A Little Christmas Tag!

IT IS TWO WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS ARE YOU EXCITED?? Because I am and I’ve catapulted myself out of my “Scrooge Phase” and have finally become all Christmasy. For my first Christmas post of the year, I’m going to be doing a Christmas tag!

I was nominated by the wonderful Chloe Lauren and you can read her post here. She’s one of the most positive bloggers ever and you should totally look at her blog because CHRISTMAS!

This fab tag was created by Girl Enters and I love the idea of it. Christmas tags are so fun because you get to scream about how much you LOVE CHRISTMAS.

The Questions

Do you like Christmas?

I like it a lot more now than I did before; I used to not get hyped at all. I love it because of the presents and decorations and how it brings all my family together. I don’t get as hyped for it as some people do but when people around me are getting festive, it’s almost contagious.

What do you enjoy most about Christmas?

I really love going to Christmas markets and also spending time with my family. When we go to my Grandma’s, we often all get really involved in bringing in the presents and the ridiculous excitement on Christmas morning with stockings is something I still do. I’m not a child, okay?!! I’m just… Alright, maybe I am a tiiiny bit of a child. (I look like one so shhhh)

Do you travel at Christmas or stay at home?

On Christmas Eve – or usually the 23rd – we go to my Grandma’s for Swedish Christmas, where we open presents and have Swedish Christmas dinner. The next day, my sister and I go to our mum’s house and have a ‘second Christmas’ there. So in a way, we do both.

Do you send out Christmas cards?

I personally don’t because I can’t write them. When I do send them out, it’s usually to friends who can read Braille or if I’m feeling especially festive, I’ll ask someone to write it for me. I’m SORRY! Writing print isn’t, erm, exactly my forte.

Do you go to any Christmas parties?

Hahahahaha NOOO. I don’t get invited because I’m an antisocial moth Γ—100 but I’d like to go to one with family or maybe friends. The closest I get is a New Year’s party which acts as a kind of substitute birthday party.

Do you decorate your house?

Not much, besides the tree. We have a Christmas ornament on the door and my stepmum and I plan to buy Christmas candles this year (we really should do that). I’d love to get some reindeer ornaments too because, as with everything, THEY ARE SO CUTE!

What tops your tree?

An angel. It’s getting quite old but I love it – we used to have two, one for me and one for my sister, but I think one of them went missing or something. We used to have a star as well but we haven’t seen that in a while… I swear, elves are stealing our decorations.

When do you put up your Christmas tree?

Usually it’s around 5 December – this time, we put it up two days before that because we’re all going to be quite busy this week. (One day, I’ll go on a rant about how much I love Christmas trees which hopefully won’t turn me into an actual Elm).

How long do you leave up your decorations for?

We usually have them up until 5 January or the 6th because we like to keep the festive spirit going. This time, we might have to take the tree down a bit earlier because guests are coming round so I’ll just sob over fallen pine needles and mourn the loss of my kindred spirit… Right, I need sleep.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving presents?

Hmm… I’d say giving because I love seeing people’s responses but also receiving because I’m paranoid people will hate the presents I got them and buying for my family is a nightmare. I don’t like getting too many presents because I hate my family spending too much money on me but I suppose they have the same thought process as me, in that getting someone something they love is amazing.

When and how did you learn about Santa Claus?

What?!! Santa isn’t real?
I learnt about that – my heart’s still breaking – when I was about 7. There were these hairbands in my stocking – the only ones I’d received – and I was eavesdropping at the door of the kitchen and heard my aunt say, “Those were some lovely hairbands you got Elm!” In my little brain I started going “Hmm… Have these bitches been lying to me?” and that, children, was how I realised Santa wasn’t real. As a side note, I had to keep on pretending to my cousin that Santa existed and every time, I probably had a weird little smile on my face.

What’s your favourite thing to eat during the Christmas holidays?

I know Christmas cake and pudding is great (actually it’s gross and I don’t like it) but I either love Advent callendar chocolate, chocolate orange or those decorations you get on the Christmas tree. A few years ago, I may or may not have eaten them all. Do you notice a pattern? I 100% certainly absolutely don’t.

Nominees

And I nominate…

Ruby Rae Reads

Indy

Sumedha

Kate

Jasmine

Lu

Bethany

I really hope you like this and that you’re having a fabulous December! Even if it’s freezing here in Britain, I’m still enjoying myself.

What kinds of decorations do you have up at Christmas?

