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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A Cry Guide: For Your Pleasure

So you need a cry party?

A true crier needs no audience. Ladies, remember, cry for yourself and nobody else. If you don’t cry for yourself, who will?

Find the perfect time when you can be alone. Purposely leave your tissues far away to add the lovely element of dragging your limp, heaving body to them.

Pretty tissues are advised

Pretty tissues are advised

As you feel the tears start, encourage them to keep coming. The more the merrier. When the moment feels right, begin keening sounds. With every breath hike the volume until reaching desired level. The aim is to achieve a point where you’re screaming out your pain and the tears are nothing but a sidekick.

All done? If you left tears behind, tidy them up with a tissue. Discretion is advised. No one can take away the special moments if they don’t know about them.

Did that cry make you feel better? I know I feel better.

Until we cry again,

Ella

Song Quote:

It’s all right to cry, even my dad does sometimes. So don’t wipe your eyes, tears remind you you’re alive. –Even My Dad Does Sometimes, Ed Sheeran

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: