Eleanore Vs. Wandering Thoughts in Wichita

Dearest readers,

I have gone on an unintended two week hiatus from my blog. I have found that in general my life is always better when I’m writing regularly, and since I have not been able to do so I have felt a piece of myself missing. The reason for my absence was largely due to the fact that right as I was starting to find my groove in life, working towards each of my most paramount goals, I was suddenly floored by several bouts of sickness that made doing much of anything exceedingly difficult.

First it was strep throat followed by severe GERD. After wrestling with different medications and adjusting my eating habits even more so, I was able to get my GERD mostly under control. I thought that I was going to be able to resume my hard work until I came down with an Upper Respiratory Infection, and for all my stubbornness I finally had to stop absolutely everything and rest. I became so weak I could hardly walk and struggled to breathe with the weight in my chest from the infection, and ultimately had to call upon a dear friend as well as my boyfriend to assist me in the Emergency Room. Despite it all, I am happy to say that I am now in Wichita, Kansas for the week, able to breathe and enjoying a much needed rest from the insanity that has been my life.

Through all this temporary sickness piling atop my chronic illnesses that I battle each day, I started to think, “I am so tired of dealing with illness and being sick. I don’t want to think about it anymore or have anything to do with it.” This thought was awfully distressing considering I have devoted myself to this blog which is mostly about living with chronic illness at a young age. This brought me to an inner conflict that started to break me.

A few weeks ago I had one of my many existential crises and I flew into a mental frenzy. I wondered if it was healthy for me to focus so much on my chronic illnesses and write about it as I had desired to for so long, and if this was really what I was meant to do. My goal had always been to write in order to help both myself and others like me, but I wondered if that was what I was really accomplishing. If writing was not what I was meant to do, have I wasted the past two years on something that would amount to absolutely nothing? I felt like I had no direction, the future I had seen myself so clearly in now turning into a jumbled, blurry mess.

I ended up calling my friend Brian to talk to him about it, explaining what triggered my crisis and where it had lead me. I told him that I wanted so badly to make something beautiful out of all the suffering I have endured throughout my life, but I also needed to survive, and maybe finding a “normal” job was the best option since I nowhere near surviving right now. I explained how exhausted of suffering and how the peaceful, more composed life I dream of always seem to fall short of my hands. After my explanation, he repeated to me one of his catch phrases that he has told to me a thousand times before. “I think you are doing the right thing,” he said firmly, “but the right thing to do is sometimes the hardest.”

Here I sit in a new friend’s lovely home in Kansas. His home is lovely and comfortable and filled with things he and his fiancee love, included their sweet dog Thunder. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit a new place, but every time I meet someone my age who seems to have their life together, I can’t help but think, “this is all I’ve ever wanted, won’t it happen for me too?”

Some people in life are extremely lucky. They grow up healthy in loving families,  go to college, find stable jobs, and the rest of life continues on. Others are less fortunate and consistently fight through life. I haven’t the slightest idea what makes the difference, or how one life can end up so unlike another. In my writing I reaffirm that those of us who suffer from abuse, chronic illness, or a lack of stability in the most important parts of  life a battle are never less deserving of happy. We can still have fantastic lives, however it does take more time, energy, and resilience to get to that same point others seem to come to so easily. For all my desire and jealousy, I easily forget that I too am on my way. I may not have very much money or even a home, but nevertheless, I am on my way.

There is a painfully cliche proverb used in times such of these, and if you know me at all, you know that I have no tolerance for finding them in most writing, especially my own. Yet every now and then, I come to a point in my life where I think, “damn. Confucius was onto something,” and I have no choice but to use one of them. So here it goes:

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

I hope to get back into the regular swing of my life once I return from vacation, and most of that includes working towards the future I yearn for. For now, I hope to enjoy my short visit here with my boyfriend, good friends, and the lovely warm weather.

This is gospel for the fallen ones,
Locked away in permanent slumber.
Assembling their philosophies,
From pieces of broken memories.

Their gnashing teeth and criminal tongues conspire against the odds;
But they haven’t seen the best of us yet.

~This is Gospel – Panic! At the Disco (Piano version because I love it) 

 

Eleanore Vs. Love, Gratitude, and an Addition to Her Life!

 

Dearest things that are called humans,

Jeez, that title is way too long, but it is accurate. Once again it is a beautiful blueberry day here in St. Louis and I am just loving it. Clearly it is a perfect day to sit with my wonderful friend Amanda in a coffee shop and write indoors. You know, where the sunshine isn’t. Allow me to flashback to last week in order to set the stage:

On Valentines’ day I had the joy of spending most of it in a dental urgent care. I sat there patiently waiting and listened to all the names being called that were not my own. “Maria,” the receptionist called. At the sound of the familiar name, the thoughts in my mind began a ballet within my head and triggered something wonderful. Maria is my grandmother’s name; and if you know me or have been a reader for some time, you know that that my grandmother is my favorite person in all of existence. Well, a few people are on that list, but she’s at the very top.

Last year I made the decision to change my name (link at the bottom that explains why). I chose Eleanore Estelle, roughly translating into the one shining star, a meaning I put together purely out of love and hope for myself to be able to triumph over every one of my struggles.  Since changing my name I have been happier than ever. Changing my name in turn changed my life for the better, which was exactly what I had hoped for. I feel like I am genuinely myself and I have continued to become more myself as I carry on through my life with my new name that I hold so dear to my heart.

