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

Try To Keep Up

 

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My week, summed up very well.

Hey, wait up! Time, where are you? This isn’t fun, I don’t like hide-and-seek. Or tag. Or whatever this is in game form. There’s so much going on, I just have to keep up and keep my head from rolling onto the floor and out the door (and under a bush, until I turn into mush).

I’ll start from the beginning, shall I?

My cousins are visiting. It’s great to see them, it truly is, it’s just time consuming. Over the weekend we went to our second cousins where I played pool for the first time (!) and other fun games fit for our old age. I loved it, though my head hurt me a ton, and I didn’t have time to study for my tests. And…. I was gonna say something…. I swear I knew what I wanted to say…. Shoot. It’s gone. I’m trying to think back to what happened at the beginning of the week. It’s been erased from my memory, apparently.

Oh! Now I remember. We started the day (at school) with triple biology (always a blast), and then we found out about a nasty rumor.  For those of you that have been following diligently, you know that I have already started my driving process (see Colloquial Miss if you want to catch up on that lovely experience). Well, after getting your green slip/form (where they check your eyesight and take the picture for your license), you need to get it signed by your doctor before you can go take your theory test. The theory test is basically made up of thirty multiple choice questions that test your knowledge of the road signs, laws, right of way, and all of those de facto important things. Up until now, you would study for it independently then arrive at the government ministry and take your test. You’re allowed to get up to four questions wrong (meaning if four are wrong, you’ve passed).

Okay, there’s your background information. What we found out was that as of the first of January, they’re changing the whole system. Or in other words, we all need to take our theory tests by January first. A bunch of us, including myself (us being my friends and schoolmates), were already in the process of studying for the theory test. Using either books or online websites, you spend some time learning what each thing means and what the rules are, then you test yourself over and over. Time consuming (keep track of how many times I need to use that phrase to describe my week and I’ll give you a sticker), but not too hard. Out of four chapters, I had finished the first.

We all kind of stressed out, until my good friend J had the idea to call the higher ups and ask them if the rumor is true before we all vomit up anxiety on our textbooks. I apologize for crudeness. She did, and they told her that they don’t know anything, and when prompted for information on who does, they replied that they do. But they “won’t know anything until two days before the system changes”. Essentially, they can’t confirm the rumors but the system will be changing. That was bad thing number one.

All day long, even before the rumor surfaced, I had a head splitting headache. Is that a thing? Can I say that? Too late. It was horrible. Sometimes it’s manageable, but that day I just put my head down in class and tried to block the world out. It hurt so much, I don’t know how to describe it (oh wait, I kind of did. Check out Shining, Elegant, Weightless White). Usually, no matter how bad I feel, I can put up a pretty good front, to the point where people don’t know I’m sick until I tell them. But this time my teachers were asking if I was okay, and I wanted to cry. We also found out that our teachers had organized to take us to go see snow the following day as a fun stress-reliever (it doesn’t snow in our area), and I knew that I couldn’t go because busses make me really sick.

I got home, and studied through the pain because I had no other choice, going back and forth between theory and a year-and-a-half’s worth of biology material. Later in the day I went to physical therapy, where my physical therapist/study buddy and I went over some of my biology terms, and then we talked about his cute kids for the remainder of the time.  Then I got home, and guess what I did? I studied! Shocker!

Wow I just realized I can’t tell you about everything that has happened because it would take me until next week to write all of that, and I don’t have that kind of time. Okay, fast-forward:

1)   My sister collapsed and I had to take care of her until my parents could get home and figure out whether she needed to be taken to the emergency room or not (she was in the end, and then sent home). That’s what I did on the day my friends went to play in the snow.

2)   The biology test went all right for me though it was pretty hard, but it went badly for most of my friends, which was very upsetting.

3)   I had to go to the doctor to get my form signed, and that took a long time that should have been spent studying for theory. The whole process was time consuming.

4)   I was told I need to go on another upsetting diet (my friend D said I should call it a “regime”), this time dairy-free, gluten-free and no processed foods. If anyone feels it’s important, I can explain why at some point. Mainly, it sucks and I hate being sick. It’s so time consuming having to prepare food every time I want to eat something.

