Displaced.

 

It’s okay to be afraid to leave the first place I’ve ever truly been happy.

 

The microwave outside the door that we kept the spare key in.

The nighttime and the relief it brought with it.

The criss-cross paths around my office and the new staircases I discovered every day.

The watermelon and coal store.

The roof where I worked out under sunset skies.

The delicate brush on the light rail door.

The blue-pink-white-green-gray horizon from my bedroom window.

The gap at the bottom of the shower door that let all the water out.

The approximately 12 people it felt like I lived with.

The glass and marble table.

The pedestrian rage when tourists walked too slowly.

The park on Saturday afternoons and the market on Friday mornings.

The breeze that always played with the hemline of my dress..

The shop owners who knew my order.

The top step.

The beep that meant the laundry cycle was done.

The road I parked my car on – half an hour away from my apartment.

The trucks and cars and busses and ambulances and motorcycles – the noise I filtered out.

All the other noise I tried to filter out.

The spur-of-the-moment excursions that didn’t always make much sense.

The sunlight or the moonlight.

The view.

From the porch.

The porch, the porch, the porch.

With the swing.

The swing, the swing, the swing.

 

I’m really going to miss it.

 

I’ve left.

I’ve left the first place I’ve ever truly been happy

And now

I feel a little bit displaced.

 

~

Ella

 

“There is a place where I can go, when I feel low, when I feel blue, and it’s my mind, and there’s no time when I’m alone.” -The Beatles

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Beach Happiness

Last year, on a particularly hard day, I spoke on the phone with my friend, Beatrice, about why we were both so depressed. We had many reasons, and this led us to a discussion about the different types of sadness. The list covers a lot of ground, including: hypothetical sadness, death sadness, projecting sadness, jealousy sadness, bittersweet sadness, extreme weather sadness… we ended up listing about 75 types.

 

After half an hour of compiling this list, I forced her to help me come up with the different types of happiness. Surprisingly, we found this extremely difficult. When we challenged ourselves to think of the bad it poured out of us as though we’d been mentally preparing our whole lives for the moment we’d need to recount it. But the good? It was slow to come to mind. Over the course of a few days, with the help of a couple more friends, we eventually had a list consisting of around 50 types of happiness.

 

One of these types is beach happiness. Neither Beatrice nor I thought of it initially, but it rings true for all of my peers and I. When I’m on the beach I just feel… peaceful, I suppose. The sound of the waves replaces the sound of worry in my mind.

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I stand on the beach looking out at the sea and marvel at how tiny I am compared to it all. If my life is so small compared to the world, then the problems in my life amount to nearly nothing. I’m never one to belittle my own suffering or the hefty challenges I face every day, but during certain rare moments I truly believe they aren’t all that important. The beach supplies the majority of these moments.

 

Yesterday was an odd summer day in the middle of February so I flocked to the beach with my friend and her boyfriend. The water was freezing but I almost prefer feeling numb to feeling my normal pain. The smell of the water and the sunscreen smeared on my (pathetically) sensitive skin remind me of summers past, in just the way that bug spray reminds me of hiking trails around my childhood hometown.

 

My mom reminded me that one year I had a birthday party at the beach and that I hated it. I remember the reasons for this being that sand got on my birthday cake and watermelon, that we never had time for the dance party or limbo (I’ve always been quite the planner), and that a boy from my class (who was not invited) saw me in my bathing suit (mortification. I hate you, Speedo.)

 

My mother remembered the reason being that I got salt water in my eye and that at that exact moment the love affair between the sea and I became a tale of regret and disappointment.

 

Safe to say the discord has dissipated, and I have kept a special place in my heart for the beach throughout it all. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I’m forced to miss out on fun – a seemingly harmless substance the majority of young adults seek and occasionally experience. I’m more of an 80-year-old stuck in an 18-year-old’s body type, and I have to “take care of my health”. Which means I often need to miss out on all sorts of experiences because fun has a clear consequence for me – pain. Pain leads to sadness, but mainly, pain leads to more pain. More pain leads to trouble sleeping, which leads to extra fatigue, which leads to extra pain, which leads to even more trouble sleeping… it’s only one of the viscous cycles that people with chronic illnesses need to live with.

 

But just because I have less fun doesn’t mean I have to be less happy. This year I’ve been privy to a few types of happiness that weren’t on my list before: proving myself happiness, spreading joy happiness, professional growth happiness and above all – somehow, it will all be okay happiness.

 

At the very least, that’s how I feel after I go to the beach.

 

Love,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

Take me back to the basics and the simple life, tell me all of the things that make you feel at ease. –Ease, Troye Sivan

 

Have a suggestion to add to my lists? Share in the comments below please!