All that behind said, from the start of my decision I realized that I was missing a middle name. The past year I have been ruminating almost daily about what I might make it. I thought of having no middle name at all. They’re not entirely mandatory. In fact, neither of my grandparents had middle names because in Europe at the time it simply wasn’t the fashion. Still I felt that maybe I should have one, though what I wanted it to be was little more than a giant question mark constantly floating above my head like a confused Sim.

Flash forward to the dental urgent care on Valentines’ Day, a patient that carries the same name as my darling grandmother sets me on a path of discovery. I thought to myself how lovely it would be to have my middle name honor my grandmother, a woman who for the past 30 years has been the savior, heroine, and caregiver of my siblings and I.

I pondered more, feeling a spark of something that wouldn’t quite catch. I resolved to leave the idea open in my mind’s attic for whenever I chose to revisit it, if ever. After my four hour dentist appointment, I went to see my Valentine and did my best to leave my spiraling thoughts and anxieties at rest. I drove back home later that night chasing a moonlit freeway. My brain clicked on yet again, the thoughts about my middle name dropping down from my attic into the very center of my concentration. “Marie,” I thought. “My middle name should be Marie!” I turned up my music, and I wiggled with pleasure at my decision.

My inspiration for my middle name is only half due to my desire to honor my grandmother. The rest comes from two years ago, when I had the most difficult surgery and medical experience of my life which I honestly didn’t think I’d survive. I had several amazing nurses, two especially that without I would not have been able to withstand the stress, sorrow and pain I was experiencing. One was named Angelica, a sweet, compassionate and humorous woman who was the first person I saw when I awoke from my anesthesia induced slumber. The other was all of that and somehow even more, taking the time to pay extra attention to me whenever she could, brushing my long hair every morning and every night, and after only the second day of my week long hospitalization deemed herself my “hospital mother,” showering with compassion to compensate for my lack of support during what seemed like an impossible part of my life. Her name was Marie.

Marie and my grandmother, Maria, are two of most compassionate, mighty, and fervent women I have met in my life, and to share a name with them both would be a tremendous honor. Unfortunately I cannot have either of their blessings in this decision. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know that I changed my name at all, or most other things about me. I have no way to contact Marie (though I intend to try, because I want her to know all of this). Nevertheless, I sincerely hope that they would be pleased by how deeply and permanently they have impacted my life.

I hope to legally change my name as soon as possible. The only obstacle stopping me is the lack of money. Until then, I can still own my true self in as many ways possible, and I am overcome with joy that after far too long, I finally have a meaningful, powerful, and positive name that truly reflects who I am.

Eleanore Marie Estelle – that’ me you guys!

Marie, come out tonight, you could be my Valentine.

Marie, you’re center stage, you’re the soul for the new age.

I will be the leper, read me my last rite;

A crippled believer, give me sight.

~She’s a Saint, Not a Celebrity – Foxboro Hottubs 

To read about why and how I changed my name, click right here! Do it! No really, you should!

Eleanore Vs. Better Vs. Easier

Dearest humans,

Earlier today I was sitting in my car waiting for my doctor appointment underneath a gorgeously blueberry sky. Living in Missouri I deal with an abundance of gloomy weather, something I am not the slightest bit fond of. This week, much to my pleasure,the sun has decided to eviscerate our gloom.

Yesterday a dear friend posted in his blog, The Dark Side of Neverland. His life has not been an easy one and he has faced some of the most difficult obstacles a human life could present. In his last post, he wrote about his past battles that lead him to where he is now; though it seems in some way his life has improved, he is still struggling in many others. This reminded me of something that I learned a while ago through my own life that I now constantly keep in mind; life getting better and life getting easier are hardly ever synonymous. 

In my own existence this has been proved multiple times. Currently I have less than I’ve ever had in my adult life. However, as my Momma Rose likes to remind me, my life is pretty great considering what I have come from. Mentally I am far healthier than previous years and though my physical health is a constant struggle, for the time being I have Medicaid to give me some assistance. I don’t have my own home, but my adoptive mothers’ home was opened up temporarily to give me more time to figure out my own way , and that has been an enormous blessing.

The last few days my depression was starting to get the best of me. In my birth mother’s voice it tells me that I am worthless, a nothing, and a failure that will never get anywhere. It tells me I’m a burden on those I love and that people in my life are sick of me, so I shouldn’t bother to build relationships. I was feeling the heavy weight of this mental venom, until Momma Rose assured me that each goal I strive to reach is  not attained quickly. I tend to forget how hard it is to build an entire life from scratch. Turns out, it isn’t exactly easy.

Most nights I go to sleep feeling as if I have failed or that I should have done more to help myself get out of my difficult situation. I am trying to get better at reminding myself that these things take time, and that I truly am doing my best. Believing it is another story, but I hope to get there soon. It is an important lesson to learn that life getting better does not mean it gets easier, because expecting that chain reaction can lead to frustration and discouragement . Often times, life getting better means it becomes harder. There is more to accomplish, more to focus on and more at risk. Since I have anxiety disorder and PTSD, the increased risk especially terrifies me. I’ve noticed over time that my anxiety actually increases the happier I am. What kind of fucked up shit is that, brain?!