5)   My parents bought me a new phone, and I chipped in for about a third of the cost, but it doesn’t work. I went to six stores to try to set it up, then my dad went to five stores to try to set up (time consuming), and he finally found someone who knows how to do it for the added cost of over 100 dollars… Meanwhile, all of the back and forth has messed up my old phone (a cute little red Sony Ericson), so it’s not really working. Hopefully next week my phone will be set, and then I’ll be able to post from my phone! Ah! Though I probably won’t, let’s be realistic here. No mobile version is better than the real thing.

6)   That very bad headache? Still here. It won’t go away, I think it’s going to drive me insane if it doesn’t let up soon.

7)   Hey my lucky number! Ooh, which reminds me, I have to tell you about the theory test itself! Man this post is really long.

Anyway, today J and I got a ride with her dad and went to take our test. First off, the office was in a deserted building, on the second floor, on a landing outside the building, past a bunch of workshops where men with masks on and working heavy machinery turned to stare at us as we walked past. Briskly. Then we got to office, opened the door and a guard jumped up and told us to put our things on the desk while he ran his metal detector over us and stuffed our things into lockers. A pleasant welcome if I’ve ever seen one. Then we were told to sit, and after being sent back to put more of our things into our lockers (including my scarf, because it’s all the rage to hide answers in them nowadays), they finally called my name. J wished me luck, and I went up to the desk. They had me sign some forms, then told me to look at the camera. I suddenly got worried, because I did not want my license picture to be taken then, seeing as I already worked so hard to get a nice one of my green slip. I asked the lady what the picture was for, and said that I had already taken mine, and she went, “You’re pretty, what do you care?” *clears throat* I insisted, and then she told me it was for “identification purposes”. Fine. I smiled. By the way, I saw the picture later and it was not pretty.

Then she sent me into the room, where I was lead to cubicle number 7 (hence the memory trigger) and shown how to work the test. It’s on the computer; I was basically told how to use a mouse to press the “next” and “finish” buttons. J was seated next to me at cubicle 8. I took my time, answered everything very carefully, then went back and counted up how many I thought might be wrong. I got to three, so I decided to go for it and pressed the finish button. I came out, waited with J on the waiting chairs (that’s their official name) and then the same lady who thinks I’m pretty came up with both of our forms and went, “One of you passed, one of you failed”. Such a kind, tactful lady. Now, J and I had discussed what might happen if we went together, and we both came to the conclusion that one of was going to pass and the other one wasn’t, because it’s just been that kind of week. It was so bad that our friend D sent us both a text saying (after I updated them about the new regime), that she doesn’t know what to say but she thinks “we should commune and create a cry session for one of the worst weeks in 2013”.  J said, “Spot on”, and I declared that “I concur. It’s a date.” J said she would laugh if she fails, I warned her and her dad that I would cry.

So when she said that to J and I, we looked at each other and turned to our forms, and she started laughing before I had time to process the little word on my form that let me know that I passed. The second we made eye contact we started laughing hysterically because we were right, and then my favorite lady asked us to leave because we were being disruptive. We grabbed out things and headed for the door, where the guard stopped us and gave us his advice on when to come again and what website to use to study. He was actually sweet in the end, surprisingly. We quickly walked into the building from the landing and left.

I’m glad we’re such good friends that the situation wasn’t awkward. I was sad for her, she was happy for me, and mainly we were both exhausted, tired and angry about what a bad week it’s been. Luckily everyone is going there to take the test in the next few days, so she has plenty of opportunities to go again with someone, and then I’m sure she’ll pass because she did eleven practice tests the night before and passed all of them, so it was really just a fluke that she didn’t pass the real one. And I know she’s reading this, and laughing. Go get some food and stop doing more practice tests.

I was so tired last night that when I wrote my checklist for this morning, this is what came out:

–       Green slip

–       Wallot

–       Phone + id

–       Wallet

Yeah, it was that bad. I showed it to my dad this morning and he laughed at me. Understandably, I suppose. Ooh, and I scheduled my first driving lesson for next week!

Wow, I’m at two thousand words. Maybe it’s time to stop talking. Maybe I should edit some of this stuff out. But we all know I won’t.

Yours truly,

Ella

Song Quote:

We have paved these streets with moments of defeat. –These Streets, Bastille

 

P.s. Who got the meatball reference?

 

I’m Scared

Okay world, here’s your chance: what are you trying to tell me? Us? What’s the idea behind all of this? Third car accident in two months. Is there a reason? A message? Because if there is, I’m not getting it. I’m just getting that my family is getting hurt, and scared.

