Before They Forget

Last Saturday, I spent the day with one of my best friends, Red. We walked round the town where he lives, had lunch and chatted; it was amazing. In the evening, I went to Rose and Poppy’s house – my two oldest friends, who I probably spent the most time with in childhood besides family. Two days after that, I saw Pearl and her two sisters (we made Oreo cheesecake and it was delicious); yesterday, I saw Ivy, who I’ve known since primary school. This is all before I go to college and there’s a specific reason for that.

What struck me most, and has made an impression on me up to now, was the time I spent with Rose and Poppy. Not because I didn’t have a good time with the others – I made such fantastic memories with each one of them – but because it made me realise that my friendship with them is incredibly strong. Nonetheless, I’m very afraid – most of all for those two – that they’ll forget me. Saturday only highlighted that fear. Sounds confusing? I’ll explain.

Let me explain some background things before, so it’s easier to understand. When I was growing up, I didn’t have many deep conversations with Rose and Poppy. We almost grew up as sisters – having so much love for each other that we didn’t have to have those conversations in order for our friendship to be cemented. In recent years, I’ve worried that because of that, they don’t even like me. Whilst it’s true that they found me annoying as a child, everybody did (for good reason), I do think that we have a really stable friendship. It’s different to a lot of my other ones: I could probably rock up to their house with no warning and they wouldn’t care; I consider their family an extension of mine; we can hang out for hours and sing awfully together without it becoming boring. We don’t need to talk about the world’s problems (though we do). However, recently, experiences have shown me that they are there when I need their help, and vice versa.

I had a party recently where a few of my friends, from all different places, were there. At that party, I had one of the worst breakdowns I’ve ever had. It was absolutely terrifying because though I’d had alcohol, it was absolutely not fuelled by that: it had been boiling beneath the surface for such a long time that it all came bursting out. Most of my friends were able to deal with me crying my eyes out but the one that took me by surprise was Poppy. She and Rose had never, ever seen me like that: they’d never had much of a hint that my mental health was so bad. Even so, she sat with me, held my hands and reassured me. Despite never having experienced me even remotely like that, she didn’t run away from it. I apologised over and over and yet she carried on helping, not making fun of me and not making me feel shit for being unhappy.

That’s stayed with me. On Saturday, I was nervous to see them because I wasn’t sure how they’d act around me. I don’t know why I was scared because they acted completely the same. We sang; Rose yelled at Poppy for being slow because we were supposed to go on a walk; I felt utterly at ease. There wasn’t this pressure of “I have to act fine” but equally, I wasn’t unbelievably anxious either.

The change to this occasion was that we were all more aware of each other and our difficulties. As we started on our walk, Rose asked if I was feeling more okay and I said no, though I was more in control of it. Rose, being in the same year as me, applied to uni and didn’t get into her first or insurance choice. We talked about that, how it made her feel and I could tell she was visibly upset. I don’t think that a few years ago, any of us could have shown that level of emotion because it was more difficult. When we got back to theirs, Rose went off to talk to her parents. I walked upstairs and caught Poppy as she was preparing to go out to a party. I spoke to her: not like a sister but as someone who had gone through the same confusing emotions of feeling like a failure all the time but wanting so desperately to succeed that you have contrary emotions warring inside your head.

After having talked to Poppy, explaining to her how I thought Rose was feeling, I went downstairs again. I think I got through to her: I feel really comfortable talking to Poppy about that kind of thing now because she’d seen me so fragile at my party. I gave Rose a huge hug and sat by her until my dad came to pick me up. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how right it felt to help them: I already know them inside out and so it didn’t ever feel like it was forcing it.

So, where does the fear of being forgotten come from, after all this? I suppose now that I have some security in my head about them, my mental health is turning it around. Because I’m moving to a college for a year, I’m terrified I’ll change and that they won’t recognise me any more. Of all people, I couldn’t bare it if I drifted apart from them. It would be like ripping my heart out because I honestly love them so much. The thought of losing them makes me feel ill.

This fear doesn’t just lie with them. With all my friends, there’s this perpetual worry that I’m not going to be enough for them to remember. For example, I think that I haven’t been a good enough friend to them to be of any significance. I’ve been trying to reassure myself by seeing people, by proving to myself that these fears are unfounded, but it’s not working as well as I’d like. What if I lose so many of my friends because of distance? What if they don’t care about me, or think that I don’t care about them, and so it all drifts away? I refuse to accept the concept that “some friends will always drift apart” because that’s not how it has to be.

I’ll be publishing this on the day I move to college. These thoughts will be running through my head: I just hope I don’t drown in them. I hate it when it’s so overwhelming, like it is now.

If any of you are going through a similar thought process, remember that people do care about you. You’re worth remembering. I wish I could give more advice but the reality is that I can’t think past my own worries. I promise you though, we can do this. Whether we have 50 friends or 5 by the end of it, we can do it.

