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!

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Believing in Bloom

Sometimes I just feel it’s only me.

According to my brain and heart, there is Truth, Magic and Bloom.

Truth is personal. It belongs to each of us and to none of us. Whatever my Truth is, it’s legitimate, and whatever yours is, it is too. I try to see and understand each person’s Truth in the way that they do. You can’t deny the validity of somebody else’s world.

Magic is something I can’t seem to pin down… Magic is fleeting moments of pure joy, along with moments of awe and appreciation for everything that this incredible world holds. Magic is seeing the bigger picture and knowing it’s the little things. Magic is… hope. It is not something I control, but it’s something I’m learning to preserve in order to survive. To survive in the hopes I will reach:

Bloom.

Bloom is something I will only truly be able to achieve once I am better. Once I am healthy. Once I am free: released from this prison that coils bars around my bones and marches jail keepers around my core. You know my pain and you know my frustration – I feel no closer to health than I have any of the multiple times I’ve cried to you in writing about how hopeless I am.

Therefore, Bloom feels like an abstract concept that I run the risk of never really understanding. I’m not sure I believe in Bloom. Will it all just pass me by? It’s scary to think about it, because what if I find nothing but disappointment? What if I never get to Bloom?

~~~

Still I wonder. So I take a step back and evaluate my life. What I’ve done thus far with the circumstances I have been given makes me proud. I can declare, with my whole heart, that I am doing well. As always, “still so many ups and downs”, but I don’t take for granted all that I have been managing. When I compare now to this time last year… I know so much more than I did then. I just don’t know enough about Bloom. I’d like to believe it will happen naturally. Must sustain myself until then.

~~~

According to my brain and heart:

Bloom is what my Truth will be once Magic decides to come and stay.

~~~

Ella.

Song Quote:

I wish I could live a little more, look up to the sky not just the floor, I feel like my life is passing by and all I can do is watch and cry… I miss it when life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago. -Million Years Ago, Adele

(I think everyone must relate to this song so differently… the first time I heard it I cried because I felt it perfectly summed up how I feel about being sick. Now when I cry I think to myself “My life is passing by and all I can is watch and cry”.)

~~~

P.s. This post is loaded with references to earlier pieces I’ve written and posted on this blog since I created it nearly three years ago. Did you catch them?

Goody Goody

Change is change and takes adjustment, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. Things are picking up, settling in, taking off. It just feels like everything has fallen into place. True to myself I know how to recognize when things are good, and right now, things are good. And I love the weather.

The pain is still here but I’m taking care of myself. The sadness is still here, but there’s satisfaction to combat it. The loneliness is still here, but it has less of a sting to it.

I feel happy again. I feel like I have more good moments than bad moments. I’m crying less. I’m doing more. I’m watching a lot of Gilmore Girls. I’m busy again. I’m seeing my friends more. Or rather, enjoying the time I spend with my friends more than before. I feel like I have what to say, I have what to share, and I have what to be proud of again. I’m interesting and complex and funny and lively. Again.

I wish I could sleep. I mean, it would be helpful, you know? But you can’t have everything. I like that even when it takes me hours to fall asleep, I don’t talk myself into a frenzy. I write stories in my mind like I used to when I was little.

I feel curiosity for the first time in a long time. Being out of school has reminded me that I love learning and I love knowledge, and it’s a joy that is precious. I like surveying the months since graduation in my mind and realizing I’m now out of the dip. I like my clothing and I like how I look. I like that I’m good at staying in touch with people. I like that I persevere. I like that my diary hasn’t been as depressing these past couple weeks.

I like that I’m starting a course soon where I’ll meet new people and make new friends. Winter romance? A possibility.

On that note,

Ella

Song Quote:

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces. -Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles

At this point I refer you back to “An Ode to the Changing of the Clocks”, because it is once again how I feel and I’ve been pining to feel this way for months.

Just Stop

Stop.

Stop the onslaught of time and how it rushes through your fingers like the sand you scoop by the sea.