It seems that one way or another, life is never uncomplicated. However, the reasons for the complexity of life varies. I love the days that I am exhausted and busy because I am spending time with people I love, writing, and adventuring about. The days that I feel exhausted because my life is too much to handle or because I am in agony from my chronic illnesses are the worst. There is certainly a difference between content exhaustion and the kind that causes suffering. I experience a good deal of both.

Life is a strange adventure, but it is the most important we’ll ever have. It will always include struggle, difficulty and a whole lot of the unknown that we won’t always know what to do about. Where does that leave us? Well, I am not exactly sure, but if we do our best with all we have (or haven’t) been given, I think this whole life thing could turn out pretty great.

When life is going well, especially for those of us who are chronically ill,we can become paranoid about when something negative will happen to ruin it. I deal with this sort of anxiety almost daily. I suppose the best thing to do is take not just one day at a time, but one single moment at a time. Enjoy the wind, the sunshine, the love, and take all we can from it, so that even in the most difficult times we will still have goodness stored within us. Of course this is easier said than done; but I think it’s worth an honest shot.

I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.

~Hugo

To check out my friend Jonathan’s blog, clicky clicky! It’s worth it, trust me. I’m a doctor*.

*disclaimer: I am not a doctor, not Gallifreyan or otherwise.

Eleanore Vs. Stories of Beauty and Pain

Dear beautiful readers,

I come to you tonight with a confession. Are you ready? Here it is: 80% of the blog posts I write are inspired by conversations I have with other humans. Bonus confession, I don’t mind this at all. In fact, I adore it and am honored to be a part of such conversations, and I hope they never cease to influence me. 

A very long time ago (as in two days ago) I was speaking with a friend who has suddenly found himself in a difficult situation. The sudden increase of work due to an emergency paired with a decrease of time has left him overwhelmed for an indefinite amount of time. At a point I told him the one positive outcome of difficult experiences is how you get through them becomes a testament to you character. That comment in turn ignited my brain and caused me to think about my entire existence, because that’s just how my mind works. 

As a person who has identified as female most of her life, one of the phrases that was quickly wrapped around my throat was, “beauty is pain.” Generally, at least in my experience, this refers to leg waxing, eyebrow plucking, uncomfortable yet pretty shoes and flattering yet annoying clothing. I personally have always thought this to be a terrible way to live for at least my own life, and instead aspire to a balance between aesthetic happiness and physical comfort.

What I did not expect was for the cliche phrase to morph into something far more personal to me over time. You see, I am a human who has lived though a variety of pain throughout her life so far. I have experienced the pain of my chronic illnesses and sicknesses, the pain of abuse, various types of loss and then some. Though I wish I was not comprised of so much past and current pain, I can’t help but think that it has brought me beauty, for every story I have of overcoming pain has shed a little more light on the person I wish to be within my core.

When I was in college I had a vibrant communications teacher named Dr. Hannigan. He was completely unique in every regard. In fact, he alone that inspired me to pursue communications in hopes that I would make an impact through my own voice. While many of his classes were memorable, one of the most impactful was when he told the class that one’s true character comes out in great times of distress. A really good way to get to know someone, he said, was to go through a terrible event with them.

I’ll be entirely honest; I have not always loved the version of myself that has surfaced during some of the worst parts of my life, and I’m not proud of some of the things I have done in order to cope with my suffering. As I grow older I am trying to become more introspective, not in order to be overly critical of myself, but rather to fashion myself into the very best version of me.

I tend to think of human beings as characters in video games. The best games (in my opinion) put creativity into the backstory of the characters, so that the game becomes much more than beating obstacles and fighting on to the next level. The passion behind the fight, what has lead the character to find the strength to venture into danger, and what they have to gain from beating each level is what makes characters memorable and worth being attached to.

Much like characters of the fictional stories I love, we all have backstories as well, and they play a tremendous part in our existence. In video games, sometimes a character may summarize a story while more elaborate games will literally take you back to relive the memory in vivid detail. This same thing happens to people. When we become close with one another we reveal our histories. Some memories are glimpses while others are intricately recalled, and all of them add to who we are as a whole. They also give explanation to pieces of our personalities, helping us to understand one another on many levels rather than remaining stagnant on the surface.

The stories that come from our struggles show others and ourselves our strength and what we can do with it, especially in times when we were unsure if we could do anything at all. Not to mention, everyone loves a good story. These stories are monuments to our resilience and our passion for our lives, and though they do not come without great effort, nothing is more beautiful  than the courageous people we have become through the suffering.

For every day we thought we could not survive, we made it through. For every mountain of obstacles that overwhelmed us, we fought to take back control. For every broken heart, sickness, hospitalization and worst days of our lives, we may have not made it easily, but we have indeed made it, and that should be celebrated and appreciated. 

Whatever your story, I wish you all the courage you need to make it through to the next part.

Accident or not, admit it; it was a little awesome.

~Dustin, Stranger Things (don’t judge me for re-watching it!) 

Eleanore Vs. Thoughts in Delay

This post was written yesterday, January 2, at 8:00pm Eastern time. 

