Ellie Vs. 2015

Hello there lovely readers,

My entire state has been under a state of emergency due to a rainstorm’s massive three day tantrum. The rainstorm has not only made Saint Louis gloomy but has made my insides more gloomy than usual as well. Despite all the gloom (the emotion, not the Pokemon, mind you) I am trying to stay positive, so here’s a (fairly) positive post. It starts with a question, a quote, and a quail. Okay. No quails. I just think alliteration is fun. Here we go.

Have you ever suffered a cringe attack? I experience approximately three thousand a day, especially since I am frequently at home alone which leaves my brain and I to battle each other all day. If you don’t know what a cringe attack is, Dan Howell, the YouTuber known as Danisnotonfire, explains it well:

This a phenomenon I like to refer to as a cringe attack. This is when on a typical day you’re sat innocently enjoying life when out of nowhere BAM! A wild repressed memory appears! Suddenly out of nowhere your brain decides to relive a horrible memory from the past.

I’ll post the entire video below, but for now, this excerpt pretty much sums up the situation.

Throughout every year, I get cringe attacks, and I am suddenly gobbled up by things I had done the year before that were shamefully cringe worthy. This horrible experience is promptly followed by the thought, “why the hell was I like that? God, I was so stupid back then!” and for the rest of the day I recount every idiotic moment I’ve ever created and try not to hate myself.

BUT THEN! 

I was bitch slapped with an epiphany this year that actually made me thankful for these attacks, and made me realize that cringe attacks are kind of fantastic.  While these cringe attacks are definitely disturbing, the fact that I can look back and realize that I did something stupid is actually a good thing, because it means that I am growing, changing, and that I am not the same person I was a few years ago when I did whatever it is that is haunting my brain.

To be able to look back and say, “wow, I was ridiculous back then and I am so different now,” means that while I will always make mistakes no matter how old I am, I am also improving as my life goes on. So, in retrospect, I’m actually doing this whole life things sort of correctly. The people who never change or who can never look back and see the difference between the past and present versions of themselves are the ones that we all should really be concerned about. Living life and thriving in life are two very different ways to go about being a human. I have no interest in just “getting by” in life; I want to learn, grow, blossom, and look back on every year with plenty of cringe attacks that not only show the mistakes I have made, but how I have grown past them.

It is also important to acknowledge that I never have believed in New Years Resolutions. While I understand the premise behind a New Year bringing new goals, I don’t believe a person should wait till a new year or even a new day to make an important and positive change in their lives. Too many people use the New Year as an excuse to put change off until the new year comes. I strongly believe that every day is a new day, and if we humans were as smart as we think we are , we would take full advantage of each day, and execute resolutions on many days throughout the year, not just in the last week of December.

With that extensive introduction, I present to you not my New Years Resolutions, but rather a list of lessons I have been taught this year. While many of them have been learned painfully, they are extremely valuable, have changed me for the better, and will hopefully carry me into 2016 with a little more strength than I had before the year started.

Ellie’s Non-Resolutions of 2015 (as in things that I don’t have to decide to do because they have already happened to me whether I wanted them to or not) 

Unexpected Friends

Through my hardships this year I was surprised by several people who were barely acquaintances suddenly coming through for me when I needed help the most. Now these people are my group of very best friends, and are priceless to me. I am slowly learning to not only give love, but to receive it more openly than ever before.

Be kind to everyone you meet, whether you talk to them every day or only once every few months. You never know who may have the kindness and ability to help you when you are struggling. And likewise, lend a hand to a person you may not be “best friends” with, because that too can lead to an incredible relationship you would regret passing up. A little love can go a fantastically long way.

You Are More Than You Think You Are

My good friend Matt has told me for years that I am stronger than I think I am. He always told me this when I was at my lowest, so naturally, I dismissed it as bullshit.

I apologize to Matt, because as it turns out, he was right. I didn’t think I had the strength to get through my hysterectomy, and I did. I didn’t think I had the bravery to give up my hometown and move to a foreign state, yet here I am, a pathetically, perpetually cold Californian in the beginnings of a Saint Louis winter. I didn’t think I had the willpower to deal with yet another diagnosis that I got in October, or that I was innovative enough to start my own small business after learning I could not work a normal job. Yet somehow, someway, I have done or am doing each and every one of these things, because as it turns out, I am not only stronger than I think, but I am all around more everything than I ever thought I was. In reality, we all are, if we allow ourselves to dictate what we are instead of the parts of life that cause us distress.