From Elm πŸ™‚

Ways I Deal with Breakdowns

Personally, I have a bit of a routine when it comes to breakdowns. By “a bit” I mean it’s erratic: it changes; it’s sometimes more healthy than other times but there are a few things I seem to do pretty much every time. After feeling absolutely atrocious because of emotions a few days ago and comparing it to a huge breakdown I had in Barcelona, I realised that there were certain ways I dealt with it: I looked back on past “breakdowns” and decided to compile a list of ways I cope. This isn’t a “5 ways to deal” because it’s different for everyone but this is just how, sometimes, I deal with my emotions going haywire. I hope this can help anyone who needs it, like I needed it.

I class breakdowns as any time where I lose complete control of my emotions. I won’t go into what causes them – that’s for another post – but in a way, dealing with them has informed me what causes them. As my mental health has got worse, I’ve had to internalise a lot of things I used to be able to express more and so I hope that writing about this will encourage me to speak up.

Crying

This might seem like an obvious one but there have been times where I’ve felt so terrible but not let myself cry about it. Perhaps it’s clichΓ© to say this but tears can really be a release for pent up emotion. When I let myself cry, although it panics me, it gives me a way to get something out. That’s far better than shoving it all back so that it appears later, worse. I don’t force the tears if I know they won’t fall but I try my best to let them out when I know I need to. If no people are there, I don’t quite know how to deal with them which often forces me to try and ignore them but if people bring my tears out by talking to me, or something happens which means I can’t not cry, I feel a little calmer afterwards. When I cry a lot, it does make me exhausted but it doesn’t end with me feeling angry and like I’m running to nowhere.

Grounding Myself

Part of a breakdown for me is feeling really disconnected with everything. Because of that, when I feel like I’m about to start sobbing or I’m in the midst of it, I often touch objects around me, put my hands behind my back or talk to myself about what’s happening. That last one makes me deal with it and, weirdly, makes it a bit more bearable because I’m proving to myself I’m still here, still able to express myself and still myself. If I’m around someone, I’ll either hold their hands usually or be close to them: when I was in Barcelona, my friend told me to punch a pillow really hard and also held me; the next day, I stood by the wall and pushed against it with my hands to remember where I was because I was alone and couldn’t deal with going to find anyone. In these situations, I do everything I can to remind myself that what I feel is real.

Lying/sitting on the floor

Okay, I know that might seem weird, but I’ve noticed I do this a lot especially when I don’t know how to deal with anything or when my emotions get really bad. Sometimes I can’t really help it if I walk into a room and don’t have the energy to sit on a chair but a lot of the time, it’s purposeful. Previously, I hated myself for it because I thought I was attention-seeking: in Barcelona again, things were getting too much and I went on the floor, someone said “It looked like you did that on purpose,” and I didn’t know how to tell them they were correct without looking attention-seeking. However, I’ve come to realise there’s a bit of a reason: excuse the pun but it’s another thing that grounds me. Shortly before the person had said that, I’d gone to the room I was staying in, sat on my bed and slid onto the floor to try and make myself as small as possible. I did that recently as well and just sat there, with nothing else around me to distract me and just breathed. Depending on the situation, I sit/lie on the floor for different reasons but it always seems to help in some way, without making me feel pathetic.

Talking to someone about it

A huge thing for me is that I need to talk about things or they get locked inside my head. My friend Rapunzel saw the worst breakdown I’ve ever had in front of someone and encouraged me to spend a while just breathing and then to talk about it – and, although I was so upset that I couldn’t form many words, I gave it my best try. Not only does it act as a release but it also gives me closure. Whenever I do talk about it, the next day, I don’t feel so panicked about whatever I broke down about and I can start to deal with it. Dealing with it by myself makes me feel sick because often, there are too many thoughts in my head. Talking to a friend or anyone about those thoughts makes me feel guilty for shoving all my problems onto them but if they’re willing to listen to my ramblings, I’d talk until I couldn’t any more.

Self-Care

Last night, I felt as if I was about to start shaking and that I wouldn’t be able to stop. After calming down and reading for a little, I decided to just relax and not to stress out. I had a shower, put a face mask on, moisturised and started writing. As it always seems to do, it made me feel as if I had a little bit of control over myself and made me as happy as I could be at that moment. At some point, I’ll deal with what was making me unhappy – namely, shitty, unresolved feelings and fear that everybody hates me – but this was a good starting point.

I really hope this helped, even if in a little way. I’m not the best at coping but I’m getting there. Every single emotion I have is a learning experience and with them, I learn more about myself. I’m not perfect but I’m not hopeless, either.

How do you deal with breaking down? Are there any things you’d like to do to help yourself that you don’t do currently?

From Elm πŸ™‚

Side Character in My Own Story

I am the comma
In a sentence, the afterthought
To a word, trailing off in the middle and
Never the important sort
Of ellipses.