Dearest land crawlers,

After a calming day of sleeping in, eating, and watching an unhealthy amount of Community, I find myself in the Detroit airport…delayed. The lovely thing about being a writer is that as long as I’ve got something to write on, I have a way to occupy myself, and considering that my mind is always overflowing with thought, my fingers are happy to dance about a keyboard at any time.

My trip to Michigan was altogether lovely as can be. It had just the right amount of activity and just the right amount of rest, which is good for a chronically ill girl such as myself. My health held up better than I anticipated, and ShawnEShawn  remained compassionate about the fact that I’m not quite like everyone else.  However, the whole time I could not help but think how astonishingly fast time had gone by. It feels as if I’ve only been here a day or two, but instead it has been nearly two weeks and I am now returning home. I will not reiterate my anxieties about time, as I explained it all earlier this week in what is one of my very favorite posts. (Click the blue to read after!) 

For me, the worst part of any trip is always the ending, having to return back to daily life after having so much newness. It’s always been difficult for me to reacclimatize. I find in general, I like myself far more when I have less stress, obligations, and you know, work. I also like being able to survive, and working makes that happen. As I move forward in my life I realize that acclimating back into regular life would be much more pleasant if I had a daily life that I truly adored. I’m working on getting it to that point.

Last night I had a minor panic attack because my entire life smashed into me at once and I felt completely overwhelmed. The weight of my life suddenly knocked the wind out of me, and my inability to grasp time kicked me while I was down. I never feel as if I have enough time for all I must accomplish. It’s a strange feeling that I can’t quite put into words, which is pretty impressive considering I am a writer, or at least play one on television. Spoiler alert: I’ve never played a writer on television.

I live with the fear every day that I will be drawn into complacency due to having to survive through life rather than thriving and experiencing it in all its wonder. I don’t do well with mediocrity and repetition. Thankfully, my darling friend ShawnEShawn who I had been staying with sat with me during my anxiety attack, and reassured me that from the looks of my past, I have actively fought to refuse complacency and settling on a life that is underwhelming. As much as I tend to forget, I have taken several giant risks that caused me to give up what little I had in hopes of creating the life I aspire to have. Of course, it hasn’t worked out quite yet in the ways I had dreamed, and my struggles in all the biggest parts of my life have been painful and disheartening. Even still, I have not lost my belief that for all the pain I go through, it’s still better than living a life that disappoints me each morning I wake.

As I sit in my terminal along with the rest of those who are also delayed, I can’t help but be a creeper and people watch. Part of it comes from being hyper analytical and part comes from my PTSD, having to constantly scan my surroundings to ensure my safety. I have come to accept that I am a professional people watcher; at least, professional until I get caught, which is often. I notice the people who are alone like me, on phones and computers or nose deep in reading material. I see the sweet older couple sitting watching something on an Ipad, holding hands across the armrests. I see parents with children and soon to be parents with sweet, round bellies. There are people who don’t mind sitting right next to me and people who would rather stand on the other side of the airport than sit closely to strangers.

I find it troubling sometimes how disconnected we all are from one another. We tend to forget that most of the people that have become our most cherished companions through life, at one point, were strangers. In fact, I flew to Michigan purely to see someone who only very recently became more than a stranger to me, and it was an absolutely fantastic experience. I don’t think the disconnect can be blamed on “millennials,” technology, politics or anything else, really. I think it is simply human nature to require a fragile balance of being alone while still being together. I’m so pleased when I or others are brave enough to speak to one another, yet here I sit, deep in my writing, blasting the Black Keys from my earbuds, quietly observing the rest of the terminal from my own particular anxiety ridden bubble.

There are people of every color, nationality, gender, sexuality (I assume) and age. But I cannot help but wonder how similar we must all be feeling. That we all experience the startling speed of time moving us through our lives, that we’re all quite tired because it is becoming late into the night, and naturally, that we’re all slightly annoyed that our flight has been delayed.

However fast life goes, wherever it takes us and whoever we go with, it is more important than ever that we remember that we’re all much more closely related than we assume, that we all need the same basic human things such as affection, protection, and love, as I always say, we are all just beautiful packages of stardust.

My darling friends, I will write you again when I am home in St. Louis. Wherever you are and whoever you are, I send you my love from Detroit Metro Airport.

We drank the Great Lakes like cold lemonade,
And both got stomach aches, sprawled out in the shade.

So bored to death, you held your breath;
And I tried not to yawn,
You made my frown turn upside down,
And now my worries are gone.

I’ll be out of my mind, and you’ll be out of ideas pretty soon,
So let’s spend the afternoon in a cold hot air balloon.

~Hot Air Balloon – Owl City

 

 

Eleanore Vs. The End?

Dear shiny disco balls awaiting descension,

Today is New Years’ Eve (obviously)! The past few weeks my social media feeds have been overwhelmed by posts in regards to how terrible the year has been. People have been waiting for the year to end since the beginning of December, hoping and praying for the demise of the villainous 2016. I believe the phrase “bye Felicia” sums it up well (also, sorry Felicia).

It’s true there have been some dreadful occurrences this year. In many of my blog posts I have been far from subtle about the fact that in my personal life, this year really kicked my butt. I’ve thoroughly expressed in detail all I’ve had to battle through and all I have lost. I agree with the majority of the internet that 2016 wasn’t always pleasant. However, I disagree with the majority as well in that it seems they keep wanting to blame this year for all the awfulness we’ve endured. The truth is, it has nothing to do with the year at all.