I just don’t want to be forgotten.

Love from Elm 🙂

I Cried at my A-Level Results

On the morning of Results’ Day, I woke up feeling so ill that I couldn’t do much. I say “woke up”, it was more like “got up” because I’d hardly got any sleep the night before. It was a mixture of sheer panic and the inability to quiet my mind; I procrastinated sleeping by wailing about how scared I was to the friends that would put up with it.

My dad, Mum, a friend I call Rapunzel who’s been staying for a few days and I travelled to school by car because I live around 40 minutes away. On the way there, I had to listen to music to shut my brain off. I got into school, after being unable to function in the car, and I could barely breathe. The fear was unbelievable, especially because I was one of the first ones there.

We got into the hall and I just remember hearing this awful ringing in my ears. It was like nothing else mattered and I felt so weak that I had to hold my mum’s arm really tightly. Because we were pretty much first in line, my results were given to us quickly in an envelope (which of course I couldn’t read).

When my parents opened the results, my immediate response was “how bad is it?” For weeks now, I’d been setting myself up for failure, telling myself I’d do terribly. I was so afraid of disappointing people that I told my parents and everyone that I’d done awfully and I believed it myself. I can’t stress how much I thought I’d fucked up.

Turns out, I got amazing results – far better than I ever could have dreamed. When I found out my English result, I screamed so loudly that I felt like the whole hall went silent; Rapunzel picked me up and I was so happy – like I couldn’t believe. My friend Swan also got her results and we ran at each other, shrieking. I’m just so proud of all of my friends because they did fantastically, after having worked so hard. I hugged so many teachers, finally able to congratulate myself, with concrete evidence that my brain couldn’t disprove.

Afterwards, Rapunzel and I went to Swan’s house. There, we watched hilarious videos, relaxed and screamed a lot. The day had such an unreal quality to it, yet everything felt a little more vibrant. We met up with some friends and had lunch; it was so much more chilled than anything I’d done in school because I properly felt – and feel – free.

It’s been almost surreal, these last few days. At the weekend, I went to one of my best friend’s houses to stay and there, I felt lighter than I have in months. I’ve come to terms with a lot these past few weeks and that’s really shown in how I even react to myself. Sure, my mental health has really dipped recently but it feels as if there’s a massive weight off my shoulders. Now I’m not quite sure what to do with myself, though I’m still keeping busy as a distraction.

Whether you got the results you wanted or not, you should be proud of yourself. A-Levels were some of the hardest things we’ll ever do and we got through them: that counts for something. No matter what happens, there are always options and you will always have choices – that might not help right now but just hold onto what you can do rather than what you’ve done. You aren’t a failure.

It’s over now – you’ve done it; all that adrenaline isn’t needed for being afraid. Results Day was the final obstacle and now you can go on to live your life. God, I feel like I need a year-long sleep. Start again, if you want to, because you deserve that.

I’m proud of myself and I can really say that now. When I was going through shit in the middle of the year, my Head of Year told me that I would be and she was right. I bloody well did it, got through, survived, and no-one can take that away from me.

Love from Elm 🙂

I Can’t be Alone

Over the last 3 weeks, I’ve been so busy. I went to Yorkshire to see my friend, who I call Rapunzel, at the end of July and had some of the best times in the last few months. I saw Heathers the Musical with one of my oldest internet friends. Another friend of mine, S, came to stay on the 5th and left yesterday. But now he’s gone, now that I’m alone, I remember just why I keep myself busy: to avoid this.

What is this? It’s the terrifying feeling of not wanting to be alone with your own thoughts. It’s doing anything possible to try and stop them from taking over. It’s not knowing whether today will be okay or not so just trying to hold off the flood but now that the flood has finally caught up, it’s fucking awful. How do I deal with these emotions when I don’t quite understand what they are?

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve been trying to frantically do things to stop feeling. Doing things, like seeing friends, just helps to not make the feelings overwhelming. For instance, seeing Rapunzel and then S gave me more freedom and it also meant that there was someone there who could help me or talk to me if things got really rough. I had an amazing time with them but as they’re two of my closest friends, now that they’re gone (although I’m seeing Rapunzel really soon), I just feel painfully lonely. Loneliness and being alone, whilst suffering from horrifying bouts of bad mental health, is not a good combination.

Part of me wants to write and write and write until it all just pours out. I cried about how bereft I felt last night, then cried further about how pathetic that made me feel. Apparently, I can’t cope if I don’t have someone around me. It’s not like I can be eternally around people – I do need time on my own sometimes – but people being here makes it easier to cope. People being here gives me an excuse to work through my feelings, if not for me then for them so that I don’t ruin anything for them. Being alone means that excuse shatters and I have no reason, meaning that I just… Don’t care.

