At first I called this “The Dock”, but now I’m calling it “In The Water”.

 

The girl was on the rickety dock for months.

The dock was familiar, and it felt like home.

Sometimes she was closer to the shore, at other times closer to the water, but most of the time

She was sat safely in the middle of the dock.

 

Until one day

She realized that the water seemed to be getting closer.

Maybe the tides were changing, or it had rained so much that the water level had started rising.

Or maybe, just maybe, the girl had been moving

Unnoticed even to her.

 

Something had changed.

All of a sudden the girl found herself on the very edge of the dock.

Her toes peeked out over the water, the water that was so close, and she felt the spray of droplets tickle her feet. She stood like that for a few days, sobbing, and looking back at the path she had walked. Then, she took a deep breath, braced herself and stepped off the dock.

 

Splashing

Gasping

Reaching

Crying

Drowning.

 

The blue coated her.

The sea claimed her.

Under the surface everything was dark.

She was cold.

 

And so the girl came to live her life from way out at sea.

Every day she kicked her legs to stay afloat, even as she drifted further into the depths.

Sometimes, her head was fully above water, and she could breathe.

She could even feel the heat of the sunlight on her closed eyelids.

But when she tired of the effort it took to stay in the sun, she sank back into the water,

Where the monsters were lying in wait.

 

The strain of the struggle has warped the girl’s perception of time.

Two full years of her life led her to that dock, and now

She’s been in the water for two months.

Both stretches of time feel equally as endless.

 

Only one has come to an end.

 

The girl is in the water.

She isn’t waiting there to be saved. She knows how to swim.

She’ll swim back to shore when she’s ready.

(She’s just not ready.)

~

Ella

“It’s everything you ever want
It’s everything you ever need
And it’s here right in front of you
This is where you wanna be…

So tell me do you wanna go?” -The Greatest Show

(No.)

Home.

I love the life I lead. I love the (brave) new world I’ve built for myself here. I love everyone around me – all of these people I didn’t know four months ago, who are intertwined in my story now. I love the aspects of my life that didn’t exist before.

But I want to go home. Real home. Just for a few days.

For a few days I want to go to sleep in my old bed – a bed that knew more restless nights than restful ones. A bed that is soaked to the core and coated in memories of pain upon pain upon pain. A bed I used to lay in and dream about having the life I have now.

I want to go home, so I can crawl into that bed and cry.

I want to cry surrounded by walls that are used to containing my tears, walls that know how to stay standing in the face of whatever it is I’m feeling. I want to cry covered by the blankets that have kept out the cold, harsh reality and kept in my dreams when I just wasn’t strong enough to get up. I want to cry looking out the window and seeing the view I saw every time I cried until I went and upended my world four months ago.

I’m tired.

There, I said it. A word that I use all the time, still, but the implications of which I’ve been pretending no longer exist.

My (brave) new world is intense. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I feel physically, mentally and emotionally wrung out by all that has happened since August. I have everything I was hoping to have, everything is going so well, and being happy about that is exhausting me. I never stop moving. I never stop feeling. (I never stop feeling like I’m missing out on things, whether I spend time in my new world or my old world. I’m always torn between the two – I want to be in both at once.) I never stop missing people.

“I miss you.”

Tomorrow, I’ll go home. I’m so overwhelmed I just want to cry. I wouldn’t change a thing.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

Must be love on the brain, that’s got me feeling this way. -Love on the Brain, Rihanna

Where I Belong

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

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

It’ll be my little spot in the world.

My music will be my soundtrack.

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

I’ll have really cool coffee table books.

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

It’ll be marvelous.

Love,

Ella

Song Quote:

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

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

I’m Going Home

 

antique-art-curtains-home-photo-Favim.com-136368

Not my window, but a dreamy window indeed

 

I can totally do this.

The past few days have been filled with pain and the past few nights have been filled with consciousness. I am tired and tired of studying. I am sick and suffering, but I can do this.

Two tests left. My window is open to let the cold, crisp air in and onto my face, and every now and then I remember to breathe. I have a playlist of Coldplay, Maroon 5 and Beyoncé to keep me from getting too bored of my material, and a yellow highlighter that matches my dried mango (god’s gift to man).

A classic study set-up.

Not only am I motivated and uplifted by the light I can glimpse at the end of the tunnel, but I now have something to look forward to: I’m going home. I moved away from my hometown when I was 7, and in many ways where I live now is a larger part of my identity. It’s where my family is, where most of my friends are, my school, and my past ten years of life. This culture now feels as much an inseparable part of my identity as the culture of my early childhood.