There have been amazing years and tumultuous years all throughout history, but the fact is that the numbers associated with the events that have happened are really quite arbitrary. It takes 365.25 days, 8760 hours for our little space blip named Earth to perform a celestial ballet about the sun. Whether we call it a ballet, a year, or a bucket of fluffy puppies, it remains true that we as humans decided that 365 days make up a single year. Why we did that, I haven’t the slightest idea. Dammit Jim, I’m a writer, not an astronomer!

It can wrinkle your brain to realize that time as we know it is in a way, entirely made up. It also means that blaming a single date for a terrible event, or a cluster of them, makes absolutely no sense. As human beings, we are particularly talented at finding someone or something responsible for terrible circumstances. Every problem must have a target to blame so that our anger and anguish may be rightly placed. If we don’t have something to hold at fault, then we may end up having to think deeper, and some people aren’t fond of that prospect.

Through this year I have learned a new truth; I must release that which I cannot control. That doesn’t mean I must become inactive or complacent, but as someone chronically ill, it has become extremely obvious that there are some aspects of my life I can control and some that I cannot, namely my health and the actions of others. Regardless of how I panic some things are truly out of my hands, and stress will only worsen my wellness without having any affect on the problem I face. Therefore it is best to let it go, as much as my anxiety disorder allows me at least.

I have also learned that when life has caused me to be forlorn, thankfulness for the little things makes life far more bearable. Throughout all my misery this year, I have found many things that didn’t solve my problems, but certainly made them less painful to fight. The kindness from strangers and friends, little bits of helpfulness here and there, and itty bitty victories have kept me pushing forward.

By far, the most valuable lesson this year has offered me was that everything I was told by others that I could not do, I did. So many of my worst nightmares came true and amazingly enough, between my own persistence and kindness from friends, I survived them. I have realized that I am far stronger and far more resourceful that I ever thought I was. I have also began to accept the insane notion that I’m not completely terrible or burdensome on those I love, and that there’s much more to me than I and my abusers have credited me for. Without a doubt I can honestly say that though I have lost a great deal, I’ve gained quite a bit too. What I have gained may not be tangible, but I promise you, my heart and soul are full.

Tomorrow will be January 1, 2017. I’ll still be myself, a concoction of experiences over 26 years all held together by stardust and sarcasm. I’ll still have all my frustrating issues that I haven’t entirely figured out yet, and still have the chronic illness I’ve always had. I don’t expect change to come with the new year because It is never too early or too late to make a promise to myself, give myself a gift, or to be introspective. I expect change every single day of my life; in fact, I strive for it.

Though it is true that we should celebrate making it to a New Year and being alive, the new year doesn’t dictate my life or what happens when. The only one that should have such power over my personal timeline is myself. The new year will bring change, naturally. But I simply refuse to let it command every single aspect of my life, and I certainly will not lay all the blame of my misfortune on a meaningless number like 2016. I don’t know what is to blame for my hardship this year or any other, but as I get older I’m realizing that finding blame is not nearly as important as finding goodness in the most heart-wrenching conditions.

I’m excited for the new year, and I’m excited for tomorrow. However, I’d be excited for tomorrow whether it was a new year or not, because each day I am alive is another I can add to my life. Some of the days are dreadful and painful while others are lovely as can be. As I always say, regardless of the day, they all impact me and add to who I have become.

I’m not counting on an ending, I’m counting on plenty of beginnings. Here’s to not only the New Year, but to every new day ahead. I hope they’re all wondrous.

 What you do with your life is not nearly as important as who you do it with.

~John Green

Eleanore Vs. A Handful of Time

Dear packages of stardust,

My trip in Michigan has continued on which is currently my only problem with it.  I realize that sounds odd, but so do most of the things I say and write. As I often reassure you, do not fret, for it will all make sense in the end.

I was raised primarily by my grandparents and with their home came countless stories of their lives. My grandfather would always end a tale with, “enjoy your life, because time goes by too fast.” During my childhood this phrase meant little to me, each day feeling endless, especially the horrible ones.  I grew older and suddenly began to notice how my grandfather’s catch phrase resonated with me. Each day seemed to pass with a breath, and before I knew it, I had gone from child, to teenager, to a fully grown woman.

Yesterday I went to see Passengers with my friend and his father, and I had a lovely time. The movie itself deals with the concept of time and what one is supposed to do within the time they have been allotted. Naturally it set the circuits within my skull alight, and I spent the remainder of the day hanging out with ShawnEShawn while thinking far too much about time and how I’ve existed within it.

As the day went on I found myself feeling short of breath, exhausted from the anxiety that was beginning to envelop my mind. I started to obsess over the fact that my stay here in Michigan was more than halfway over even though it seemed as if I had just arrived, and soon enough I would be back home in St. Louis. Though I have made spectacular friends back in Missouri, I will be coming home to a new room full of boxes and a mattress without bedding. I’ll also be returning to my financial problems, my health problems, my endless fight with disability and every other struggle that has added to my own personal war.

After a few days of pleasant rest and adventuring about an unfamiliar place with a lovely friend, going back to life in St. Louis seems overwhelming to say the least. Being away I feel happier and healthier, whereas back in St. Louis fear, stress and uncertainty have become my unwelcome companions.

