power or right to determine action (think, speak, act) as one wants without hindrance or restraint

2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation etc.

3. The quality or state of being free

But the truth is, that freedom means something completely different for each and every one of us. There are the technical definitions of the word, and then there are the definitions we hear about in songs, read about in books, hear about from the people we look up to and figure out for ourselves.

I’ve been waiting for freedom for a long time. I haven’t been sitting around waiting for a phone call to tell me I’m free. I’ve been working hard. I don’t think that sheer will power is going to make my Fibro go away. If that were true, it would have happened already. I’m not sure I believe that the current treatment plan will help me. I don’t know if this will ever go away.

But I do believe that I am strong. Until now, I was hoping that my strength would help me through. Well, I’m done with that. Now, today, I know that my strength will help me through. I don’t know when, and I don’t know how, but I am strong and it will happen. I don’t care that this week was bad, that I was clearly not better this week. I don’t care that I don’t get to eat comfort food. I don’t care that I have to force myself to exercise even when my body is screaming with pain, trying to shut down because it doesn’t agree with me that I should be moving.

I care about the fact that I don’t get to participate in things with my friends. I care about the people who have been with me all this time. I care about getting better. It’s time.

Are you with me?

Yours truly,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

If the clouds don’t clear, then we’ll rise above it, we’ll rise above it. –Before the Worst, The Script

 

 

Quotes about freedom that I used in a speech I wrote last year:

Freedom is not worth having at all if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. -Mahatma Gandhi

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.  -Coco Chanel

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. -S.G, Tellntyre

You wanna fly, you have to give up the sh*t that weighs you down. -Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a fierce rush of pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.  – JK Rowling

Never Feeling It Again

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There were two days last week that came and went without my headache showing up, and I’m scared. It doesn’t make any sense to be scared, I should be happy that I might be getting better. Actually, I should be way more than happy, I should be ecstatic! But I’m not. And I’m trying to figure out why.

I’ve waited for this day for so long, for a day that’s headache-free. It’s been over two years since I’ve had one. Every single freakin’ day I have pain. There’s really no exception. But I’ve been on a new treatment plan, made up of three components: a concoction of herb extracts (nicknamed “potion”) taken twice a day, acupuncture, and a gluten-free, dairy-free, processed-free diet. I was told that if I follow the plan, I should be feeling much better after three months. To say I had full faith in it would be a gross exaggeration. I’ve been told that many times before. In fact, two and a half years ago I was told my recovery time frame will be two-three months.

But because I had two days without a headache, everyone around me asked me if I’m feeling better. Actually, I was told by other people that I’m feeling better, based on my behavior, apparently. So I started to really believe it. Excited, I happily shared the news with just about everyone that I might be getting better.

But now I know what I’m scared of. What if this is a fluke? What if this week is just a hiccup, and I go back to my sorry state and stay sick for many more years to come? And now everyone thinks I’m getting better, everyone is going to expect me to act healthy and be happy and yadda yadda yadda. I’m going to have to play the thankful survivor who made it out of the darkest time in her life. But I don’t want to! First of all I don’t want to do that even if I do keep getting better, and I especially don’t want to if I don’t keep getting better.

It’s like suddenly there’s all this pressure.

What if I don’t know how to be healthy? Oh great, I’m crying again. I hate when this happens. But seriously, what if I don’t? It’s been so long. Being healthy is something I dream about, not something realistic. I’m so used to being sick by now. It’s just my life, and it has been for a while. All this time I’ve viewed fibro as something that’s holding me back. But how much of it is ingrained in me already? How much of the sick person will disappear once I’m no longer sick? This isn’t just a blip in my medical history, it’s become (unfortunately) a part of who I am. So that’s it? If it even goes away, everyone will just expect it to disappear from me. They’ll think, why is that girl so ungrateful? It’s gone, why is she so caught up in the past?

But… But… I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m still working my hardest to get better, following the plan, exercising, not over-doing myself. And I’m training myself to see the positive in getting better (which is ridiculous, because it’s literally been my dream and goal for years and I’ve just been yearning for it, but now it feels like some impending doom, which probably means there’s something wrong with me and I’m ruined for life), but it’s scary.