I’m the backing vocals
At the height of a crescendo, hope
In quiet harmony, unheard,
Falling down a slope
To lie, a discarded melody.

I am the old love interest,
Story-tired, something better ready to leap
Over my head, the readers
Never thinking how much it hurts to keep
Smiling, hiding, smiling…

I never finish the glorious tale of two
Who are happy without the underdeveloped character
With too many tears, whose chapter
Ends with a question mark.

I am the sorrow and muted horror
When love gives way to nothing-
The writer spirals somewhere different,
Pain too lonely, too boring,
But where’s that story arc for that?

The words write me,
Heartbreak created from an apostrophe-
I, a possession, owned by failure,
Vanishing into a sidestory
Of the story’s saviour.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Musings Whilst on a Train

This idea was inspired by a blogger called My Life Online or Beccaandbeyond – although she’s no longer blogging, I’ve always wanted to do this because her style of writing was wonderful and so I thought I’d credit her. I love the idea of a stream of consciousness whilst travelling and seeming as I’m on a train right now, I just thought I’d write down what I’m feeling as it pops into my head. Because it’s me and my thoughts are disjointed, it should be… Interesting.


Last time I made this particular journey it was a Monday and I was wildly happy because everything had gone right that day and I couldn’t wait to go home. Now I’m kind of looking forward to getting back but I don’t have much at home, at the moment, to want to go back to. Not like last time.

OWW the sun is shining right through the window next to me and into my eye so I’ve just retreated into the corner. Can you retreat if you just sort of slip sideways? Well I’m doing it and I probably look weird.

There’s barely anyone in this carriage. I kind of want to get up and go for a wander but I’m scared I’ll get lost and not be able to find my seat because blind. Oh also, I’m comfortable here and strangers are scary so NOPE.

The train’s shaking and it just squeaked?? Alright then… My stop is in 15 minutes so I may do some reading but can I be bothered?

I’m starting to feel a bit ill and I’m also worried that I won’t get my suitcase in time and that I’ll get left on the train and that the assistance people won’t see me. Maybe I’ll have my case and fall off the train – okay no, I really don’t want to think about that because I’ll have a day nightmare about not getting home and being stranded in Paddington.

Daymare? Can you get those? If I fell asleep, I really would miss my stop. Okay, awake, imagine a wild party and NOO, that won’t work because I don’t go to wild parties.

I need to start getting ready to “disembark” or whatever. Right. The moment of truth… I’m now scared because I’ve totally traveled by myself with a suitcase before… Yep, I’m a pro, done this a million times OKAY NO I’ll just see how this goes.

My dad turned up???

I stood up, ready to get off the train and I was talking to a woman who was also getting assistance there. I stepped forward with my case and my dad said hi and I have never been so surprised. Of all the people, I seriously didn’t expect him to turn up ON MY TRAIN and help me to the other one. The assistance guy was laughing so much. Turns out, my dad works about 5-10 minutes away and decided to come and say hey, even though I’d see him later.

I need to recover from that… I’m on my next train now and I have my suitcase next to me. There’s a woman talking on the phone but other than that, it’s pretty quiet.

I’m sorry but I still can’t get over the fact that my dad appeared earlier? It was so unexpected as well! As you could probably tell, I was all set to get off the train and spend about 5 minutes trying to get the attention of an assistance person but obviously, that didn’t happen. Ugh, my heart’s still racing a bit.

Loads of people just got on the train and if they looked at me, they’d see a girl furiously typing on a keyboard, with a bag on the seat next to her almost as tall as her. Actually that’s not that difficult.

I’M SO HUNGRY UGHHH – I didn’t buy any food in Cardiff.

You’re probably wondering what the hell I was doing up in Wales. I should be in school/wherever.

Ooh, Sunningdale… Where even is that? It sounds like a fairytale place and I’d go there but… Nah, I’d get lost.

I was just reading blog posts and it got me in such a blogging mood… I wish I’d decided to do Blogmas and I mean I could still do it but I haven’t written any preparation posts 😦 oh well – I’ll just get painfully excited from everyone else’s!!!

I’m nearly at my stop and I’m still hungry and getting kind of tired?

Aww there’s a baby crying and I feel so sorry for the baby. There’s also this person standing next to me and I don’t know who they are NO SHIT because I’m on a train… Can you tell I’m exhausted?

When I get home, I’m playing Christmas music. I also want one of those chocolate advent calendars – the ones you get when you’re a kid. I can’t think about chocolate right now though.