Then there’s that part of me that is terrified and has no energy. I hate being alone, where I feel like I have nowhere to go and nothing to do and no-one to help me. Realistically, I know people are here but that doesn’t help when I can’t even convince myself that getting up is worth doing. The thought of doing anything much, from writing a blog post I need to do to eating lunch to texting people, makes me feel so sick that I don’t end up doing those things. I’ve constantly been wanting to cry all day and I’m exhausted. Everything feels hollow and I’m always thinking that everyone hates me, that I’m making the worst mistakes and that I shouldn’t speak in case I upset anyone. God, why is this so difficult?

The bottom line is, I’m scared of my thoughts. Sure, I’ve made progress towards recovering – I’m nowhere near as constantly unstable as I was during April or May. However, sometimes it still gets so bad that I can’t speak or move or do anything that doesn’t involve me wanting to run away or slip off into oblivion. I just wish I didn’t need external reassurance: I wish I could find it within myself to feel more whole.

I’ve had moments of clarity today. I got up this morning after a few hours of alternately doing nothing and then crying. I had a shower, got changed, brushed my hair (it calms me down for some reason) and then finally ate something. Then again, now, I don’t have much energy. Later, Kel is arriving and I’m so glad of that because I’ve been wanting to see him for ages and also, it’ll help me to pull myself back from whatever hell I’ve managed to stuff myself in this time.

Until this evening, where I’m required to move (and that’s a good thing), I think I’ll try and distract myself. Perhaps I’ll watch something on Netflix (I might watch Outnumbered or Brooklyn Nine-Nine because they remind me of people that I love), or listen to music. Reading, right now, takes up too much energy; I planned to write about how I was feeling but I’m way too drained for that or to even think. Usually, I wouldn’t suggest distractions for anyone because that’s avoiding feeling but I want this to get down to a manageable level. As of now, it’s so overwhelming that I want to scream.

I’m sorry for all this sporadic and negative posting. I want to write at my own pace but often I do feel guilty for putting people through all this undirected shrieking.

What do you do when you hate the idea of being alone with your own thoughts?

From Elm 🙂

Guest Post – Elm Appreciation Post

This is a post written by my beautiful friend Gracie which made me screech with happiness when I read it. I love her and will forever be proclaiming that NONE OF THIS IS TRUE but she’s unfortunately determined and wanted to prove me wrong with this post. I hope you enjoy this and thank you, Gracie, for being a beautiful human.


Elm and I have been friends for almost three years now (although it feels as if I’ve known her forever), and I truly believe that she is my soulmate. Without her, I wouldn’t be here today, writing this post; without her, I wouldn’t have travelled internationally with friends; without her, some of the best moments of my entire life wouldn’t have happened, and without her, I truly don’t know what I’d do. We have so many incredible memories together: singing ridiculously loudly in the shower, hitting pillows, being literally telepathic and waving at one another on FaceTime (even though we’re both seasoned members of the blind squad) are just a few. We’d be here all day if I listed everything and – to be perfectly honest – none of our inside jokes would make any sense to you (literally neither of us even know what we’re talking about most of the time, so we can’t really expect anyone else to).

My favourite thing about Elm is definitely her family – don’t tell her, but the only reason I’m friends with her is because her stepmother’s stir fry is yummy, her dad and I have formed a band and her sister is good at making very, VERY alcoholic punch. Obviously I’m joking (my actual favourite thing about Elm is bullying her for her height!), but seriously, her family are some of the kindest, most loving and welcoming people on this planet, and I genuinely feel blessed to know them. Elm is absolutely just as compassionate, altruistic and benevolent as her parents, and I know that – regardless of anything – she will always be there for a phone call or a five-day-sleepover. One of my favourite memories with her is sitting in her back garden talking, with her dad showing us tomatoes and random other vegetables at arbitrary intervals, because it just felt so natural. That was the first time I’d stayed over at her house, and – from that moment onwards – I knew that there would be no pretences whatsoever, that I could be completely myself around this family, and that – even if only for a week or so – I belonged.

Both Elm and I have struggled (and are struggling still) with our mental health, which can sometimes cause a friendship to crack and splinter. With us, though, it’s achieved exactly the opposite: we calm one another down when we’re anxious; wake one another up when all we want to do is sleep; talk over feelings and emotions way into the night when we don’t feel like speaking at all, and, most importantly, we show one another the love that we can’t always show ourselves. The brilliant thing about our friendship is that it isn’t toxic: one of us doesn’t constantly vent to the other, with our issues taking precedence, but rather we mutually support each another to grow and evolve as people, regardless of how positive we’re feeling at the time.