We’re okay. I mean, we’re not, but none of us are in the hospital, or seriously hurt. I just feel my sister’s pain so much. She and my other sister were driving to school six weeks ago and were rammed into from behind. Both were mildly hurt (the middle one has fibromyalgia too), but mainly the oldest suffered a lot from whiplash. This was her first time driving to school since (the middle sister wasn’t with her this time). And again, rear-ended on the same stretch of road as last time.

I just spent the last hour with her and my mom. We were trying to calm her down. She couldn’t stop crying. I hope her neck won’t have any permanent damage at this point. She and my mom just left for the doctor’s.

We’ve been having a hard time as a family. The middle sister and I both have fibro, my dad is always travelling for work (he was abroad for the previous two accidents, and now this one too), and now with all of these accidents happening… Oh, and my mom has shingles right now, to top it all off. My oldest sister was only just starting to regain some sense of normalcy, of being able to move about. I’ve been under a lot of pressure. It’s test season at school, I have all of these tests on everything I am supposed to have learnt in the past two years, back to back, and I’m starting to buckle under the pressure.

So what’s the point, huh? Why is this happening? Because clearly, I must be missing something. If the world wants to say something, it can just frickin’ say it already. Stop hurting my family. I can’t deal with this anymore, it’s too much, I just can’t. My friends are stressed out about tests. That’s it. Why am I the one that has to have all of the bad things? Sick self, sick sister, sick mother, car accidents… When is it going to end? Is our luck going to run out?

I’ve been walking around for the past few weeks being afraid to say good-bye to parents. I’m always scared it will be the last time I see them. The night my dad flew abroad a week and a half ago, I didn’t sleep. At all. I was too scared. There was a storm a few days ago, with thunder shaking up the house. My mom left to go to the doctor, leaving me in charge of the kitchen where we happened to be cooking up our own storm. I was left alone in charge of everything that was cooking at the time, frying this, measuring that, checking on that, stirring whatever. The thunder was so loud, I was in such a frenzy multitasking, I just suddenly got this feeling that something really, really bad was happening, right at that second. As my mom was leaving, my sister was trying to get the other car to start so she could drive herself to the physical therapist’s office, a five-minute drive. The car alarm went off, and it wouldn’t stop. It was the siren, the thunder, the sizzling, and I felt like I was drowning. Drowning in worry, I guess.

I didn’t burn any of the food. My sisters complained that the chicken was a little underdone. My family made it home okay. My dad is safe, far away at work. I told myself to calm down. I wrote in my diary that I’m really scared something is going to happen to one of my loved ones, and told myself that now I could let it be and try to move on. But then I was talking to my friends, and they all said that even with school pressure and things, they still felt like it was going to be a really great week. I was the only one that did not agree. I couldn’t help it, I was upset and worried, still. I told them I had a bad feeling about the week.

Then today I woke up, and my mom pulled me aside as I headed to get some breakfast and whispered, “she was in another car accident”. She whispered because she could barely bare to say the words. Now I’m alone at home, sitting in my room and writing. I actually woke up today, with this feeling that maybe I could make this week be a little more fun. I decided to have a dance party, but who can dance on an empty stomach?

So I never had my dance party. All my energy went to my sister, I have none left right now. I still have to go to school, and I have art later. I’m exhausted.

I don’t know why this is happening. I’m not sure I ever will. Just please, please, whoever makes these decisions, take pity on us already. We’re good people. My parents, my sisters, myself – we’re all very good, decent people. We don’t deserve this. I know no one does, but still, we really don’t. We have enough troubles already.

We don’t need more.

If you’re religious, any kind of religion, pray for us. If you’re not, just hope in your hearts for my family and me that we’ll be okay. I’ll take any help I can get at this point.

I’m scared,

Ella

Song quote:

Alice, there’s no reflection in the looking glass, you wear your party dress but there’s no party to attend… She’s looking for a way to escape and wondering whether she can find a way out without being seen… There’s no one left in paradise, just a pack of cards without the hearts. –Alice, Mononoke

Sharing Is Caring

That’s what I have been taught my whole life. It was the mantra repeated throughout my childhood, and is the nostalgic phrase thrown out in my present. I wholly believe in it.

I’ve had a sharing kind of day. My dad lent me his sweater, I brought some food from home for my friend, another friend shared some of hers with me, I shared my scarf and hat with others who were cold throughout the day, I received yarn as a gift from a friend for whom I knit a hat, and I got a ride home from someone because it was raining. It was all really great, and it got me thinking.