I bought my family Welsh cakes from this adorable little Welsh cake shop and I really hope they like them. i mean, I could always eat them if not…

Oooh, one stop before mine! I should get ready… But this seat is – actually no it’s uncomfortable as hell but I’ll pretend to be relaxing.

Trains make the weirdest sounds. It’s sort of… Clicking and trundling along. I won’t call it cute because I want to have at least some credibility left.


I hope you liked that! I’m home now, recovered from travelling and I’m now attempting to relax.

Let me know how your day went in the comments! I hope it wasn’t as paranoid – filled as mine was! I really like doing this kind of posts because it makes me feel really informal and I miss feeling like that so much. What did you think?

From Elm πŸ™‚

I Told my Mum about My Blog??

As you can tell by the title, something pretty amazing happened a few days ago. Really, I’m still in shock that it actually happened. You won’t understand how confusing the title is to me until I explain a bit about my mother, so here we go.

My mum can be a very suspicious woman. She regularly tells me about the dangers of talking to people online or going online in the first place and in the past, I’ve had to make up stories about where exactly I’ve met some of my friends. When I’ve brought up online things in the past, she’s shut me down and not only that but she’s extremely, extremely over-protective of me because I’m visually impaired. Partly because of how she treats me, I’m not very open to telling her anything whatsoever. However, I appear to have not given her enough credit.

Two days ago, the morning after she and I had had one of our biggest arguments in which bad mental health only made an appearance to myself, I was sitting at the kitchen table. I’d been internalising a lot of horrific stuff the night before but that morning, I wasn’t so agitated and I was thinking about how far my writing style had come compared to how it was before. Calmly eating, pondering her apology to me an hour before and also the state of my blog, something wild snapped in my mind. “Oh fuck it,” were my actual thoughts. Whenever I think like that, I either a) Do something very stupid, b) Make a spontaneous decision that turns out really well or c) Decide I don’t have anything to lose. I’m not entirely sure which one I did that day.

“Mum, can I tell you something?” There. Those words were out in the open and as you know, following those words always comes a ‘big’ announcement. I stopped what I was doing and focused my entire attention on saying it – I couldn’t tell you why I picked then to explain, or why I even told her.
“Sure,” she said. I was absolutely terrified for a split second before it all went blank. This was huge for me and I hadn’t even thought about it??!! What was I doing?!

So, I told her. I said I had a blog, that my sister knew because she had a blog for her art but that I never showed anyone mine, that I’d been doing it for over two and a half years. She didn’t speak throughout my explanation and I spoke in the most matter-of-fact way ever. I was so incredibly casual about it that I don’t quite think she understood how huge it was for me.

“…And I wanted to tell you because it’s a really big part of my life so yeah,” I finished. It didn’t feel like a weight had been lifted off because telling her had never worried me. Telling her about this blog was never something that had even gone into the realms of possibility.

Her response? “Well done.” Nothing else. She asked me no questions; she didn’t ask anything apart from what I wrote about. I told her the truth: that I screamed about my boring as fuck life and that a few people read it. I didn’t tell her how happy it made me and that writing connected me to myself in a way that I’d missed. I didn’t tell her how much support people reading this give me and how much I love them for it. That’ll come later – or maybe never.

Sorry, can I just – WHAT??? I told my mother??? Someone who doesn’t know exactly how I met some of the closest friends I could ever have?

I still can’t believe I did that. My mother – the person who constantly worries about where I am, what I’m doing – was completely fine with my blog?? Of course, I haven’t told her that I’ve met people from online, or just how closely connected I am to the ‘blogosphere’ because I think I should leave that until she’s more used to the idea. The fact is, I’ve revealed a massive part of my life to the parent I least expected to be fine with it.

This has shown me not to judge people too harshly. Sometimes, opening up isn’t the best idea but other times, it can really make things easier. I don’t think I could have done this a year ago and maybe it was a mistake because I know she doesn’t understand it but you know what? I’ll give her time. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

Now that both my parents know, I don’t know how to feel. I suppose it’s nice that they know – or rather, BLOODY CONFUSING because I thought I was a complete whimp – but I’m still 100% going to keep the anonymity. Being able to express myself in the limited way I can (because people from real life read this a bit) is so much better than not being able to express myself at all.

Thank you so much to everyone that’s supported me the last few days. It hasn’t been easy because I’ve been feeling really down, more so than usual, but I’m trying my best to take a break from things that stress me. Blogging gives me a purpose and telling my mum connected me back to that purpose.

Have you told your parents about your blog? Would you? I never thought I would until I did and sometimes, their reactions are surprising. Don’t pressure yourself into anything and only tell people if you feel like you want to because this is your space.