One thing in particular that I’m crazily proud of Elm for is her journey to independence. IN the last year especially, she has started travelling independently on buses and trains, preparing and cooking food when home alone and learning walking routes in and around her local area.To most of you, that was probably a little underwhelming, but please remember that those things are difficult when you have no useful vision. Usually, both Elm and I are advocates for not posting about sight loss at every opportunity, but I had to mention the progress she’s made (I mean she’ll never admit how incredible she is herself) because I am inspired (I USED THE DREADED ‘I’ WORD!!! CRINGE) by her determination and tenacity every single day.

There will never be enough words (in any language) to enable me to articulate just how much I adore Elm, and how much her friendship means to me. She is my best friend – the one I call when I’m scared or lonely, the person who never fails to make me laugh – and I am unbelievably lucky to know her. Elm, thank you for always letting me be weird with you. Thank you for saying the most ridiculous things in stupid voices to make me laugh when all I want to do is cry. Thank you for trusting me, for letting me trust you, for always being there for me.

Thank you always,
Grace

PS: I wub.

Life is Hectic

Sometimes, things happen in my life that make me sit up and ask myself, “Is this really happening?” I’ve had some pretty surreal experiences happen to me over the last year, where my life feels a little bit unreal. It’s hectic, to say the least!

There are memories that I look back on which fill me with joy. Most of those recent ones come from Vienna, where I screamed with laughter around my friends. Walking down the streets, holding onto each other at one point and getting so many things wrong almost made me feel like life couldn’t truly get this hilariously good. I came back to England and the cold shock of ‘reality’ made me pause. To be honest, I don’t quite know what’s happening.

I was approached on Tuesday by a representative of a company, asking me whether I wanted to audition for something. I have to be vague as I can’t actually say what it is. However, when I looked up what was required I almost screamed. This was kind of unfortunate as I was in the middle of a crowded place and so shouting would have drawn too much attention. It’s the kind of thing I never thought could happen, from an industry which I never thought I’d be properly involved in. It’s doubtful that big things will come from it but I want and need that experience. I just hope it can increase my confidence.

Acting has been going well: I’ve been offered jobs and because of my crippling insecurity, it’s been surprising because I honestly thought I was shit. I’ve been in contact with my agent too (and God, that’s weird to say) and I don’t feel like an utter failure. Though I haven’t been to any further auditions, things are looking up, especially as my attitude to everything is slowly improving as my mental health isn’t as unstable as it was before.

On Tuesday night, my heart crashing with emotion, I finally got closure from a situation that had been running round in my head for 8 months. It was the most freeing I’d ever felt and at one point I actually screamed, “I CANNOT BELIEVE I AM HAVING THIS CONVERSATION!” The person in question was amazing about it (I honestly don’t know how I thought it could be any different) and the honesty was refreshing. As it was a huge part of my life and I didn’t want to talk about it on the blog until I got closure, I need to dedicate a whole other blog post to it. Maybe then, I can finally start to process it all.

Friendships have been going so well too, ever since I crawled out of the pit of A-Levels. It’s been surprising to me that I can still be a good friend, that I can still be an interesting person to talk to. Not only have I gained closure as I said above but I’ve also had some pretty honest conversations with some friends about how my actions in the past affected them but also, how they affected me. Very recently, I’ve become friends with Connor and there are some people who you click with immediately and after a day of knowing them, you just know that they’re going to be a part of your life: he’s incredibly kind and inspires me so much; it shocked me that I could still form those connections and not feel like a fraud for having them.

Today, I’m going to a sort of induction at the college for the visually impaired that I’m attending next year. There will be so many people there and in a way, I’m really excited but also fucking terrified. I’m desperately scared that people will hate me and that I’ll make the worst impression but this is a huge new chapter of my life that I want to experience as fully as I can.I don’t know where any of this will go. But really, I’m excited. I’m excited to see what life, with all its crazy turns and “WHAT IS HAPPENING” moments, will show me.

Have you had any weird things happening recently?

From Elm 🙂

I Went to Pride!

Yesterday was such a brilliant day. To be honest, it was the best day I’ve had in such a long while. Why? Because yesterday, I went to Pride in London for the second time (the first time was two years ago). The sun was shining (a lot); my voice is still a bit rusty but I feel like I truly made memories that will last a lifetime.

It took a bit of organisation, first of all. Originally, it was going to be a group from school – me, Wren and our other friend who’s moving abroad in a week or so for university. Then, I invited one of my closest friends, Lu, because she’s a fabulous bean and I haven’t seen her in months. Pearl – who I talk about here – was added to our group too, along with her two sisters and I was so hyped for that that I did a lot of screeching. My other friend who I’ve known since I was 4, Ivy, would also be at Pride and so we planned to meet her as well. In the morning, Lu and I met at a train station, then met her friend, before I went off to have a really early lunch with someone I hadn’t seen in months. As you can tell, there was a lot of “And then we met this person!”