So, sharing is caring, right? We’ve established that. If so, why can’t I share my pain? Why am I the only one of my friends who’s suffering every minute of every day? Why am I the only one who has to worry about her health and her treatments all the time? Why am I the only one who isn’t healthy enough to participate in things?

It’s not that I want my friends to feel like this. I wouldn’t wish Fibromyalgia on anyone, ever. It’s just that I’m frustrated with feeling so alone in it. I can talk about it with my friends, especially a couple of them who are really there for me with this stuff. My class knows what I have (after a really messed up year of it staying a rumor despite the fact that I told everyone what it was). I talk to my parents; they know exactly what I’m going through. All of that is great, and not to be underrated.

But no one feels what I feel. No one knows what it’s like to have this pain, to feel so sick all the time. Anyone who doesn’t feel what I feel the way I feel it would have no way of ever understanding what it’s really like. And that makes me all alone. People care about me, but I can’t share this. I’m the one who wakes up and goes to sleep this way. I’m the one who sits in class with pain travelling through her body. I’m the one who stands talking with people, but is usually actually fighting a migraine, knee pain, exhaustion and more to do so. I’m the one who’s hurting. 

There’s really no solution to all of this. Even this blog isn’t the solution. It helps a lot, don’t get me wrong: seeing positive comments and a show of appreciation for what I write makes my day a lot of times. But it doesn’t take away the pain. I try to keep up with normal life, with the things people my age are doing (by the way, the driving license picture ended up coming out great!). But at the same time, I’m also a really old person: I can predict rain. C’mon, no one my age is supposed to be able to do that. My knees swelled up last week, while my friends were all on vacation in locations around the world, because the weather was changing. And yet I still can’t figure out when to bring my umbrella.

I’m tired of hurting, and of feeling alone. Just tired of it.

Yours truly,

Ella

Song Quote:

It’s taken me a while to tell you, exactly how I feel inside. The words, they may seem simple right now, but they took me a while to find. –Be Alright, Lucy Rose

Cousins’ Babies

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I pretty much looked like this when I found out the news…

 

A few days ago, my mom gave me the good news: my cousin’s wife is pregnant. I smiled, we laughed, and then I started crying.

I’m the youngest in my family, and therefore never got to have little ones in the house that weren’t, well… me. This is the difference between my friends and me: they have baby cousins, and I have cousins’ babies. My oldest cousin, the one who is soon to be a third time father, was 25 when I was born. He’s the oldest of the oldest (my dad’s older sister), and she got married young, and I’m the youngest of the youngest (my dad), who got married late. There you go.

Anyway, back to babies. I love ‘em.

I truly, truly, simply adore them so much. I don’t think I can even describe it. I just feel this connection to them (don’t let your mind make this sentence creepy). My family and friends have decided I have “baby heaven”, which contrary to its literal meaning (=where babies go when they are no longer alive) actually means I look and feel like I’m in heaven when I see babies.

As of now, I have five cousin’s babies (a new one two weeks ago!), but god willing, soon there will be eight. It’s so amazing!!!!! Two of the soon-to-be babies are girls, and the third is as of yet unknown. I can’t wait until they’re born, and we have this whole next generation in our family! Eight babies. That’s a lot. The oldest is… four? So technically she’s not a baby anymore, but still. Also, two of the new ones are meant to be born within a month of each other, so birthdays every year are going to be super cute.

I love babies!!!! I don’t think this is going anywhere. It’s mainly just, I LOVE BABIES.

Oh, I can tell you why I cried, I guess. I was in a bad mood that day, because of how horribly sick I was feeling, and my mom was trying to cheer me up a bit. I had been in school when my cousin, his wife and their two daughters came over, so I wasn’t around when the news was shared. I was alone at home with my mom, and she came and sat down near me on the couch and told me. I got this immediate grin on my face, so wide it hurt my cheeks and jaw terribly, but I couldn’t stop smiling. The two of us were smiling really wide, and then we just started laughing a bit. But instead of laughing a bit more, I started crying. The tears were falling freely. My cat, Squirt, is amazing, and I will tell you why. The second after I start crying, he’s there: it doesn’t matter where in the house I am and he is, if I start crying, he shows up and purrs next to me.

I don’t have a particularly close relationship with him, not like the rest of my family members, but the two of us (me and the cat) have come to terms with this, and we just live amicably side-by-side. He doesn’t sleep on my bed, I don’t sleep on his, but I’ll fill up his food and he won’t scratch me. That kind of thing, you know. But this, the crying dates – they mean a lot to me. Thanks, kitty.

