Rising.

 

I am rising.

 

Rising, as opposed to drowning

But not rising, as in forgetting.

 

The yearning

For him, the love, the passion

Persist inside me.

Nothing is gone.

(Except for him.)

 

It hurts less and less,

But I still think about him every day.

 

He’s with me every step of the way,

As I step towards a future

Without him.

I carry the past with me,

Wrapped and entangled

And entrenched

Always

In memories that wrench my heart

And blur my mind.

(More than anything),

I am stronger for it.

 

I am rising.

 

~

Ella

 

“I’ll rise up and I’ll do it a thousand times again.” -Andra Day

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And all the sad words.

 

And all the sad words have been written and recorded.

In a loaded diary, in untitled documents, on discarded pieces of paper,

And in tears that have since dried.

 

And all the sad words break my heart right back into a million pieces,

Into sharp edged shards of glass that glisten and glimmer, mocking me.

And yet slowly the glass crumbles into sand.

 

And all the sad words sound like they were written by someone else,

Someone who seems to know exactly how I felt,

But who isn’t me. Because my attempts to distance myself from those shards of glass…

 

Are starting to work.

 

I can breathe.

 

Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I glimpse the shadow of that girl. The one who couldn’t think, who couldn’t hear her own voice, who felt so torn apart inside it’s a wonder she remained intact.

 

That girl looked haggard.

She was in love,

But she was hurting.

 

I catch other glimpses though, in that stained and cracked bathroom mirror. I see the reflection of an elegant woman. She is brave and wise, confident and pure of heart. She is golden, effervescent, enchanted…

 

She knows how to love, and she will love again. And maybe next time it will be right.

 

~

Ella

 

“Birds flying high, you know how I feel / Sun in the sky, you know how I feel / Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel / It’s a new dawn / It’s a new day / It’s a new life / For me.” – Nina Simone

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.)

Day 1.

 

December 3rd, 2016 – December 21st, 2018

 

His key on my desk. It’s over. Pile of tissues on the bed. On his side of the bed. An empty shelf in the closet. Missing utensils in the kitchen. No toothbrush. No future together.

I wanted one more night. I needed it. To live it while knowing it was the the last one, to hold him tight, to memorize the way it feels with him. To look into his beautiful eyes while I still could, and tell him how much I love him. I asked him for the night.

We both knew. We’ve known for a while. It was in the air, and we left it unspoken, so we could just have a little bit more time. It was heartbreakingly, gut-wrenchingly, sad.

There was nothing left to say. He won’t be my one and only forever. He won’t be mine anymore. Two years is the time we were destined to have.

But we tried so hard to save it. I tried so hard. It has taken me months to come to terms with the fact that there is nothing left I can try, nothing else I can do, except accept the situation. There’s no use fighting the truth anymore. You can only fight for so long.

We knew it had to end, and we knew that it would. That knowledge was tearing me apart. For months I’ve been stuck in a loop, trying to bring myself to end it but not wanting to. My heart has broken every day, over and over again, but it I never gave it a chance to heal. I’ve been preparing for Day 1 for so long, and fearing it for so long, but I never made it to Day 2.

Now it’s over. It’s Day 1. And tomorrow will be Day 2.

~

We put his things in the car and he pulled me a few steps aside. We hugged, and he twirled me around. We looked at each other lovingly, tears falling on my cheeks, glistening in the sunlight. We kissed. He called me his. I called him mine. He told me I’m beautiful. We walked the few steps back, holding hands. “My first love,” I smiled up at him, holding him with two hands. “And hopefully not your last,” he said. And smiled back.

~

Ella

~

Like it was written for our last night together…  “All I Ask” by Adele:

 

I will leave my heart at the door

I won’t say a word

They’ve all been said before, you know

So why don’t we just play pretend

Like we’re not scared of what is coming next

Or scared of having nothing left

 

Look, don’t get me wrong

I know there is no tomorrow

All I ask is

 

If this is my last night with you

Hold me like I’m more than just a friend

Give me a memory I can use

Take me by the hand while we do what lovers do

It matters how this ends

‘Cause what if I never love again?

 

I don’t need your honesty

It’s already in your eyes

And I’m sure my eyes, they speak for me

No one knows me like you do

And since you’re the only one that mattered

Tell me who do I run to?

….

Let this be our lesson in love

Let this be the way we remember us …. 

 

A quiet storm. -21

20 was quiet. I’ve known happier years, and I’ve known sadder years. Last birthday I was bursting with words, none of which were enough to describe the life I’d been living. But this birthday, the words are harder to find.

For a multitude of reasons, this year I found it very hard to make it through the day. Whether it was pain, exhaustion, anxiety, frustration, disheartenment or confusion – it just took a lot of conscious effort to keep myself going. It’s been a struggle. A quiet struggle.