It’s scary because I also don’t want to let myself believe it’s happening. What if it doesn’t? Then it’s just this tempting tasting of what I need and it’ll be taken away from me once I stop being scared of it.

Do I even make any sense? My tears are blocking the screen, I can barely follow what I’m writing.

Yours truly,

Ella

Song Quote:

Seems to me like I’m just scared of never feeling it again. –High Hopes, Kodaline

 

P.s. Cameron Von St. James sent me an email the other day, letting me know about a beautiful tradition his family has started since his wife got sick with cancer and needed to have a lung removed. They created a beautiful website (you only get the full experience if you view it on a desktop), and I’d like to share it with all of you:

http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday/#.UuTHdf3g7u0

Everything You Say

 

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I’m either emotional because I have The Lion King soundtrack playing in the background, or because this week I passed a huge milestone: 1,000 followers. Probably both. I arrived at school holding my phone an inch from my nose, telling my friends that I had 999 followers. After refreshing the page, I had 1,001. After a spastic happy dance that happened, I took a deep breath and started to process what this meant. I started this blog on a whim. I named it, came up with the concept, wrote the first post, wrote the about page and designed the site in one day. I had no idea it would come this far.

I’ve learned a lot in these past ten months. It’s a privilege to have been able to share it all with you. I’ve also learned a lot from you. The comments section has become probably my favorite part of blogging. A lot of the comments brought a smile to my face on hard days. A lot of the comments made me proud to be who I am. A lot of the comments gave me confidence in my abilities. A lot of the comments brought tears to my eyes.

I didn’t realize, when I came up with the idea to compile all of my favorite comments into one post, what a hefty task it would be. Not only did I underestimate how much time it would take to read through over four hundred comments, I also underestimated how hard it would be to choose. I don’t actually feel like I’ve done the best job with it. I love all of the ones that made it in here, but there are so many more that I love and hold dear to me that just got overlooked accidentally. I’m worried that commenters will be upset to not find any of theirs in here. Please don’t be upset. Every single comment made me happy, and I appreciate people taking the time to write a few words and brighten my days.

Without further ado, please enjoy the jumbled mess of my favorite comments!

From Birthday Ramblings:

 

Yvonne’s Musings says: 
June 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm 
Thank you for the honesty you express in your writing. Never ever let yourself believe on your bad days that you won’t get better and have some terrific ones in the future. It may take time but things do change and they do get better. You would be very shocked if you asked the happiest people you know if it was always that way for them. Once we have been in those dark valleys, the hill tops are all the more incredible!

 

From I Am Effervescent:

 

todayschapter says: April 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm   Please keep blogging, it is a fantastic outlet and you have a strong written style that’s fun and easy to read. I can’t profess to understand your situation but I do know that people who’ve experienced tough times make for far more interesting writers than the people floating happily from cloud to cloud!

 

From I’m Not That Simple:

 

happyhealthy365 says: 
July 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm 
Nodding. Nodding. Nodding. I LOVE IT! You’re meant to be a writer. Amazing.

 

From It’s A Landmark:

happyhealthy365 says: 
June 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm 
Beautiful piece! I love the way you write; you truly are a gifted writer. Congrats on finishing and surviving a full year at school with fibro. This is something to celebrate. Surviving a year with chronic pain is an accomplishment itself and being able to manage school in the meantime is something to be proud of! You are strong and inspiring!

lenniferocious says: 
June 26, 2013 at 8:39 am 
Your writing is lovely Ella, and I understand your pain. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia nearly three years ago when I was 17 and although I am much better now than I was, how debilitating it has been for me still gets me. You’re doing so well to keep going, you certainly have tenacity! 
Best wishes,
Leanne

 

From Pinning Down Magic:

 

Ivy says: 
June 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm 
You are a word sorceress, a language lady, a letter creator extraordinaire!
Thanks

hope4theheart says: 
June 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm 
Hello Ella – you write beautifully. I was so surprised as I read to learn you are sixteen. There is so much wisdom in what you write, such a beautiful soul  I am sorry that Fibromyalgia is part of your life. I want to encourage you that there is hope and life can be full and wonderful. I was diagnosed in 1998 and I am walking, talking proof there is hope, help and healing. Here’s to a bright future filled with hope for you!