Anywho, I started crying about the new baby, and Squirt came and purred on me. My mom didn’t want me touching my face while I had cat on me, so she brought a tissue and kind of stuck it in the collar of me shirt to collect the tears. I just kept thinking how awesome (in the literal sense awe) it is that my cousin’s wife has a person growing inside her right now, and that in a few months time she and my cousin are going to welcome another beautiful human being into their family. I may only be sixteen, and therefore wholly unready to start a family, but I already know that I have a whole lot of love in my heart, and I’m going to start my own family one day, and love each and every member with the whole of my being.

I can’t wait. I love babies.

The world can be awesome.

Yours truly,

The coolest cousin-ish thing ever,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

I was sixteen with an open heart…. When I was dumb and the world was young.

–Beautiful, Ben Rector

 

 

On a sadder note, the baby that was born two weeks ago was born into hard times. My cousin’s husband’s brother (the baby’s uncle) passed away shortly before she was born. Her middle name is his. I send all of that love that’s in my heart to the family. I can’t even imagine what you all must be going through.

Excavations

Copyright sickandsickofit.wordpress.com

The excavation site

Hidden beneath a pile of other important things in my drawer, lies a folder that is full to the bursting with slips of paper. Every page has some words, written at some point in my life, and when I open that folder, I travel back in time.

It’s amazing really, how I’m instantly transported to how I was feeling, where I was, and what I was doing when I wrote something down. There have been many days in my young life, but the ones that I remember the most are the ones when I had a sudden urge to write- and I took myself up on it.

Sporadically in life, pretty much from age six, I would get bouts of motivation, generally in the direction of: “I’m gonna be a writer!!! I’m gonna get published! I’m going to be in The New York Times!” During one such bout, when I was around twelve years old, I sat cross legged on my bed, and wrote something on a piece of ripped notebook paper. It was my old bedspread, the highly colorful one, and I was staring at the mirror that was glued on the back of my door (before it fell, and broke).

This is what I wrote:

   I wish my mirror were my life. When I look in my mirror, I see what I am meant to be. I see myself with a fancy hair do, all dressed up at my very own book signing. I want to be famous for my writing.

  I look in the mirror, but I don’t look the way I really do. I look like a writer, posing for a picture while she writes her next bestseller.

  My mirror is the only one that knows; knows what my life should look like.

To be honest, there are pieces written in bouts of motivation from when I was much younger than 12, but they’re slightly embarrassing, so my drawer is their permanent residence.

Besides the motivated snippets, the folder is mostly full of products of hard times. It’s sad to think sometimes that most of my poems are ones of great depression, sadness, guilt and discontent. At the same time, that’s what I use my writing for: it’s a place I can turn to when it feels like nothing else is right. To quote the great Oscar Wilde,  “Words! Mere words!… what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of flute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?”

Fast-forwarding a year, I sat after quite a horrible day and wrote this (and I’m making sure not to edit myself, even though I really want to):

Why is the world such a hard place to be?

Why can’t I just spread my wings and be free?

Be heard, be known, for the things I can do,

Let it be known, that I will make it through.

 

I don’t want to think that no one will hear it,

If I fail, I won’t admit it.

I just want a chance to be heard,

Help create a better world.

 

I don’t think that’s taking it too far,

If I just keep trying,

It can’t be too hard,

I will keep reaching for the stars.

 

But it all comes back too:

 

Why is the world such a hard place to be?

Why can’t I just spread my wings and be free?

Be heard, be known, for the things I can create,

If only there wasn’t so much at stake.

 

My hopes my dreams, my innocent will,

To help the world with the best of my skills.

I can write the poem, that comes to terms with the world,

With just that single world that will be heard:

 

Free.

 

But now a tear is tracing its track down my check,

For in writing, it certainly sounds absurd.

 

At least it  has a slightly positive edge to it. Some of these transport me to a really, really bad time. Like this one:

Let’s make the bed,

Fold the dirty clothing,

Pack up our bags,

And hang up the happy drawings.

 

Throw away the tissues,

Return the garbage to its place,

Comb through our hair,

And patch up our face.

 

Strangle all those sobs,

Dry up all those tears,

Leave not one trace of sadness

“I was never here”.