I am more than aware that running away from my problematic lot in St. Louis is not any way to deal with my life, though I’d be lying if I said it was not tempting. I was hoping that being removed from the madness would replenish me, but instead it has only made me more aware of the difficulties I have no choice to face, making me wish that I wouldn’t have to face them at all.

This morning I woke up early and my thoughts were instantly winding about my brain. When I wake up in this condition my impulse is to write because allowing them to overtake my mind never ends up well. As I wiggled free of my pile of blankets I considered the fact that regardless of where I would be living, I’d still be up against the majority of my battles. I’d still be chronically ill with little money, still would not have proper heath insurance and would not have a steady place to live nor a family to fall back on. As difficult as it is to admit, the reality is that these problems will follow me where ever I go, because for me, they are the challenges that come with being alive. They are the battles of my growth, education, failure and successes throughout my human life.

While this realization is full of truth and maturity, it doesn’t soften my anxiety or make returning home any less daunting. It is breathtaking how quickly not only my week here has gone by, but how quickly my entire life has. I have survived every terrible experience in my life just as every wonderful one has given me pleasure, all of them converging to incorporate themselves into one Eleanore Estelle (that’s me).

I have written before about time and my conflicts with it. I have always struggled with the fact that I have spent far too much of my life devoted to what has not truly made me happy, and I have been obligated to do things merely to survive rather than actually live and thrive. These realizations sit in my heart causing it to feel weighted. That being said, if there is one thing my trip to Walled Lake has brought to light, it is that upon my return, I intend to change all of this.

I cannot control how quickly time passes nor can I change how much time I am given. The only aspect I can control is what I do with my time and who I do it all with. I have come to the decision that if this is how life functions, then I will put all the energy I contain into making a life comprised of happiness and sincerity, as well into sharing it all with wonderful people that make me feel excited to be alive.

I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions; I find them insincere and gimmicky, and I think that if one wants to make a positive change in their life, there is no sense in waiting until a new year begins. I like to think I make many resolutions and fulfill them throughout every year. However, a few weeks ago I expressed to my best friend that one thing I wish to become more content with is the unavoidable fact that everything ends.

I’ve come to understand that regardless of how I try to slow things down or stop them altogether, they will still happen. All good things will end, and the bad things will too, but just as The Doctor says, everything also begins again. A human life can so easily be wasted on avoidance, and for me, that is no longer an acceptable way to live.

She looks as if she’s blowing a kiss at me,
And suddenly the sky is a scissor.
Sitting on the floor with a tambourine,
Crushing up a bundle of love.

Don’t take it so personally,
You’re not the only one
That time has got it in for honey;
That’s where you’re wrong.

~That’s Where You’re Wrong – Arctic Monkeys 

 

Eleanore Vs. Talking Like a Tree

Dearest readers,

It’s very early in the morning and I did not sleep well so I currently lack the ability to come up with a creative greeting; my apologies.

The world has seemed chaotic lately. There’s confusion, sadness, anger and all sorts of other emotions being thrown every which way. It has provoked my anxiety so much so that I, the social media alien princess, have had to remove myself from just about all social media save for WordPress. Of course, I have thoughts and feelings about the current state of the world, and I will share them, but not until the world has calmed as is ready to hear me. Right now, I don’t think many people are capable of listening. All that being said, if you are like me and are overloaded by current events, don’t worry; this has nothing to do with any of it.  

A few days ago I had a spectacularly long conversation with a new friend who has quickly become one of my very favorite humans to talk to. We spoke on the phone for hours until the day had ended and a new one had begun. As I’ve said before, I constantly crave delicious human interaction. I’m a conversation addict, drawn to people who both love to express and think while allowing me to do it with them.

We conversed about everything and anything, he talked and I listened and replied, I talked more and he did the same. I at one point became hyper aware of just how much I was speaking and I brought up the fact that every boyfriend, friend, and family member have at some point told me in disdain that I just “talk too much.” I’ve told him this several times before because after having it drilled in my head, I’ve become highly self-conscious about not only how much I speak, but how I speak in general. I have also been constantly told that I’m hard to follow and some have gone further to tell me that I make their heads hurt. As I had expressed to my other friend Danull not long ago, I have decided that when I meet someone who doesn’t ever tell me that, especially in order hurt me, I should probably marry them straight away. I’m kidding of course. Mostly.

My friend then brought up the fact that I serpentine when I have conversations. I tangent, I come back, new things come up and things get lost and sometimes returned. The moment he said this, I had a flashback to the ancient times of the 90’s, playing the video game Snake on my mother’s flip phone. I imagined the snake gobbling up little 8-bit blocks and growing a block longer, then moving on to the next poorly animated victim. The black, pixel-y snake slithered across my mind, and I could see his point, but I felt it wasn’t entirely accurate as to how I felt. Then suddenly an idea hit me and caused me to blurt, “I think I talk like a tree.”