It’s Easier Than You Think To Become a Narcissist

I have been in physical and mental pain literally since the day I was born, and it has only gotten worse as I have gotten older. It takes more energy than most “average” people could even begin to imagine to just get out of bed every day and live this somewhat broken life that I am forced t0 live.

I tend to pride myself on being an empathic person, and I certainly am. Even still, because of my own life taking so much strength to just do simple things, I found that after I had moved, while dealing with a complete change of environment with no time to grieve or heal from my hysterectomy, I became a narcissist. And I probably still am one, to a hopefully lesser extent. I felt (and sometimes too) that no one could possibly understand my pain, and that no one had pain as severe as mine. It’s true that many lives are far easier than my own; but there are also many lives which are just as hard if not hard than mine as well.

My own pain began to completely absorb me and I lost sight of everything else, including the fact that many other people I love were also struggling, and just like I needed love and support, they needed mine, too. I am glad that I came to this realization, because although it is painful to admit to yourself that you’re in the wrong, it’s the only way you will continue to grow. Now that I realize that it’s very easy to fall into narcissism, I consciously make the decision every single day to not only acknowledge my own pain, but to acknowledge other’s around me as well. No matter how sick I get, no matter how terrible I feel, I want to still be as great as a friend, girlfriend, and sister as I can possibly be. To do that takes  work, more work than I thought it would; but the people I love are deserving of all that effort. Even if my boyfriend having a bad day at work is not nearly as severe as an issue as my health problems, he still deserves to be comforted by me, and to receive my love and understanding. Everyone deserves love and understanding when they are struggling.

Life is YOUR Decision

This heading sounds like the title of a bad self help book, but it is a fitting title for this last section. I promise I won’t try to sell you a kit at the end of this post.

A few months ago, I got diagnosed with a little bastard on my spinal cord called a syrinx. In short, it’s a cyst that was caused by a tear in my spinal cord, and when it gets aggravated, it pisses off all the nerves in the upper half of my body and causes excruciating pain that will almost definitely cause me to pass out.

Once I got that diagnosis added to my already long list of things wrong with me, along with the harsh realization that I will never be normal and most certainly will never work a normal job (which means for the time being will have no way to make any money), I began to lose my mind.

I went to my counselor and told him I was very close to falling off a very fragile ledge, because my entire life was officially out of control. Instead of coddling me or allowing me to fall into a self pity pit, he told me, “you have a choice. You can spend the rest of your life being miserable about the fact that you are not like everyone else, or, you can choose to create a ‘new normal’ for yourself, and thrive in the life you have been given. Those are your only two options.”

At first, I was irritated at this, and my inner child was throwing a fantastic fit. “Feel sorry for me, dammit!” the inner child screamed as she slammed her fists on the ground. Thankfully, I told her to calm the fuck down, because I am in fact not a four year old, but a 25 year old, and my counselor was right. I have to make that choice. I will never be mentally or physically considered “normal.” So, I must choose every morning that I will not pine for a life that I will never have, but instead will fight however hard I have to in order to create an amazing life that I love, disabilities, pain and all.

This last lesson is by far the most valuable thing I have learned this year. There are many factors I cannot control in life. I cannot fully control my health or how I feel each day. But there are also many choices I can make, like what I do within my limits given to me, and how I react to them.

So, with all these lessons, I am hoping that both I and the universe will choose to make 2016 better than this year for everyone I know. 2015 has been a bit of a bitch, but hey, look at us; we made it. We actually made it.

Happy New Year, dear friends.

Shouldn’t try to fix it if it keeps getting better,
Just let it go, forget it for ever and ever and ever.
Don’t ever resent a letter inside a single word written,
A little change can pave lanes with the right vision.
Couldn’t tell what would happen next,
But as weeks went by good would turn to best.
Let it struggle just a little more,
Let it struggle just a little bit more.

Remember what the people said, remember what the people said,
When it’s said and done, let it go.

~The Neighbourhood – Let It Go