 

There was a lot going on. I had no choice: life kept moving, so I had to as well. I’m worried I might be depressing you all, but I know that I also worry too much (there’s a poem about it). I’ll only share one more with you. I wrote this just last year, when I was worrying about something:

Borders are

As borders go

Separating,

Existing.

 

Some borders are paper thin, hazy, fragile,

But hold within them

The power to destruct.

 

These borders are

Long

Thin

Lines.

 

Tread carefully.

 

But the border, the line, that

Scares me most,

Is the one I balance on when I act

By the sheer power of feeling

Empathy, love, worry.

 

Then I walk the border of

Making

Things

Worse.

A single toe out of line, and that power to destruct

Is free.

 

And on that supremely uplifting note, I will now stop the barrage of sadness, and share some facts of happiness:

  1. I now have a place to write regularly, and it’s full of positivity! I have self-discipline, and write regularly, and you are all lovely people, and leave me uplifting comments. I now can write of happiness, and not just sadness.
  2. I have a much better support system in place than I used to. My family is as great as they always have been, but I now also have a bunch of friends that really care about me.
  3. I have matured since I was 12, and though I still write poems of depression in epic proportions, I also hold on to some perspective. I have a good life, even with Fibromyalgia.
  4. My math test is over! I don’t know if you feel the same way I do, but in my book, this is definitely a fact of happiness. I was stressing out about it so much, but it went really well, so now I believe all my hard work was worth it and I am happy. Next one in three weeks.

 

I hope I have now lifted your spirits after having lowered them. Otherwise, I would feel guilty. There’s a poem about it.

Wishing you all a wonderful day and happy reading,

Yours truly,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind. –Hurricane, Ms Mr

 

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While giving my drawer a photo-shoot, I realized I was photographing one of my most prized possessions: my Song Quotes notebook. It is a beautiful little thing….

 

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A hundred points to anyone who can leave a comment below stating which books are on my shelf… (hint: there are fifteen in the picture). Let the games begin!

Laughter Lines

Old Women Jumproping

This is what my friend and I will be doing when we get together in our eighties. Just saying.

“Drumroll please!” I exclaim, as my hand nears the pile of little yellow cards. The drumming begins, and I lift one card high into the air. The drumming stops abruptly as I bring the card to eye level. “Advance to Go, collect 200.” She sighs, I laugh, pieces move and the game continues.

Yes, I was playing Monopoly. The friend I was playing with has been my friend since before I was born. Let me explain.

Once upon a time, when my mother was around 11 years old, she met a girl named Monica, and the two became friends. Naturally, Monica’s parents and my mother’s parents became friendly too. When they were both in their twenties and individually moved away from home, they ended up in the same city and moved in together. My mother married my father, and soon after Monica got married too. Both couples moved to Boston, and started bringing children to the world.

McLaughin (my friend- it’s a nickname that stuck) and I are both the youngest children. When McLaughing was one month old, and my mother was eight months pregnant, Monica and my mom met for coffee. They put McLaughin’s teeny weeny infant hand on my mom’s belly, where I was happily residing, and thus, we shared our first high five (of many) before I was born.

Seven and a bit years later, both families ended up across the world, a forty five minute drive from one another. McLaughin and I have always gotten along very well whenever our families met up (it’s harder to do than you would think, with 11 different schedules between us). Then, we got to an age where we didn’t mind being away from home for a bit, so I would find my way to their house for a weekend here and there, and vice versa. Then we got cellphones, and I talked to McLaughin at least once a week, walking to and from dance class.

Eventually, McLaughin and I were the ones pulling for the families to get together (though of course our moms were very happy about it too, it’s just we’re the ones that push for it). Whenever we see each other we have the greatest time. It’s laughter and fun, compassion and friendship, ridiculousness and comfort. And some more laughter.

This weekend, they come over for 28 hours (I only counted now, mind you). It was so much fun having them over, I absolutely loved it. It was horrible and annoying that I felt sick and exhausted the whole time, but McLaughin’s general kindness made it all a little easier to deal with. My grandfather is with us too, and of course he’s known Monica since she was a little girl, and he sees McLaughin whenever she comes to visit me. My grandfather is a sweetie-pie, and he was asking my mom what he could do to make Monica happy, so my mom told him to tell a lot of jokes- he complied.