The friend I hadn’t seen in months was actually a woman who had been my chaperone in the filming I did in December last year. Her name’s Chris and I hadn’t seen her in six months. Despite that, as soon as I saw her, I immediately felt just as I had when I’d seen her last – we joked, insulted each other, laughed and almost cried. We went to a cafe, spoke about our lives and had such a lovely time. I forgot how much I got on with her but hopefully, we should be seeing each other soon – I think there are some people who will remain in your life, no matter how much time goes between you seeing each other. Saying goodbye wasn’t difficult, simply because of that.

I sometimes get an attitude where planning isn’t so important. That was why, after having met Chris, we then met up with the friends who we’d originally organised the day with. Waiting outside Leicester Square station, it took a while for them to find us but when they did, I full-on screamed and rushed at Wren. Our other friend from school (who is a genuine icon) was there too so our group, who now numbered five, wandered off to find the parade. Along the way, Lu and I got rainbow flags; Wren helped me tie it to my cane (and by helped, I mean did it for me because I’m pathetic). Again, I screamed a lot as we neared the sounds of music and cheering.

Eventually, after much walking through crowds and stopping to see people going past us, we found a spot by some railings in Trafalgar Square. The parade would be passing directly beneath us – we were one of the first people there and so we stood right by the railings. As soon as the parade started, a huge cheer went up: people blew whistles and screamed and the whole square was a mass of noise and celebration. That continued as everyone passed us – I honestly roared at one point. After a lot of attempts, Pearl and her sisters found us and then Mit (another friend I met through blogging) arrived. Everyone was there and because I couldn’t see the parade, what filled me with joy was all my friends being there as the celebration and cheers swirled around us. It was so beautiful; Lu and I were yelling; I tried to hug everyone: it felt like I was on top of the world for a brief moment.

After a bit of time, when the heat was increasing and we felt our energy declining, we decided to leave the parade. Instead, we walked to a cafe and then to St. James’s Park, the sun beating down as I almost melted. Going through the streets whilst laughing and then finally arriving at the park, finding a place to sit and then just chatting was just as special as the parade. It was calm: some of us talked; some of us watched the football game “FOOTBALLs COMING HOME) and some of us decided it would be a great idea to climb a tree. Pearl, her sisters and her friend had to leave early to say goodbye to some kittens they’d been fostering (which was sad because seeing them again was so wonderful) and after that, Ivy arrived with a friend of hers. By the end of it, we were pretty much sitting in a circle, with two or three conversations going on at once as the weather slowly started to become less humid.

At around half 5, Ivy, her friend and I went back to her house. I felt quite emotional saying goodbye: I hugged Mit until it was painful, wailed at Lu that I loved her and told our school friend that I was proud of her – as she’s moving abroad and I may never see her again. A day was over that felt important, where I was entirely present and loved by people.

I smiled, or felt happy inside, all day which is a rarity for me. Not only was the atmosphere electric and amazing but I was surrounded by people who I love and who have become special to me in their individual ways. We laughed and I screeched and it lived up to a day of acceptance for me, where my identity – whatever that may turn out to be – was alright because people around me loved me. I felt like I truly connected with everything.

That’s what I live for. And I want to repeat those kinds of days for as long as possible, save up the snapshots of memory from Pride and love and beauty to hold with me, to remind me that though my identity can change, I’ll still be marching forward in the parade of existence and no one can stop me from feeling that euphoria.

From Elm 🙂

It’s Prom Today!

Today (although I’m writing it the day before because rebel) is our Year 13 Prom. It’s being held in a quite fancy venue, our year-group – or as many as bought tickets – together for the final time before Results’ Day. I don’t know what to expect but considering that before Year 11 Prom, it was really hectic, I’m guessing it’ll be even more hectic this time.

My dress is a medium blue, with little white and pink flowers on it. After it got adjusted, it fits me really well and I’m happy with how I feel in it. As for makeup and hair, I have no idea what I’ll do – I think I might have my hair down but who knows? I’m attempting to be more relaxed about this. It’s failing.

I can’t help but be a little nervous. Unlike my Year 11 Prom, I’m not getting my hair or makeup professionally done. My friends are helping me with it and I think it’s a testament to how much I utterly love them and how much more I’ve opened up that I trust them enough to help with my appearance. However, I’m still worried. It’s not a reflection on my friends but rather can be explained by my wild insecurities that won’t – excuse my language – fuck off.

Perhaps it’s a bunch of internalisation talking but I know I still look like a child. I don’t want to look like that when I’m at the Prom but at the same time, I still want to look like myself. It really upsets me when people dismiss my appearance and treat me differently, or less seriously, because of it. It makes me feel hideous, the constant belief that I look far too young to be 18, that I look ridiculous, that I’m putting on a show of adulthood when really, I’ll always look fragile and small. This may all seem ridiculous and I’m trying to get rid of the frustrated scream that’s caught inside my throat. Time with friends will help that to diminish.