 

From Ready For A Zombie Apocalypse:

 

sociallyoxward says: 
May 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm 
My biggest fear is no where near as deep or meaningful as yours, but I figured I’d share it. I’m terrified of my identity being stolen. Everyone makes fun of me for it, but I just worry about it all the time.
Having said that, I’m kept up most nights by smaller worries– like did I finish that homework or did I just put it away for later and forget? Or did I offend person X when I made joke Y? Or things like that.
Anyway, I hope enough of your fears have come true for your life– it sounds to me like they have. And if more do, I hope your friends & family & blog (maybe?) help you through them…

 

From Let It All Rain Down:

 

Chantelle says: 
November 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm 
Just sent a concentrated wave of peace and relief your way. I hope you feel it even a little bit.

 

From Supermarket Kind Of Feeling:

 

learn singing for beginners says: 
July 16, 2013 at 9:38 pm   
I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
Please answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. cheers

(I was so ecstatic to hear that someone liked the way my blog looked. I answered her and let her know the I did indeed create this website by myself, and gave her all the info.)

 

From The Life Of A Nightmare:

 

auntieyol says: 
May 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm 
Think of this. That many people you see walking on the streets that look normal because they don’t have any physical disadvantage have something bugging them. Everyone has. Maybe they are suffering an abusive parent or spouse, an a.h. boss, an impending death in the family, discrimination because of age, gender, race, political views, sexual orientation, financial status… They may be pissed off and angry all the time because they are too ugly, too fat, too thin, just because someone put that thought in their minds when they were little. Life is full of pain for everyone. Each pain is different. Few people find joy in everyday life all the time. My thoughts. I also have my pains that I try to endure and then, there are so many beautiful moments in life. I pray your life will improve with technology. There must be a cure soon. Envision it. Many I am sure, are praying for you.

rionm2013 says: 
May 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm 
The one thing anyone who writers should do is be honest and show their heart. You do both in this blog, I don’t want to say something to you that you have probably had a million times from your loved ones, and it wouldn’t sound any better coming from a complete stranger, so all I can say is this.
You have opened my eyes, to your pain and what it must be like for you. In a way only words can sometimes.
Keep up the blogging.

 

From The Little Things:

 

busymindthinking says: 
June 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm 
You have much to offer! I look forward to working through your archives. You deserve support and have found it here. Voicing all your feelings is healthy. I have come to realize that recently myself. As yet, I have no answers as to what has changed me so much this past year (prognosis pending), but I hang on to hope via the support and encouragement of people here. I’ll think of you daily now. Blessings.
Belinda

From To Create:

 

myjourneythrume says: 
September 11, 2013 at 10:45 am 
Wow that is stunning. I am totally incapable of drawing so I totally admire people who do have that skill. It’s lovely to read the joy you clearly take from art. It’s inspiring.

 

From What A Wonderful World:

davecenker says: 
August 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm 
Beautiful! You have much more eloquently described my need to wander with your lyrical prose  I want to experience all that this world has to offer, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the food, the culture, the big thinking moments that are inevitably going to come along the way. Thank you so much for your inspiring words!

From About:

leonardlzw says: 
December 15, 2013 at 8:33 pm  
Whoa! Really inspiring! This message shows that we CAN indeed keep on moving forward no matter what! Keep on thinking this way!  And I believe that you will of course get better, and you’ll change lives because of it!

leonardlzw says:December 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm   
Not that you aren’t already changing lives!

dangerzonerez says: 
July 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm   
What an honest blog! You are a great writer Ella! I love the resilience and humor you face your illness with! “Having a bad day? Me too” is what really caught my attention. What a great way to sum everything up and remind us all that things can always be worse! I look forward to more great writing from you in the future.