His immediate reaction was, “like Treebeard?” Which, for any self respecting nerd is of course the first thing we’d think of, though I did not mean it as literally as a Tree Ent. What I do mean is that every conversation I have begins as a tree trunk. As I think, converse and discover, my trunk grows a few thick, sturdy branches. As we continue more branches appear, some thick enough to swing on and others not quite so strong, others simply twigs that are barely visible from a distance. The branches continue to grow, reaching for the sky until they’re all over, and then all at once they start to grow leaves. The leaves fill out the emptiness between the branches. My conversation is complete, the zigging and zagging connected by the leaves, the overall point of the conversation. To me, most lengthy conversations with dear friends always have the same point; to hear one another, to connect, and to learn.

I realize that talking like a tree is not everyone’s cup of tea (oh how cute, that unintentionally rhymed!) and as the great Olan Rogers states, “you cannot make everyone happy. You are a not a pizza.” Even still, I suppose because I constantly find myself in such dire need of human connection, when those connections fail, it saddens me and causes me to feel alienated and strange. While part of me thinks that if every conversation were to blossom into a full, beautiful tree, they would lose their remarkableness, the other part of me would like to think that at least with a select few in my life we are capable of growing entire forests together. That thought leaves me ecstatic.

There’s also the problem of my speech impediment and how quickly I speak. I’m sure part of the reason I speak so fast is simply because I’m from Northern California and we’re all just a tiny bit insane. Recently, in this same conversation, I had the miniature epiphany that my anxiety also plays a part in my thoughts flying out of me like fireworks. I assume this is because my anxiety and my lack of memory make me feel that if I don’t get my thoughts and words out quickly enough, I’ll forget them, and I despise forgetting things. I try to stifle this as much as possible because when I forget to, I end up interrupting people even more than I already do and accidentally talking over them, which I find deplorable.

I’m not sure I can fix my tree like thought process, but If there is one thing I’d like to improve, it is that I still tend to interrupt others here and there. While this is somewhat normal and we all do it to each other, I’m afraid someone may get the impression that I think I’m more important than them, or that I’m only talking at them, not to them. As much as I love to talk and let my heart and mind swell with thought, I truly love experiencing others do the same.

My forest contains so much beauty. Some of my trees are small, sad little Charlie Brown Christmas trees, while others are glorious Redwoods. Regardless of the type or the size, what is most important is that my forest is full of variety, and many trees that are not my own. To truly listen to someone is to bring them into your forest and tell them, “you may plant your tree wherever you wish, and I will protect it. The sun will kiss it, the rain will nourish it, and it will always be yours.” After all, my forest would not be nearly as beautiful if it were full of only my trees. And come to think of it, they’d probably get lonely.

I saw this man dispose of hunger and soap operas too.
I saw this field, that grew perfection, full of things you do.
I saw this box get rid of heartache, and cure cancer too.
When I awoke I sat there hoping, this is what we’ll do.

If we can, we will leave a letter and this song for you,
And we’ll write once a day, and float it through the sea to you.
We’ll regret all those things we thought, of but didn’t ever do.

When the sky seems to clear, who will then be left but a few, me and you.

~ Watch the World – Boxcar Racer 

 

 

Eleanore Vs. Misfit Love

Pictured above, Hayley Williams and Chad Gilbert. One of my favorite famous couples. 

Dear readers who I find so endearing, 

It’s not particularly surprising that since my break up the subspace in my mind has been overwhelmed with a profusion of thoughts about love. Growing up listening to pop-punk bands such as Green Day, Blink-182, Sugarcult and New Found glory, the romanticizing of a young, exciting, misfit sort of love really got a grasp on my heart. Unfortunately, while I dappled in excitement and misfit ways as a teen, I never truly got to enjoy my high school years as much as I had hoped. When I was 15, my health started its decline, and by 18 I was nearly dead yet unable to figure out why I was so zombiesque. Chronic illness, anaphylaxis and the rest of my health issues really took the fun out of being  young, wild and free. Now at 26, I often catch myself saddened by the fact that it seems the universe robbed me of the last of my teen years, including my ideal misfit love.

Out of the several boyfriends I have had, I’ve only had two boyfriends who even got remotely close to the kind of love I always dreamt of. Here I find myself in my late 20’s, wondering if I’ll ever have my ideal misfit love, let alone someone who can withstand all the craziness that comes with being chronically ill. I suppose only the future will tell.

Frequently I fight to suppress my daydreams, trying to convince myself that rather than doting over my lost ideas I should be focusing on my present and future; after all I’ve never been one to pity myself or hold a grudge. Every now and then though, especially during the most challenging levels of my life, it’s a bit more haunting, and significantly harder to release. So my mind and heart run off to frolic in daydreams, leaving the rest of me behind. 

This morning I was trying to take a nap, but the idea of writing this post was keeping me conscious. My mind circled around the ideas of my misfit love, my past experiences, and everything related. After an hour of flopping about my bed like a drunken blanket burrito, I finally gave up, and began to click my thoughts into this post. I’m sleepy and a little nauseated, yet surprisingly okay with my brain keeping me up, as it has brought me to a wonderful realization.

It’s true that now I’m older and chronically ill there are some things I simply cannot do. I can’t stay awake every single night until three in the morning and I don’t think my spine could take having sex in cars or on basement floors, nor can I run off without considering how I’ll deal with food or medical needs. Whether or not I want to admit it, I’m simply different now and have a few more restrictions placed upon me. However, when I think about my misfit love, I realize that I actually still can have the most enticing parts of it . I can still go to concerts, embark on adventures, stargaze (and trespass once in a while), have some level of spontaneity, and go to the store at 2a.m for ice-cream and pizza. I can still have a relationship full of silliness, adventure and excitement, all while being grown up and perpetually sick. I just have to plan my chaos. 