This year I left the first place I ever felt truly happy with my life, and moved to a new city again. It still doesn’t really feel like home, but it’s comfortable here. I bought a mattress and a rocking chair, and filled my room with lights. I’ve had 3 different gym memberships (it’s a long story). I take walks, even though there isn’t really anywhere to walk to. At first, when I moved here, I was so lost in memories of the past. I would walk the streets of my old home in my mind, and I missed it so much that it hurt. But I have a good, humdrum, routine life here. A quiet life.

In October, I started university. It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I didn’t fit in. It took me a while to find my people and find my place. I loved my first semester – everything was interesting, exciting and challenging. Now I’m in my second semester, and it totally sucks. I’m genuinely counting the days until it ends (coincidentally, 21 days).

Despite that, university has still been a good place for me. I’ve been doing well. The university itself has offered me 4 different jobs in the time I’ve been there (I took three of them), and so many opportunities have found their way to me. I joined my university’s radio station, and now I produce and host two shows on the radio every week. I spend so many hours at the station that it feels like home. I’ve created really cool things as part of my workshops, and I’ve gotten high grades and high praise on everything. I’ve succeeded. I guess, when I think about, I actually took university by storm. Somehow it was just a quiet storm.

This year I didn’t settle for anything less than what I deserve. I challenged myself to be in control and to face everything – even things that scared me. I did everything I could think of to take care of my health, and went through such upsetting processes along the way. It was a really difficult health year, but I never gave up on myself. I’ve been dealing with my pain for 7 years, and I’ve fought for my right to find salvation. It might be right around the corner now. I’ve done what I can to give myself my best shot at life. And I’ve done so quietly.

I guess the loudest thing that happened this year was the breakup. It was the epitome of not settling for less than what I deserve. Even though most aspects of my relationship were so beautiful, it still caused me so much heartache this year. Ending the relationship was terrifying, and I was so proud of myself for doing it. As he told me that night, he was also kind of proud of me. Tom and I were broken up for 9 days, 9 days that changed so much.

Breaking up with him was the second best decision I made this year. The best decision was to get back together with him. It’s crazy to think the story could have ended there, and not evolved to become what it is now. It took brutal honesty, brave decisions and a lot of trust, but we worked through it all. I’m so grateful he loved me enough to try, and I still get to have him be mine.

I don’t know why I feel that so many things this year happened quietly. But whether my days have been quiet or loud, I know that I’ve been living a good life. It’s a thought I have when I remember that my childhood bike had streamers running from the handles, when I walk onto campus and look at all the beautiful trees, and when my mom sends me pictures of flower arrangements in the vase I gave her. Please remind me forever to be thankful for the life I have had.

This is the 6th birthday in a row that I’ve sat down to write, and it’s weird for me that it doesn’t feel so significant this time. Even though university was an entirely new experience, I suppose I just feel I haven’t created a new world this year. And that’s okay. I’ve been living in the world I created last year, and I’ve appreciated it for what it’s worth.

I can’t describe this year as dazzling, but I can say that I’ve felt proud of my achievements. Nothing was particularly exhilarating, but I’ve been lucky enough to have my loved ones close by. And even though nothing really changed this year, the good things have stayed good, and for that I’m grateful.  

I wonder what 21 will bring.

~~~

Ella

“I know you’re feelin’ weighed down tonight, and you can’t find the breaks. Every day is too long for you, you are sworn to your fate. But we got everything we need, baby, in the memories we make, in a world of reinventions it’s never too late.” – Sam Smith

 

Kiss me congratulations.

Kiss me congratulations

Because it’s always one foot in front of the other

And I’ve

Lost track

Of the days.

It’s the beauty of unbearable pain.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because I got a new job

And I have a new apartment

And

      I.      Am.

Trying.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because I can see and I can tell you

That the sky is as blue as the breeze

And the birds fly as high as the melodies.

I can see and I can tell you

That sometimes sight and speech

Can take a slight toll

On me.

It isn’t that everything is falling apart around me

It’s that I’m falling apart inside.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because being strong has left me weak.

I promised that in my old age I would fill

The room around me

With all that is said and done.

Memories of a life lived and the people I lived it with.

Feelings I felt once before, not again,

And thoughts I only had back then.

 

Kiss me congratulations

Because maybe I don’t need to

Be in my old age to need to

Fill the room around me.

Maybe right now, more than anything,

I need a room full of phantom bodies dancing in the woods

To make me want to dance again.

 

So kiss me congratulations

And do it like you mean it.

 

~

Ella

 

“And we won’t place any stock in old days, let’s save up for something new.” -Rusty Clanton

 

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