But still, the thought of going back for a visit makes the words “I’m going home!” shout in my mind, bang around and jump up and down (primarily as I try to study). For once I have something to look forward to, and by golly, is it uplifting.

I just feel like I can do this, I can make it through these tests and then go home. The first time I went back to visit was many years after we moved away, and at the sight of my neighborhood I began to cry in the back of the cab. Those tears were because I missed it all and I wished we’d never moved. The tears I’m sure will come this time will not be the same. I’m no longer a 7-year-old girl. In a few months time I will turn 18 and I will need to accept that the fibromyalgia will become a part of my adult life too.

This time I will cry because I really need a break from the reality of my life that is so often sad and frustrating.

This time I will cry tears of joy, because despite it all I love the person I have become and I know I would not be the same if we had never moved away.

This time I will cry, and then leave the tears aside and focus on being where I am. The Dalai Lama said that there are only two days that do not exist: yesterday and tomorrow. In my life, my yesterdays always carry over to my todays (in the form of a headache) and I can’t help but worry about all of my tomorrows.

This time I will cry.

Yours,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Millions of miles from home in the swirling, swimming on, when I’m rolling with the thunder, but bleed from thorns, leave a light, leave a light on. –Midnight, Coldplay

 

Stay tuned for part 2! I plan to write all about my trip.

Part 1: I’m Going Home

Part 2: I’m Home!

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

Colloquial Miss

 

What a colloquial miss. We tried, we really did. This is just the I-don’t-know-how-many-I’ve-lost-count day that has gone down this way. My friends are all away, having themselves some great adventures, and I made my peace with the fact that I was going to be sticking out our weeklong break at home (sweet home). I had a highlight planned: completing the first step in the agonizingly long process of getting my driver’s license.

First thing’s first, I have to get my “green slip”- green as in go. Or Kermit. It’s mainly a technicality, an eyesight check, but you need it before you can start everything. I’ve been spending my days trying to catch up on homework, which I’m somehow still behind on, and I haven’t had any fun. At all. This was the one thing I was really looking forward to. The first step- it’s so momentous.

When you go, they make sure you don’t need glasses, take your picture (which is the one that will go on your license) and hand you your green slip. So, I purposely straightened my bangs today, picked out a shirt that makes my neck look great (just go with it) and brings out the blue in my eyes, and put on a tad of make up. I spent the whole entire day doing homework, primarily math (a whooping 65 geometry proofs and differential math equations for over vacation), making it through solely because I had something to look forward to. I was alone at home all day, with the excitement just growing and throbbing inside of me, pulsing with my heart.

My mom swooped by the house at a quarter to seven, and we drove to the mall, to the store that green slips people (awkward verb improvisation going on here). We arrive, after my long day of anticipation, and my mom and I talk about how exciting all of this is, and how it’s such a big step even though it’s a technicality. We walk into the store, tell them why we’re there and what do they say? “We don’t do that anymore”. You’re kidding me right?

We find out that as of a few days ago or something equally annoying in a ridiculous manner, a store on the main street is in charge of green slipping people. My puffed up plastic bag of anticipation started deflating. My mom and I leave the mall, get back in the car and start driving again. It was so anticlimactic. She agrees with me. We parked in the municipal parking lot off of the Main Street and start in our mad dash to find the infamous store. We’re running, running, running, (running), and we arrive out of breath as we see the overhead sign. We practically leap forward, and guess what? It’s closed. It closed at seven.

You’re frickin’ kidding me, right?! RIGHT?!

Wrong.

Closed.

That plastic bag still half full of spitty air? Punctured. Slashed. Empty. Hollow. Deflated. Depressing. Gone. Lost for eternity.

In an attempt to rebound into something positive, we brought my memory stick over to a photography store to get the pictures on it developed. All’s great, all’s well, until they let us know that because they’re closing soon, we’ll need to come back tomorrow to pick up the pictures. Yippee.

So we got frozen yogurt.

But do you know what this means? This means, that when we go back tomorrow my hair will be oily, I will no longer be wearing my perfect picture shirt, I’ll have dark circles under my eyes (because I can’t sleep when I’m upset) and I will have no spitty bag of anticipation. I will look tired and depressed in my picture. And the lighting in that store is awful. I will end up looking grotesque.