Shirley Anne says: 
June 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm   
I am so sorry to learn you are suffering with Fibromyalgia, it must be so difficult for you. I hope one day you will be much better. Love
Shirley Anne x

Everyday Small Things by KT says: 
June 9, 2013 at 8:10 pm   
Dear Ella, 
Having just read this page I have a feeling I’m going to really love your blog! You’ve articulated things I struggle to just on this page – thanks! I’m excited to read more!!!! xx

swollenjoints says: 
June 3, 2013 at 9:10 am  
Hey there.
It’s actually so relieving to know people my age have the same problem as me. People around me find it hard to understand my conditions and I feel like I just found my sanctuary.
I really do hope your conditions ease up & you become pain free very soon.
Hope to speak more xox 
- Rayanne xox

ergozen says:

December 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm 

I read several of your posts and enjoyed them quite a bit. I pray you get well and soon. In the meantime, keep writing! You’ve got talent. Cheers,

 

From Colloquial Miss:

 

Anish Vyavahare says: December 4, 2013 at 4:49 am  

Over where I live, they take the pics with a webcam that is stuck in your face, so you          invariably end up looking like a doorknob with eyes. But what I actually wanted to comment was, the song quotes you use are totally awesome!

From Sharing Is Caring:

 

didaniskawi says:

December 20, 2013 at 2:42 am 

In the greatest of adversity, is born the highest of character. Just as in all tragedy there is divine truth, and in those tragic truths we find our art, and in the pains that plague our souls, we find our heart. The earth has many angels, the kindest souls who’ve volunteered to suffer the pain of existence, for the benefit of bringing light to the souls of man. Be strong Princess Ella, and remember that your soul doth fly.

Ivy Dashti says:

December 10, 2013 at 6:58 pm  

I don’t think that anyone ever really ‘gets’ what people go through, how people feel, how people experience things. Whether it is pain, suffering, joy, fear…. whatever it is- we cannot get under another persons skin, or in their heart, or head and feel it like they do… But we can get close… We can feel some of it, or imagine a bit how it is… That’s just the way it is… I like reading your words

 

joynpain2 says:

December 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm 

I do know how you feel. Maybe not having to go through high school with it, but the pain part. I too awake every day with severe pain, deal with it throughout my day, and then try to find a way to sleep with it every night. However I was at university when mine got bad, so bad that I could no longer go out with my friends or even sit through class. So, now you know at least one person who FEELS what you feel. If you ever need to talk my email address is joynpain2blog@gmail.com. If you email me, I will even give you my number if you would rather talk. Stay strong.

 

From I’m Scared:

 

Grasping for words says:

December 24, 2013 at 1:02 am  

The saying is old and possibly cliché that “when it rains it pours” but it’s true. I’m sorry you’re going through so much stress, but trust me, it does end. I’m not sure what your age is but it sounds like you are younger by your talk of school. I’m not going to tell you to not worry because you’re young. That never works. The stress you are in is real, but remember, that you’ll look back at this in a couple of months, a year, two years and think, “I made it through that”. I’ve gone through some nasty stressors. I used to get hives from stress in school, and then it escalated to seizures. I had to learn to center myself at night and realize that these things will eventually pass and I just have to power through as gracefully as I can.
Here’s another cliché but true saying. God gives you only what you can handle. Sometimes I think He likes to test the waters to see what you can take. Maybe this is one of those moments. These times feel like forever but they will pass and you’ll look back and they’ll seem like a flash.

Good luck and I’ll keep you in my prayers. Hold tight and look to your family and prayer to get through.

Michelle

seunodukoya says:

December 20, 2013 at 11:49 am  

It hurts to know that people go through so much and there’s little you can do to help. I do wish you the very best, and I will pray for you guys.

You’ll get through this stronger as a family and individually.

Topaz says:

December 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm 

I’m so sorry. Praying for your family. Stay strong. Xx

(All of the comments left on my blog the day I wrote this post played a huge part. It was a rough day, and each comment meant a lot to me.)

 

From Try To Keep Up:

 

augustmeditations says:

December 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

I trust your sister is okay. And I hope your headache dissipates like dew in the morning sun.

Your story is so representative of all of our encounters with people who deal with the public. What’s important to us is matter-of-fact to them, so they seem cold and insensitive. But then they turn around and offer us help.

Hope your Christmas was merry and your new year is bright.

From Okay, What Now?:

 

mms20 says:

January 17, 2014 at 1:17 am  

I once tried to describe that very disconnect to a friend of mine and he had no idea what I was talking about. But I definitely know what you mean. When it’s like you’re watching life happen around you but you’re completely apart and separate from it all, just a spectator and not a participant. I know what it’s like dealing with chronic pain and how it all seems so futile, but focus on the good, if you can, and if not focus on one small thing, anything at all to help take your mind from everything and to help you re-connect so to speak. I find that when you focus in, it makes everything a little more bearable. Idk if that will make sense, but I hope it does and I hope you feel better.