Before Prom, we’re having a pre-Prom at my friend Swan’s house. Three of us – Swan, someone who I’ve decided to call Owl and I – are getting ready together because having photos with some of our group, then going to school and finally to the venue itself. It’ll give me a chance to calm down, I think, from all the nerves.

I know that I’ll have a wonderful time, surrounded by people I genuinely respect and love. This is the final celebration, if you will, of my secondary education. Or, in less formal terms, a time where I take the piss out of myself and everyone else, dance horribly, stave off mental breakdowns and say a last goodbye to people I won’t see again for ages, or possibly ever.

After Prom, I think that a lot of the year are going into town, potentially going clubbing. I’ve never been clubbing before so it should be interesting at best and disastrous at worst. Me drunk is horrifying, to say the least, and I expect by the time I get back to my friend’s house, I’ll be exhausted. If I do end up wearing heels, I may fall over which would complete the disastrous blind stereotype I’m going for.

It’s just a shame that the majority of my year are still strangers to me. Now, it feels too late to start to get to know those I haven’t known before. Saying that, maybe I can show myself for one final time before everything changes that I can make an impression, that I’m special in a little way, that these 7 years haven’t been for nothing.

I want to do that. I don’t want to be scared. Most of all? Selfishly, perhaps, I want to be beautiful to myself.

Have you had Prom yet? How did it go?

From Elm 🙂

Spoken Word and Smiles | My Amazing Day with GracieChick!

On the last day of term, which so happened to be my blogging anniversary I went into London with my friend Swan to meet the amazing Gracie. It was a trip we’d been planning for weeks, spawned from a comment I’d left on a post she wrote asking if I could come and watch her in her Spoken Word performance. It started as a little idea and then flourished into one of the best days of my life.

After school, Swan and I went back to my house and after eating a little, prepared to go out. We were travelling to South London, not entirely sure of the route we were taking but the laughter that ensued from that was some of the most full laughter I’ve had in a while. It was raining but the journey in wasn’t bad: I was internally screeching with excitement, texting Gracie with far too many exclamation marks (as I always do).

We met outside the station, me accidentally waving in the wrong direction and then making some comment about how much of a mess I was. It took a while to sink in that I was actually there and on the short walk to the theatre, I couldn’t stop smiling, although I had my hood up from the rain so that I didn’t look odd with a massive grin on my face. It had taken some organisation to do this and now that I was finally there, it felt surreal.

Over hot chocolate, Swan, Gracie and I talked about everything. Conversations ranged from what our lives were like to me endlessly fangirling over bloggers – I spent a while exclaiming over how lovely and supportive Bri is. A big subject was identity and how interesting it can be to how a blogging name vs. your actual name. We talked for an hour and a half before Gracie had to go for rehearsal, by which time the café we were in had nearly emptied.

After Gracie went to practice, her family offered to take Swan and I out for dinner which was so thoughtful of them. We went to a Vegetarian and Vegan Indian restaurant, perfect for Swan (as she’s Vegetarian with plans to go Vegan in the summer). Gracie’s mum, dad, younger brother and sister are some of the nicest people I’ve met – conversations were easy, friendly and made me feel so included. They’re so supportive of Gracie’s blog which I thought was amazing, as it took a long time before I even told my mum about this blog. As became even more pronounced later, I neither felt especially Elm-like or my real name-like (which I nearly just wrote THAT WAS TERRIFYING): I didn’t feel like I needed an identity just then because I was just present there; it didn’t matter what name I went by.

When we’d finished eating, we walked back to the theatre to collect our tickets. We went into the room where the performances were held after meeting Gracie’s aunt and uncle; there were so many other people there despite it being a relatively small room. By that point, I couldn’t wait to hear Gracie: I love her poetry and so hearing it being performed was going to be a real honour. As I’d also not heard much urban music before, I was seriously looking forward to the other performances too.

The atmosphere was electric, made more so by the enclosed and familiar space. With the lights dimmed and us sitting right at the front, I felt anticipation building up inside me. This was all totally knew: the setting, the people there, the feeling of utter freedom. I had my fingertips on the table in front of me, which was what grounded me.

I love new experiences. That was why the music, a mixture of rap, reggae and acapella, affected me so much. I have a weirdly strong reaction to lyrics or particularly powerful beats and when I was surrounded by it, I could feel my breath in my lungs and my heart beating. Perhaps it’s because I’m a dreamer at heart but I felt like I was floating, then suddenly getting jolted back to earth. Gracie was the second performer and so I’d already had this reaction and, as I started to feel more and more happy and comfortable, the emotions of the whole thing were on a constant loop inside my head.