Towards the end their stay, McLaughin and I started playing Monopoly. We created our own set of traditions for the game, which include buying everything we land on, hugging when one of us gets snake eyes, drumming the table when Chance or Community Chest are called for, and this thing called “race”. The rest of the house was quiet because everyone was in the living room reading, and we were next door in the kitchen hogging the table, so whenever something exciting happened they were all a part of it (willingly or not) because they over-heard it all. I don’t know about everyone else, but McLaughin and I enjoyed that. McLaughin has the ability to simply fill me with joy, give me energy and put me in a good mood.

They stayed late to have some dinner with us and I pulled out my camera and took a bunch of pictures. I suddenly remembered I was supposed to go to a surprise good bye party for a friend, so McLaughin, my sister and I rushed up to my room and rummaged through my closet, choosing an outfit and sending me to the bathroom to change. The rest of the family was shouting at us cause we were holding everyone up, but it wouldn’t be a traditional get-together if that didn’t happen at some point to someone in the family, so it was A-Okay.

I hugged everyone goodbye, and we all rushed out the door. I was late for the party, but it was the absolute best reason for being late- I was busy having a good time with some good friends. A friendship like ours will never fade, it will never stop being this beautiful, McLaughin will always be one of my dearest friends.

Yours truly,

Ella

P.s. I added a new page! Check out “In The Beginning”

 

Song Quote:

I’ll see you in the future when we’re older, and we are full of stories to be told… I’ll see you with your laughter lines. –Laughter Lines, Bastille

 

From my previous post, this poll is still relevant:

It’s Called Perseverance

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Card castles!

[This post is a little long, so you have two options:

  1. You can persevere, and read the whole thing.
  2. You can scroll to the bottom, where I have a new poll and pictures of what my sketch looks like after another session (the piece I showed you all last week in “To Create”, of the old man laughing done in black and white charcoal)

Either way, hi! Have a nice day! And now to the post….]

I was asked to babysit for this family with three kids. They wanted four hours on Sunday, six hours on Monday, and five hours today (Tuesday). I accepted readily, because I love babysitting. There’s a boy who is three and a half (“A”), a girl who is five and a half (“N”), and boy who is seven and a half (“R”).  Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy.

On Sunday, I spent the first 50 minutes fighting with the kids, because A hit me five minutes in when he wanted something (more cereal), and I told him he’s not allowed to have anything until he apologizes and asks nicely. Then the other two kept fighting about what they wanted to do, and refusing to get along. Then they had a silent protest (at least it was silent) when I wouldn’t let them ride their bikes (their mom didn’t want them going outside), and were just impossible. I brought them both to me, and told them that sometimes in life, it happens that you can’t do exactly what you wanted to do and you have make a compromise. They didn’t understand, so I said:

“Let’s say you want to be a doctor, but you can’t. And that’s it, there’s no way you can be a doctor, ever, even if you want to. What are you going to do, sit around sulking for the rest of your life? No! You’re going to find something else that you want to do, and that will make you happy.”

Now I’ll readily admit this isn’t the greatest example, but it’s what I came up with. This is what R shrieked back:

“I want to be a doctor, and no one can tell me I can’t!!!!!!!! I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT TO!!!!!” I think my point was missed.

I wanted to call their mom and tell her I couldn’t take it anymore. When I put it down in words it really doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it was way more awful than it sounds. You know me pretty well by now, and I’m never one to give up or be overdramatic. I wanted to go home.

An hour in, I put on Shrek for the older two, and went to find A who was sulking somewhere. I told him he’s welcome to come and join us. He mumbled that he wants more cereal, and I told him he can say “Ella, may I please have some more cereal?” and all of his problems would be solved. So he said it, and I replied with “gladly”. I WON!!!! Yay!

After getting him more cereal, the three of them settled in to watch the movie, and I sobbed silently inside. I knew that once the movie ended I would still have more than an hour with them, and I needed to prepare myself. A and N ended up falling asleep during the movie, so I played a bit with R, and it was very frustrating, but I won’t get into it. N woke up, joined, stuff happened and I got even more frustrated. A woke up, things imploded a bit.

What stood out to me most was that:  A. These kids are entirely used to getting exactly what they want, whether it’s within reason or not. B. They are so competitive! They always have to be better than their siblings, the best at everything.

R just kept going, “Aren’t I so good at this? I’m so smart that I thought to do this. I’m so much better at this than you. What, you didn’t get it? Are you dumb? You’re fat. I’m so cool. I know it.”