On top of a misfit love, now that I’m older, I also find myself wanting a relationship that’s mature, thoughtful, supportive and brilliant. Those attributes are what I require in my life, and I’ve become more adamant about it as time has gone by. I need a love that I can count on and that I can rest assured won’t be completely be uprooted once life gets difficult. My life is constantly full of spur of the moment obstacles, emergencies and plan changes; what I want more than anything is someone who sticks by me not just physically, but whose heart beats alongside my own. One knows how to communicate with and support me in the most important ways. I never wanted a perfect love or someone who fights for me; I need a fitting, timeless love with someone who fights beside me.

While I may not be able to ever have the Blink-182 sort of teenage romance, I can have something even better than what I had imagined. I’ve come to the conclusion that while I want parts of a young, misfit love, what I want ultimately is a timeless one. One that regardless of what age I am or what is happening within my life or around us, is able to survive and still find comfort in togetherness. One in which we excite and drive one another. That sounds really good. Forget that… I’m a wannabe writer! That all sounds marvelous.

I look forward to marvelous, whenever and wherever it may greet me . 

It’s a cry from the past we have been through a lot,
Every year has been great, and a few have been tough.
And your kids they will reach for the stars up above,
We’ll sit and relax as we’re cheering them on.
The ropes to the light from the crib to the grave,
We started alone, in the end we’re okay.

~Pretty Little Girl – Blink-182

 

 

Eleanore Vs. Oddities of Optimism

Dear astounding, anthropomorphous archetypes,

I just love alliteration. It’s far too early and I can’t slepe. Sloop? Sheep? You know, that thing you’re supposed to be doing at 5:17 am. I can’t do it. My lack of sleep is a concoction of going to bed earlier than normal because I was in terrible pain, still being in terrible pain, and my thoughts swirling about my skull like dandelion fluff. So here I find myself, typing this out on my phone with care in hopes that I do not drop my phone on my face…again.

As you know or possibly don’t, I try to be a realist. I believe that being too far down the road of pessimism or optimism can both be dangerous in their own right. Especially when living with chronic illness, being hopeful yet realistic seems to be the best method to navigate through my version of human life. However, in times of great distress, which is what I am currently experiencing, leaning slightly more towards optimism isn’t a totally terrible idea. This current period of my life is the second time all my plans for existence, large and small, have fallen to pieces, crumpled and tossed out by the hands of the universe with a resounding, “nope!”. That isn’t a particularly fabulous feeling. When every part of my life is in turmoil, it’s difficult to feel hopeful or excited. However, since I’ve been through this whole life falling apart thing once before, I’m a bit more experienced than last time. I’d like to share with your eyeballs a short collection of the bright sides of having life go South, so to speak. I generally dislike list type posts, but this time I think it’s needed. Fire the bullet (points)!

  • Okay, so 90% of everything went to hell. The good news is, now that I no longer have a foreseeable future in the works, in an odd way, I’m actually set free. I have less obligations to keep me from new adventures and I can welcome just about anything into my life. While it’s surely terrifying to have so much unknown in my life, it’s also exhilarating to have such freedom. Dare I say it, it really is a new beginning. (I apologize for the cliche. Were I a better writer I’d have a more articulate way to put this, but it’s also 5 in the morning, so give me a bit of a break!)
  • All of my worst fears have come true. On the one hand, this is a major bummer. What I envisioned to be the worst possible outcome of my life is now the life I am living. On the other tentacle, the fact that so much already happened means that I no longer have to fear as much as I did before, and spoiler alert, I’ve gotten through all of it. Which brings us to the final and most pertinent point:
  • I have survived every single day I swore I could not possibly get through. Every hospital visit, every day filled with excruciating pain and havoc inducing heartbreak I have survived; and I deserve to be proud of myself for that. Wait…did she say tentacle? Oh yes, she most certainly did.

All of this doesn’t cure the pain keeping me from sleep or solve any of my problems, but these odd little pieces of optimism make it all seemingly more manageable. When I’m overwhelmed, sick and helpless, I don’t need immediate advice or a military grade attack plan. I just need to know that I will survive and that I have the capacity to do so. If my past proves anything at all, it’s that I am strong as hell and am a warrior of illness, of emotional and physical suffering, and am seriously badass. I do believe that just because someone is resilient, it doesn’t mean they should suffer. Yet since much of my current predicament is out of my control, that opinion has no relevance.

I don’t know what is going to happen, and I despise not knowing. But whatever it is, I hope with all my heart it’s something remarkable, because I intend to pour my heart into my life just as I always have. If you’re a human like me, feeling as if you have lost your way, I am hoping for you, too. We’re all just buckets of stardust playing this weird game called life. At least the graphics are decent.

You can’t maximize a life. What you can do, is try to be honest in the choices that you make. Be true to yourself, no matter how embarrassing those choices are. Life is not a science. I realize that. Look, I’m a guy who does palindromes and tells jokes about leather jackets because that gives me some meaning, at least for now. And you know what, I apologize for none of it. Because the unexamined life is not worth living, man.

~Demetri Martin -If I