Gracie’s performance was, in a word, magical. Of the two poems she performed, “Beauty” spoke to me most: her voice rose and fell like she breathed and owned the words, coming forth straight from her heart. I absorbed those words, feeling hit with some kind of overwhelming emotion. The swell of pride I felt in the breaks between lines and in the thundering applause I gave after was immense. It felt amazing to be sitting there, witnessing the passion she has for words in real life, and being able to talk about it.

Leaving was the hardest part. I gave Gracie and her mum a massive hug and as Swan and I walked out of the theatre, I felt like I was about to cry. On the way home, when we ran for the train, I couldn’t stop a pervading sense of euphoria from making its way to my brain. It felt carefree, like I’d done something for myself which I truly, purely enjoyed.

This was the perfect end to my term, the perfect celebration of friendship and the best way to step out of my comfort zone whilst feeling the most myself I’ve felt in months. Having Swan beside me made it even better because I couldn’t think of a better person to go on this little adventure with. I’m so thankful that it all turned out so well in the end – from the minute the little flower of thought blossomed in my mind to it becoming a reality, I knew that this was something I wanted to do. For Gracie, for me but most of all, to have all the parts of my life that I love the most collide. It was fantastic and I can’t wait to meet up with Gracie and her lovely family again.

Thank you for such an amazing evening and for letting me smile so much. I miss you loads, you are awesome and I’m still buzzing!

Love from Elm 🙂

Hysterically Myself

I acted very strangely today. As I sit and reflect on it, waiting for my mum to be ready so we can bake together (which we haven’t done for years), I realise just how odd I was. Not bad odd – I acted like myself. Let me explain why that’s weird to me.

 

Today was a Friday; I’m always a little more happy on Fridays because it’s the end of the week. I spy an end to exhaustion but that’s always tempered by the knowledge that next week, the exhaustion will start again. It’s partly because I never get enough sleep but it’s also because I seem to live in a perpetual state of terror. Last night, something broke that cycle. Last night, I got a little less than 9 hours of proper sleep.

 

Sleep didn’t solve all my problems, of course, but it set the tone of the day to be not so drab and draining. I didn’t wake up this morning wanting to utterly crawl back inside my bed: I didn’t jump up with purpose because that hasn’t happened in years but I at least didn’t feel like I was about to genuinely expire. This was surprising to me because every single day I’ve woken up for the last few months, possibly longer, I’ve hated myself and wanted to scream. I wish I was exaggerating.

 

I ate something – not a lot, but I’ve been having really bad problems with eating lately and so at least it was something. After that, I sent a mildly panicked email to my history teacher: I kept repeating, over and over in my head, that I needed to do it so that I’d remember. Again, that set a quite manic (although I don’t like using that word) tone to the day. The point is that I did it; I stuck to a resolution which I haven’t done for weeks.

 

When I got into school, this weird mindset continued. I was quite spaced out when talking to a teacher but my reality snapped back into focus as soon as I was by myself. Apart from a few brief moments of anger when I thought about a couple of issues I’ve been having with my plans for next year – I’ll talk about that in a separate post – I didn’t feel like the world was hopeless.

 

In history, I was almost wild with how much I laughed. I did my work as much as I could, breaking off occasionally to hurl insults at my friend Red – you can read about some of my friends here. My eyes were wide but I smiled, only becoming upset with myself a couple of times. Compared with how it usually goes, it was an achievement; I have to take stock in little victories.

 

For the first time in a while – and yes, there’s a pattern here – I worked productively in my free periods. At break, I had talked with Wren and Swan, really feeling included and like they thought I wasn’t the worst person alive. I’ve been having serious self-esteem problems for, well, ever so this was a breath of fresh air. Then, I didn’t think about how much I was terrified I’d be left alone; I let my thoughts go a bit and tried to bring myself back to a time when I could smile without feeling fear. I worked until I felt ill, making notes at a furious pace and absolutely refusing to stop. That was, until Red and another girl he does Classics with found me and we talked until they had to leave. It was so nice to feel not unhappy about how much work I was doing but in also being forced to take a break. I didn’t feel guilty for that, apart from an irrational piece of guilt that I stomped on .

 

Walking to english was my favourite part of the day. I’d laughed at lunch again, barely feeling the insecurity that creeps up on me whenever I spend time with people now. With my friend Swan, I sang along to possibly the greatest song ever. As we got into the lesson, Swan was doing her seagull-laugh and falling on the floor; I was just standing there howling and leaning on a desk. That was how our teacher found us and as this is a usual occurrence, she barely made any comment. Throughout that lesson, I felt calm and not like I was about to cry whenever I thought about making a contribution. It was like how I’d acted at the beginning of year 12. I didn’t feel free but I didn’t feel trapped, either. At some point, I’ll write a post about how amazing my english teacher is because she pretty much saved me from breaking down several times.