But here’s to being optimistic, eh?

As we were sitting outside the frozen yogurt shop, while I drowned my sorrows in banana-date flavored yogurt, I explained to my mom why the situation sucks so much. I was just getting to the part about how I look pretty today, and I won’t tomorrow, when someone walked right by our table. So a random woman got a mouthful about how “I looked pretty today!!!” My mom started laughing when the woman looked back at us, and tried to console me with the fact that at least it wasn’t a boy from my class. You know why it wasn’t one of them? Because they’re all abroad! I’ve got friends right now in Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Switzerland, Thailand, New York… Everywhere but right here, suffering with me. Although I think J will be back from Barcelona soon. Maybe I can depress her too. Here’s to hoping.

You know what? I wasn’t planning on doing this tomorrow. This is messing up my schedule! I’m lying, I have no plans. It’s just annoying. It’s doubly sad: I need to go there again, and I don’t have any plans.

I’m just gonna go to bed now. I think it’s safe.

It’s me,

Ella

Song Quote:

The worst things in life come free to us. –The A Team, Ed Sheeran

P.s. You know what? I’m gonna wear this shirt again. Take that.

Cousins’ Babies

Newborn-baby-001

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.

Let It All Rain Down

Ice cream, red, melting

It looks good doesn’t it? Well you’re about to be told you can’t eat it. Then it’s going to drip, and rain down on your brand new boots, and you’re going to slip in the puddle of your own misery. I’m in a good mood.

I want to quit. I’m sick of feeling this way, like I’m doomed, because of the pile of homework that is staring at me. I want to quit advanced math and advanced biology. They’re making me miserable. I’m just barely managing to go to school every day, and they’re making it impossible for me to ever feel okay.

I don’t think I can do school. I just don’t think I can do it. I know there are harder things in life, but I don’t see how it’s possible for me to survive this. Actually, let me rephrase that: I don’t see how I can survive this while not losing my mind and my health.

Guys, I’m so tired. It’s insane. My entire body feels like it needs to stop and wheeze every time I try to move because I just have no energy. Every day I wake up and something else is hurting me, and I just have to deal with it. I don’t have a choice. I don’t get to say, “well, it’s my fault, because I should be going to bed earlier”, then change my ways and see results. I get eight or nine hours of sleep every night, and it makes no difference. My pain and fatigue are the same.

The homework, the pressure, the stress: it’s all becoming a little much for me. I have a stiff neck right now on top of it all, and I literally can’t look down, so homework has become this hill I can’t climb over. Every teacher thinks they are teaching the only subject that matters, so they happily grant us the gift of hours of work, without thinking about the fact that maybe we have other stuff to do.

I don’t want to complain about it anymore. I don’t think it would help. I just want to officially put it out there: I am sick of this. My brain is tired, my body is tired, my neck is tense and my patience is gone.

 

_______________________________

 

My school is going on a trip next week. I don’t know how I’ll manage. It’s a three day trip, so for now the plan is for me to leave with the school in the morning (5:45 am), and in the afternoon let my mom know how I’m doing: if I’m fine, she’ll come the following afternoon to pick me up, and if I’m not, she’ll come that evening. The thing is though, that I can’t do any of the hikes, so I’m just going on the bus with them (the student body), dropping them off at the trail, and then going with a bunch of teachers and the secretary to do the food shopping. Then we go pick them up, and when we get back to camp, I’m on kitchen duty (every year, 11th grade is in charge of food). So I’m basically there to be the mom.

Last year I missed the trip entirely, which pretty much sucked. I don’t want that this year, so here I am. I just hope it’s worth it. I have a feeling that ten minutes into the bus ride I’m going to feel sick to my stomach, and half an hour later my head will explode. Then I’ll go do the shopping, and I’ll hurt my neck and knees. When I get on the bus and pick everyone else up, I’ll get a horrible migraine. When I’m working in the kitchen, I’ll hurt my hands. Not to mention I’ll be having cramps all day.

But I’m not pessimistic at all.

Dammit, I just want to have a good time and feel like a normal human being! Is that too much to ask for?!

Virtual hugs are welcome,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Let it all rain down from the blood-stained clouds, come out, come out, to the sea my love, and just drown with me. –Shallows, Daughter

P.s. Yes, I know the song quote is dramatic and depressing. It matches my mood. It is what it is.

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

IMG_3927

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!