Love from Elm πŸ™‚

A Note to a You I Knew

Sometimes, I don’t know how to talk about things. I’m doing this in the only way I can – I’m opening up, in a way, bit by bit. I’m sorry this doesn’t make much sense: it’s me expressing my thoughts after months of not understanding how. A little unpolished, wild and confusing, it’s basically me.


There’s a certain freedom in talking in circles, using flowery language to get my point across and in spinning around a point but never stating it plainly. However, doing that too much makes me feel trapped. When it comes to you, I’ve spun around too many points and I’m dizzy and lost and here I go again, using metaphors. I’ll state it as plainly as I possibly can. 1. This ‘note’ is to someone I don’t know how to talk about; 2. If they read this, they’ll forever think me tragic and 3. I care far too much about that.

I wrote this ‘note’ in pieces, paragraph by paragraph coming at different times. That’s kind of what happened when I processed that things wouldn’t ever be the same, when I admitted that I fucked up a tiny bit and also when I realised that there was no closure to be had with this. I waited for closure, holding on and on and my heart broke so hard that I couldn’t even think about it. When I realised I wouldn’t get to talk, that I’d essentially taped my own mouth shut, that you’d given me the tape and other people had held it there, I kind of collapsed. I only have the energy to be so desperately unhappy about it that all I can do is laugh.

On a train once, I thought about you and my heart thumped because I couldn’t wait to see you and to just talk. It made me smile. The last time I said “I love you” to a friend, my mind screeched back to the time I said it to you. I remember the laughter and the drifting away and the loneliness when I said the words, “All I want is for him to be happy and if he is, I will be too.” and “You are a very lucky person, you know.” Oh, and “Your happiness comes first, remember?” I wish I had been lying when I said all that and god knows if you even know I said those words.

It’s ridiculous how much it hurts. I sit alone and wonder why the hell I approached things how I did; then I wonder how you could do what you did and I realise that you had no idea what you did, then. Is it because I didn’t tell you? Probably. Is it because you wanted your own happiness and I dragged you back from that with my sad hopes? I don’t blame you for that because I should have done the same. I didn’t tell you what I felt when I should have; I didn’t present my tears and terror in the way I wanted and I broke down on someone that wasn’t you. I broke down on someone who held me and understood’ instinctively, what I needed and understood that when I couldn’t speak, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to. It was because I didn’t know how.

I seem to mess things up a lot now. I talk to people too much, send messages when most likely, people you know are whispering and laughing about me and telling you you’re better off without that stupid bitch. Would they be right? Is my self-esteem so low that I’d consider myself an obsessive, clingy, awful person? I think about how I am when I act myself, like with you and the people I’m as close to as I was to you and I laugh because it’s so different to how I feel at this present moment.

“No wonder they don’t care about you any more because you have no sense of who you are,” I tell myself. Then I flinch because I don’t know if it’s just me being paranoid. I run after feelings, desperately searching for happiness and it usually ends with me shoving my own happiness to the back of my head because if I took the chance, I’d be selfish. It’s little wonder that I break down and push my identity so far away to try, and fail, to help others. It’s not healthy and the times I’m happy are the times I help others whilst also being secure in who I am. With no closure, no nothing, I haven’t been able to do that.

People have said that I get and got too involved, that I did something to try and prevent everything from turning out how it was. Yes, I got too involved and I shredded my heart like it was easy. What else could I do but try and when the trying failed, I forced myself to get rid of bitterness. I questioned why I hadn’t been open, why I hadn’t said anything and if I had, I would have been happier. But if I had done something to stop it, it wouldn’t just be me that was unhappy and if you know a single thing about me, you know that I try to put people’s happiness above my own as a form of coping. When I don’t know how to do that and I break because of it, I self-destruct.

I’ve tried to shut it out. I’ve tried to stop myself from wincing every single time I say the words “I love you”, even as a joke. I’ve tried so fucking hard to not care, to become unfeeling, to just accept that this is how it is and that I lost out. Sadly, I can’t. Not yet. I’ll get there, sometime, and that’s what I hold onto.

If you’d like me to be honest, I’ll say that I don’t know how to fix this and that in even speaking about you, I’m misjudging who you are. I don’t know what you think of me; I don’t know what I think of myself; I don’t know how to not break whenever I think about you and about how much you cared for me. I’ll have to face it one day but now? Sorting through all the memories, all the confused emotions and “why’s” and “Is it my fault?”s is too much. It doesn’t stop how I feel, though. You can shut a box but you can’t get rid of what’s inside the box if you can’t open it.