 

Getting home was a bit of an ordeal because I started to “fade” again before I started writing this post. However, I won’t dwell on that because it’ll detract from the day. What I know is that I’m capable of not feeling so awful. It may not last – it probably won’t – but this was a respite from how I usually treat myself.

 

It may seem like this day was entirely positive and perhaps it was but this doesn’t mean that every day is going to be like this. I need to be realistic because even when I was happy, there was an almost hysterical quality to it. I didn’t want to stop the feeling but something in me knew that I shouldn’t feel this energetic all the time. Is that just my brain refusing to let me be happy or is it right? I don’t know.

 

I am capable of returning to who I was. Not even that – I have always been this, right up to now; I’m just letting that side show. It’s been so long that I’ve been myself, above all to myself, that I forgot what I was like. Now, I remember.

 

Even just a little bit, I remember. And I hope other people do too and that “myself” won’t be stifled.

 

Do you have days where you remember what you’re truly like? How do they make you feel?

 

From Elm 🙂

It’s My Friend’s 18th Birthday

Hello you,
The first time I met you was when you were 16 and so I don’t really have the right to be all “OMG you’re so old I knew you when you were a foetus!” but I do have the right to make you cringe so much that you no longer want to be friends with me. Prepare for it and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Unfortunately, you’ve seen the cringiest side of me so I can’t really hide it any more.

Today is your 18th birthday and I’m feeling quite emotional. Over the last 2 years, you’ve taught me so much about myself: that I can make mistakes, that I’m shit at replying but that I have the potential to grow and change and that I’m not such a terrible person after all. You’d bet to differ and I’ll probably get a message from you, after this, saying “I didn’t make you realise that so fuck off” but you’d be wrong. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have even realised that I needed to change because you’re one of the only people who points out my shit and makes me think about it.

On the subject of that, there are a lot of things you do which – if anyone else did it – it’d be weird and would make me feel grim. You can regularly make jokes about my past “relationships” that border on the horrific. Actually no, they are disgusting and I despise you but they make me laugh until I cry. Back when everything was making me upset and I honestly thought I was the worst person alive, those jokes were some of the only things that helped.

You go to a shit ton of effort for me and part of me doesn’t get why but I appreciate it. There was one time when you went totally out of your way to come and see me, which is one of my happiest memories ever. I can shriek on and on about how great I think you are, making your ego rise to the height of the Shard but I think you know all of it already. If you don’t, if you doubt yourself, I’ll consistently scream compliments at you, the assets of your personality that you forget about and make you absolutely hate me.

To put it politely, you know far too many embarrassing things about me. From all my foetus pictures to you hearing me cringing at how much I repress my thoughts, you’ve pretty much seen it all. I could go from sending you crying voice messages to yelling at you about how much I’d like to visit Kansas one day and various other Oz-related things. Really, how do you put up with me? (She says, narcissistically wailing about herself)

The amount of memes I have with you is ridiculous. I don’t know who started calling them “memes” and usually, it’s not my type of thing to say but I can’t see normal memes because blind and so I like referring to them as that. It was probably you and I wouldn’t want to steal your joke. I’m not sure if you’ll be around to talk this evening but if you are, I plan to say all our memes in one conversation. I could do it, if I really tried, but nothing would come of it if I did. It’d just be the same old thing I usually do.

At the end of the day I’m a writer, so I’ve done a lot of writing for your birthday. There’s this and a few other things too. You didn’t want a materialistic present so this was the best I could do; I hope it doesn’t totally disappoint you. I may not know every single little thing about you, I may not be the best person all the time but I want to show you that I care.

One day, we’ll sit by a lit fire, looking out at a moon I can’t even see and singing Britney Spears at the tops of our lungs. It’s the ultimate thing friends should do and though I think nothing like that’s going to happen, I can dream. One of the first things you ever said to me was that you’d like to sit on a park bench one time and just talk about everything and I haven’t forgotten that.

I trust you so much. I trust you enough that I know you’d tell me if this “present” was awful. Despite the majority of people not being able to understand what I’m talking about, I’m posting this here because I don’t want your birthday to go by without me doing anything. Blogging is how we became close and so it feels right to write it here.

I just have one thing to say to you before I go: check your Twitter.

Also, I love you and you are a fabulous human. You already know that but I’m reiterating it because 1) I like to repeat myself and 2) I don’t say it enough when I properly mean it.

From the Elmitron 🙂
P.S: Just saying, I nearly wrote my real name because you never call me Elm and if you do, it’s as a joke so THANKS FOR INADVERTENTLY TERRIFYING ME.