Seriously? Parents, why do you let your kid talk to people this way? He also had this bit where he would think he has explained something to you, when he really hasn’t, and then he gets frustrated with you. I actually felt really bad for him on this, because he clearly has no idea he’s doing it. For instance, he wanted to play a game with me and I didn’t know how to play it. To explain, he said “so you have these cards, and you can put them down like this, or you can put them here. Let’s play.” Then I would say, “R, you didn’t really explain it, could you try again?” and he would go, “What don’t you get? I’m so much smarter than you.”

Sigh.

N just liked saying I’m her servant, bothering her brothers, making life difficult. I wanted to cry by the time the dad came back and dropped me off at home. If the mom didn’t work with my dad (making it impossible for me to run away like a squirrel and never see her again), I would have told her straight up that her kids had been really horrible. Now that I think of it, I kind of did. We had agreed to talk at night and give me a chance to tell her how it went. I told her everything, straight up, just didn’t mention the part about what R had said (R- smart, me- idiotic). She said she would talk to them, and leave A at her mother’s.

This is where perseverance kicks in. I talked myself into believing everything would be better the next day, and packed a magic bag filled with stuff to pull out when they start getting bored/tired/mean. My parents told me they’re proud of me, my friends commiserated, and I readied myself for the torture.

Bright and early, I was ready to go. The mom let me know that she had the ingredients for pizza, so I could make it with the kids, and that she had talked to them and they would be better.

They weren’t better. It probably didn’t help that instead of prepping the pizzas together, sticking them in the oven and having lunch together, we had to eat sandwiches because it turns out there were ingredients for dough. Slight issue: dough takes two hours to rise. It would have been handy to know I should have built that into the schedule, rather than start getting ready half an hour before lunch.

Anyway, it sucked. The only time the two of them got along was when they were bullying me. I stood my own the whole time, I never gave into them and I did the right thing, I just had no fun (which is the point of babysitting- I like making money, but I mainly just like being with kids). The whole thing was disastrous.  At least the mom tipped me a whole extra hour’s pay for all my troubles.

Perseverance part: I still went back! I was not going to give in. If it took everything I had, I was going to have fun with these kids. People, why can’t I just give up?

After commiserating some more, making my parents and sisters laugh at my comedic retelling of my day, and repacking a new magic bag (the first one failed), I gave myself a pep talk. Yeah, go Ella, it’s gonna be great, you can do this, they’ll love you, you’re awesome, you’ll make some money, you can then spend said money on something that will make you happy, you’ll be fine.

But, for a nice break, I met my friend at the mall this morning. The first thing I said to her was, “You have no idea how happy I am to see you”. The second was, “Civilization, conversations, compromise, condolences- all kinds of words with “c” that you understand. I need to be with people who aren’t little kids.” I had been looking forward to this so much, and it lived up to my expectations. This is the friend I stayed with in London, we’re really close and I could live with her and never get bored, annoyed or aggravated. Unfortunately, that had to end, and I got ready for babysitting.

With prayers on my side, I waited outside for the mom to pick me up, and saw immediately that only R was in the car. I keep losing kids.

Here is the successful part of perseverance: I had some fun! R was a lot nicer and things went way smoother. We played card games (I’ve missed Rat-A-Tat-Cat), built card castles, wrote a story, played on the piano together, folded paper airplanes and flew them around the backyard, helped the gardener get a ladder and made him some coffee (though I asked him how he likes it, and I think I did it wrong, so now I feel really bad), ate popcorn, ate some more popcorn, and just had a much better time.

I feel so successful! But now all the hard work is taking it’s toll: my head feels like it’s going to explode. I’ve been so exhausted and stressed, with schoolwork and babysitting, and I need a break. That’s it, I’m going to bed at nine tonight. It’s decided. Watch me fail.

I appreciate you all for not telling me I’m dumb and fat,

Ella

Song Quote:

I never wanted anything from you, except everything you had and whatever’s left after that too. –Dog Days, Florence and the Machine

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As promised, pictures of the new developments! I have to work on the ear, give more texture to the wrinkles and hair, and add the collar of his sweater along his neck, and then I’m done!

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Close up…

And in honor of my 20th post, I wanted to add a poll and get some feedback from everyone. Unfortunately, somehow my technical abilities, which are nearly non-existent, failed me when it started getting complicated. I can’t figure out why it’s all capitalized, and why it looks the way it does when it’s saved with a different background, but it still fulfills it’s purpose, so I give up on trying to fix it. Thank you, and enjoy!