If you’re thinking, “This is disjointed,” you’d be right. I didn’t plan this. Every single thought I express right now is one I want to say to you, in huge detail, on and on until you get sick of me and tell me you hate me. If you think, “She’s got no answers,” you’d also be right because there are 1000 questions going round my head and only one answer. That answer is simple: “I don’t know.”

I’m still here, heart still beating, still feeling and living and breathing. I’m the same Elm, like you were the same you. I lie to protect myself sometimes and when people are unhappy, I rush to help others without considering that they might want to help me too. I can no longer think of a city without thinking of dances and heartbreak, gripping a hand so hard it hurt and sitting on the stairs, alone, because I didn’t know what to do.

You won’t read a word of this and if you do, I want you to remember that I’m not angry. In any of it, I was never angry. I was just hurt because I feel as if I have no identity and no way of expressing any of my feelings. I feel as if the ability to speak my mind has been taken away from me in this situation, which has made my ability to speak about anything difficult.

There’s no one to help me reconnect to you but you. I think I’ll just have to help myself.

Love from Elm πŸ™‚

Things I Miss About Love

I miss the little things. Interlacing fingers, or the memory of them; I miss waking up in the morning and smiling at the knowledge that feelings were okay and that if nothing came of it, at least I would be. Talking until late, laughing and seeing a name on my phone without being afraid that the name hates me. Simply put – I miss it feeling okay that I love someone.

I miss the leaping spark in my heart, catching with the wind and flittering until it grew stronger. The fire burned like it was meant to burn, red and orange flames coiling around my happiness. I miss the warmth, not shaking uncontrollably when I said the words “I love you” because the fire and little sparks felt like a friend. I don’t understand how to be friends with the fire any more.

I miss feeling whole, the solidity of a presence and the surety of feelings completing my heart in a way it hadn’t been in such a long time. Like sand on a beach, it’s sifting through my fingers; I miss wave upon wave of “this is real, the truth – this is how I feel!” crashing over me. I’m prone to fancies and running but that time, I didn’t chase after an empty hope in a heart-shaped box. I miss not feeling frayed, whether it’s because I was in love or because now I feel unhappy all the time I don’t know. I miss feeling like the connection from heart to love was a lasting thing, a silk-red ribbon braided up like it was meant to be twisted.

I miss feeling truly right within myself or right around someone else, suspended in a moment without panic. “The moment between breaths,” I call it, the quiet contentment that this was correct and that I was not misplaced and not an “other”. I miss laughing with the person whose feelings mirrored mine, twin smiles on different faces and, for one second, a shared happiness. Now, with the love gone it would have been bearable but with the heart broken, it feels so suffocatingly wrong.

I miss songs playing and associating them with happy memories, sweeps of violin and voice coupling in a dance. It seems as if songs hold a crushing weight, not delicate like the way you spoke to me or straightforward, like I’d like to be to you, if I can. It has a double meaning, marinated in lies and love and sadness for 3 weeks until the melodies set themselves on fire.

⠠⠊ miss my insecurities about my body not mattering for a while. I miss feeling as if I were confident in one way – although love could never wipe away my mind like love was a “healer” – but I miss remembering that at one time, my feelings were returned. I miss being enough for just one person, not feeling attention-seeking and being justified in my feelings.

I miss counting the days since a beautiful time happened – 4 weeks since I felt “I love you”, 9 weeks since my heart broke, 2 weeks since my hopes got lost and 1 week since I cried. I miss imagining counting the stars and it not hurting, as if something so infinite as a star would care.

I can’t wait until I no longer miss these things. When you feel like you’re breaking from missing someone, when they have no idea, it’s so hard to remember that one day, it won’t hurt so much. One day, I’ll stop missing feeling like I can think of things without something welling up inside me.

I’ll fall in love again and I’ll miss it again and it’ll be okay. I just have to get there. Can I do that?

I don’t know any more.

From Elm πŸ™‚

Why I’m Not Applying for University This Year

Around this time, if you live in the UK and are in year 13 or equivalent, the majority of people will be in the process of applying to 5 universities, getting their personal statement ready, getting references from teachers and finally submitting their application. A fair few people will have already applied, received some offers or even got unconditional offers. I’m not one of those people. Instead, I’ve decided to apply next year.

A year ago, I was all set to do it all this year. I started thinking about open days and in June, I went to my first one in Birmingham. Since then, I’ve gone to 4 more open days, really got a feel for the course I want to do – English Literature and Creative Writing. Although I didn’t work on my personal statement in the summer, I was going to start in September. Why, then, did I change my mind, when everything seemed to be in place?