Stop the pressure of the future that you can’t figure out and how it weighs on your mind all the time.

Stop doubting that you can and will do incredible things with your life and your talents and your passion for everything you love.

Stop feeling so small. Stop crying in the middle of the night, gasping for breath on your blue carpet because your life is not what you imagined it would be. Stop letting the fear get the better of you.

Just stop.

 

~~~

Life is the ups and the downs as much as it is the benign. I would never choose not to feel all of this, because all of this is what it’s all about. As always, I thank you for the kind comments you leave. You don’t even know me, and yet you know my lowest moments. Life is a journey and I’ve found myself with you along for the ride, and that is truly a gift.

Love,

Ella

 

Song Quote:

We’ve got younger faces than our hearts are letting on. -Novels, Rusty Clanton (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc5X66kFIMg)

The Endless Ands

And what about those nights when I don’t want to get up the next morning? When giving up is the easier option, because really, who would love me like this anyway?

And as I write these words I wait for the fight to kick in, for the anger to strike me and tell me not to believe that. But I wait like I wait for health: hopelessly.

And what if I’m tired of waiting?

And as I contemplate the bed I am getting into, I wonder about the bed I will wake up to. Will it have been slept in? Will I have spent another open-eyed night wishing the sun would rise more quickly and yet not rise at all?

And I have two arms. One I wrap around my body, tightly, because there is no one next to me to do it. One I keep free to wipe tears. The pain is too much.

And the fear is crippling. When health is but a fantasy, the future is but a question mark.

And I want to be hopeful. Sometimes it feels like I am winning, because I have a voice in my mind that tells me that right now is not really all that bad. Manageable. Definitely not the worst I’ve had. Perspective. You know the sort.

But there’s always a tonight, and I don’t want to get up in the morning.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

I got locked inside a sadness, I got lost inside my head, couldn’t find a light to make me glow. -Holes, Layla

Describe the Pain

You ask me how it feels.

How it feels?

Describe the pain.

The pain?

That I can’t.

~~~

It is a thin, gray substance that coats my entire body. It is elastic – it clings to every fold, crevice, dip and bulge. It is a glove, not a mitten, covering each of my fingers individually. It is a film around my eyeballs. It’s a thick platform beneath the soles of my feet. It is weaved within the hair that I chopped off. It is my outer layer of skin.

It is like a rubber band. If I focus, really hard, I can push it out – away from me – enough to let air in. If I push it really far, it lets hope in. But you must understand what being rubber means: it will always snap back. The minute you forget to focus on the light and hope, it smacks back, vacuuming itself to your body.

You can see through it, in the way that others don’t see it at all. You can see what you’re missing, but there isn’t a thing you can do about it. It is like walking with a heavy cloud above your head every day, except the cloud is not above you but within you.

It is as strong as I am. The harder I fight to be rid of it, the harder it fights to stay with me. Because it is me. It’s my brain, it’s my wiring, and it’s my nerves. It has my nerve.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

We’re tethered to the story we must tell. -Turning Page, Sleeping At Last

A Conversation

Wake up, Ella. You’re letting life pass you by. Remember when you said you wouldn’t do that? You wouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture?

Gone is the confidence. Gone is the positivity. Gone is the girl that believes she can weather anything with a good attitude. 

Remember when you wrote about the little things? You should really figure out how to find those again. 

Instead is a common foe: pain. 

I know it’s hard, sweetie. But you used to see magic everywhere… I bet you there’s still magic.

Pain is led on a high horse to a royal throne, where he presides with a mighty hand and a nasty manner. 

Can you remember the last time you were truly happy?

His land is Headache Kingdom, and his name: Sir Hurts-A-Lot.

You know what, don’t think about past happiness. Think about the future. How are you going to find a way to be happy?

Live obediently under his rule or risk his wrath.

~~~

Ella

Song Quote:

For diamonds do appear to be just like broken glass to me. -Northern Downpour, Panic At The Disco