Taylor Jamieson says:

January 15, 2014 at 2:08 am  

I love following the process of your writing and how your voice calms and your thoughts focus and you find your place at a destination you didn’t know you were headed when you started…

more than doctors or pills or even the pretty girls at physio after my accident, just saying, I find the words are the best therapy in themselves in the stolen moments.

what should you do at 1000? …at the first 10k I ran after the doctor said I’d never run again a bunch of people along the beach put up a banner between two posts that read, .life has no finish line. I was pushing a stroller in the rain with my little son and they cheered.

They were right, there is no finish line. A true traveler has no destination and does not know when they will arrive.

Keep writing.

(Read this comment out loud to my mom, and she started crying. Yes, we’re related.)

A M Maxim says:

January 14, 2014 at 4:47 pm  

I love this. Your content is golden. I wish more people would think like you. Keep it going.

arthurdidymus says:

January 11, 2014 at 10:56 pm  

You have a way with words … It’s amazing. It is terrible that you are going through these hard times and it makes me sad, yet, it is inspiring to see how you write about all that you have been through. It seems to me you are a good person; good things are bound to come your way.

carolynismyname says:

January 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm  

I feel like this all the time. Nice to know that I’m not the only one. Power to ya girl! We can push through.

From In The Beginning:

 

meANXIETYme says: 
January 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm   
Thank you for touching my life, even though we don’t know each other. That is a true gift. I hope you are able to keep sharing your struggles and your triumphs with all of us.

Stephanie Wilkins says: 
December 24, 2013 at 3:36 am   
Glad I found your site and have heard your story. I will read the rest of your articles. You are a very descriptive writer and you write with much emotion. I plan on researching fibromyalgia for some of my posts, so if you would like to give me some information on any supplements or alternative treatments you have tried and how they have or have not worked for you, please write to me. If you haven’t tried anything and want to know some things to try, please let me know. 
Also, my Mother has Parkinsons disease and we were just talking about “not going back” to the way it used to be. Mother talks about being herself “before” Parkinsons and talks of herself “after”. What we’ve learned as a family going through this is that she had to walk from the light of her former life into the darkness of her disease to get to the other side where she found light again. It was her fear for awhile that kept her from walking through the darkness into her new life and embracing it. To embrace and accept her weakness was very difficult and without the Lord to comfort her and give her strength, she would not be here today. She’s not the same, but the changes that have happened have given her the opportunity to speak into the lives of others, as you are doing. She struggles, but has people around to love her through the hard times. 
Thank you for sharing your struggles. I will be praying for you and will let my Mom read your posts! God bless you.

gazdachef says:

September 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm  

Ella, you write as though I was talking to you face to face, your tone comes across pure. I enjoy reading what you have written. And always remember – a piece of paper is not blank, it holds a story to be told – my philosophy that I now share with you. I look forward to many more posts from you. Keep strong.

From Contact Me:

 

theywalkthenight says:

December 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm  

I must say I’m impressed with your work as I’ve been sitting here reading through some of your posts. Keep up the great work! It is inspirational! Music and pictures and all.

 

I’m afraid that’s all we have time for, folks. I hope this lived up to people’s expectations and may the force be with you! Sorry, I’ve been awake too long. This took a ridiculous amount of time to put together, it’s unbelievable. Usually every time I post it’s about two to three hours, between writing, editing, adding media and a song quote and arranging it all on the site. This took longer… let’s leave it at that.

 

Once again, thank you to everyone!!!! If anyone strongly feels that they need to read one of the other posts I suggested on the poll (previous post), let me know. Also, I’ve been getting a lot of emails recently, and I apologize to everyone that has written for not having had a chance to write back… like, ever. I’m sorry! I will get around to it, I promise.

 

Thank you for all of the kindness that you have shown me.

 

Hugs,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

All of the things that made you feel better, you should write it all down and put it in a letter. –Lose Your Mind, Kodaline