To explain all this, we’ll have to go back a bit. The first thing to say is that I’m “Severely Sight Impaired” – in other words, I can’t see much at all, or much to be useful. My independence is very lacking; I concentrated on GCSEs so much that I think I let my mobility and drive for independence go to the sidelines. That’s a whole other issue but the point is that I don’t have much independence; just being visually impaired isn’t the sole reason because there are so many VI people who lead independent lives and are happy. For me, instead of going to a special school for Sixth Form, the idea of going to one for a year after my A-Levels finished to increase my independence was suggested to me and I finally started to realise that not only would it be a great idea but it would make me much happier and more confident.

I applied for 2018 entry, got a place on what they call a Pre-Entry Assessment and went there in October. I can honestly say it was such a great experience – I spoke to the teachers there and the people who could really help me to get funding to go. It was then that I started to truly realise that applying to university whilst I was there would be a better option, for reasons I’ll get onto in a minute. After coming back from the assessment, I got a phone call saying that I had a place (in my usual fashion, I was shocked and I think I genuinely squealed?).

Up until 2 months ago, the resolution of applying and deferring held. However, I had some reservations about the whole thing. Firstly, I thought, if I got a place at the college for the year after, I could just apply there and that stress would be reduced. Going there and discussing it with them helped with that: they were supportive and one of the staff members mentioned to me that deferring might actually cause me more stress in case something went wrong. At the moment, the less stress I have, the better.

As well as that practical side of things, I have extremely bad mental health at the moment. In no way is that an excuse to not do something but many things are going on in my life, such as new opportunities but also personal issues, which means that my stress levels are off the charts. University applications have made that so much worse. I know that just delaying it isn’t the answer, that I should work on it, but for me it doesn’t feel like delaying or avoiding. It just feels like I can apply when I personally feel ready.

There are many reasons why applying now would be a good idea and I get that. First, it gets it out the way; it also gives me a goal to work towards. It puts me in the mindset of higher education and also would make my future a little more certain, yet this can all be done next year. This has all been said to me, both by others and by myself, but those arguments don’t convince me. Because I know that I’ll be able to apply next year, that I’ll have more time and I don’t feel right about applying this year, I think that applying next year will be the best option for me. It won’t be the same for many people but we’re all individuals and what works for someone won’t work for someone else and vice versa.

A lot of my teachers have told me to apply this year and defer. I’ve explained some of my reasoning to people; most understand but some don’t at all. However, I know that plans and people and lives change. Hell, next year I might decide I don’t want to go to university at all, that I want to do a different course or that I don’t like the unis I applied to. Also, it means I can apply with the results I already have: motivation of getting a certain grade has never held me up. Because of that, I’m not going to be putting that awful pressure on myself that made me collapse into myself before; I just feel that it might be better for me all round. It will probably make me feel the most healthy, the most put together and the least stressed out of my options.

I want to apply when I know I’m giving myself the best opportunities I can. My personal circumstances – where I know I’m taking a year out next year – have allowed me to do that. At the moment, pretty much everything is uncertain compared to what it was before. That’s okay. Life doesn’t always have to be about certainty.

Whether you apply this year, the next or the year after, remember that you should always put yourself first. There will be things you do, decisions you make, that people won’t understand, where they think you’re not being sensible or that you’re just taking the “easy” way out. Remember, though, that life has a thousand different roads you can go down and it’s fine if your road doesn’t run in the direction you thought it would.

Don’t be afraid of doing something that’s not “typical” of what people usually do. For whatever reason, you might decide that doing what the majority of your friends are doing isn’t for you right now. Consider all your options but most importantly? Don’t let university applications be the most daunting, most terrifying thing ever. You’ve got a life to live besides that, after all.

I hope this has helped anyone, whether that be to realise they do want to apply now or not, or just to let you think a little. I’ve done enough screaming over uni – I don’t want you to do the same if people are being shitty about your decisions.

Are you applying to uni this year? Did you decide to take a year out? Let me know in the comments!

From Elm πŸ™‚

She is Me | Who I Used to Be

There was a girl once that was afraid of saying “I love you” but after a while, she got over her fear and revelled in the blooming exultation of wanting to say it. That girl said it to someone, happy, smiling because it was correct and there was no fear attached, no turning back from the gaping yet welcoming truth. The idea of a feeling crashed inside her chest as waves on sand, shaking with the enormity of it; she carried it in her heart, a glorious gift of secret longing. Solid and golden, it was just beyond the hand of someone else, flittering; they kept it, shared, forever. Until it wasn’t.

There was a girl who loved writing. Words poured out of her, like expelling a breath; they tangled together in waves and shadows and created pictures she couldn’t see. She tasted the air and it echoed with words: there were letters in her smile and the solace she got was from creating a story. With eyes shining with new life, she took the whole world in as if it was hers to rebuild – as if she could change the world with a grin. She was poetic and altogether too whimsical, sharply realistic yet also prone to fantastical dreams in her spare time.

This girl devoured music, floating along with pianos and guitars yet grounded with her voice. Singing, not bird-like but nature-like, connected her to reality in the same way that writing let her explore it. She would spent time smiling over songs, heart swelling as the individual notes gave her some identity. Now, that view is glorified – perhaps she just listened – but to me, she was beautiful in it.

Despite her protests, she adored learning – it lit a spark in her as she ranted over books, characters growing and being shaped inside her head. It was as if she herself was a book, filled with little nuances that only came to light after she didn’t know herself much any more. They were good traits, solid, dependable – she was motivated, a steady pulse of resolve thrumming round her body.

Loyal, strange, sometimes wild, heart fluttering at the touch of a hand and when she kissed someone for the first time, her heart would warm whenever she thought of it. There was a little basket of memories she kept inside there, of people who loved her and called her beautiful – of the people she believed when they told her, even if she said she didn’t. Looking at her now, you wouldn’t think it; she doesn’t think it. Was that how she really was? Is she pretending she was more? When I think of her, though, I think of someone who, though still within me, was far more open and happily honest.

As her heart broke, that girl became more herself; she had morals and a complex, wonderful mind that loved her friends more than her own happiness. She was not happy, yet she was slightly content; she had a wealth of emotion among her shattered love that rose to the surface with an easy push. She was respectful, heart clanging painfully yet flowering with blossoms of hope and closure and expressed mourning. She was a whirlpool, except the foam rose high into the air, still holding hands and wishing fervently, a string-tether to her heart, for any kind of happiness.

I say this because this girl didn’t realise what was right in front of her until it had moved on. In living life, she didn’t know how much she cherished it until she wasn’t she any more, until she was replaced by someone who is more of a blank. The vibrant colours and personal identity, once so flourishing and silver, became bronze and duller as she grew smaller. She’s still there, in a little cavity called Hope, in a little drawer called Please Remember Me.

That girl is buried somewhere. I’d really, really like it if she came to the surface one day. Maybe she will; maybe I’ll remember that she is me. “Please Remember Me,” she whispers, after all. I just have to wait.

From Elm πŸ™‚

The Key To Tomorrow | An Amazing Organisation

Hi everyone!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a blogger called Dani, who writes at Behind Stress. She came to me about a campaign she started with somebody else and as soon as I knew what it was, I knew I wanted to talk about it or here. Both to spread awareness about it and also to show that people do go out and make a difference.

Two friends have set up an organisation called The Key to Tomorrow. Its aim is to “make helping people easier”: every season, they help a different charity. It’s not just them: they encourage anyone who wants to to get involved. For instance, this season, they’re helping local homeless shelters: you can donate items such as clothes to your local shelters.

What I love about this is the aim. I feel like the whole spirit of this is that anyone can help anyone else, regardless of gender, age, or any category or box you can put people in. Influencing one person, or helping one person, at a time can start to have a snowball effect where you can make some serious positive changes.

It isn’t just big organisations who can do something. If you start out small from a genuine place of love then you can slowly start to help more and more people, more and more charities, as I know these friends want to do.. I wish I’d thought of something like this; they’ve shown they’re committed to helping, not just talking about it, because they’ve set this up.

Next season, they’re looking to promote awareness of mental health, gender or why it’s a great idea to volunteer. Needless to say, I absolutely love all three of these ideas. Their spring logo will be available on their website; I’ve attached the winter logo as a featured image on this post.

I honestly get really inspired when anything like this happens. When people my age – or any age – want to get involved with charities, it further inspires me to want to do something. As many of you know, I thrive off helping people and making their lives a little easier, whether that be by talking or doing something practical for them if I can. This kind of organisation is perfect for that mindset and I know I’m going to try and get involved for that reason. It’d be great if some of you could, too. If enough people help, you can change the lives of others. (That should become my slogan)

Contact Information

TKTM’s website can be found herehttp://thekeytotomorrow.wordpress.com – or alternatively on Instagram – @thekeytotomorrow – or Twitter – @keytotomorrow.

As well as that, you can find Dani on her blog and also on her Twitter. She, along with her friend, is an incredibly creative person and I admire them so much because they are seeking to help people in any way they can. As they say, “anyone can help” and I completely agree with that. Give people a means to help others and they could do anything.

I’ve really liked doing these kinds of posts. If you like it also, have any feedback or would like me to talk about any organisations or movements you’ve set up, you can Email me or visit my contact page. I’d love to hear what you thought!

From Elm πŸ™‚