In Which I Met a Girl

Hello,
I bring to you, my most likely exasperated readers, the first proper Elm-love-life-update in, probably, a year. It’s the start of one. It’s the feelings. It’s the freedom I haven’t had in ages because for once, the person I’ll be talking about won’t be reading this. I need to talk about it so I don’t forget that I’m capable of this kind of feeling, writing, again.

Today, I met a girl. I’ll call her Pearl for the purposes of this blog because I want to give her a name at least connected to nature. We started speaking about a week and a half ago, online; even saying that makes me feel like people are judging me because it was on a dating app. I signed up to it because I’ve been feeling really uncomfortable with some internalised, unpleasant thoughts about my sexuality because of what people have said to me before (a post on that to come!). However, I didn’t start speaking to her as a way to “prove” something to myself. I started speaking to her because she was interesting, funny; because the first conversation we had included reasons why certain types of boxes were great; because I dn’t have to tone myself down like I have to do with some other people.

Every single day since then, we’ve spoken, as if we’ve known each other for ages. When she told me she liked YA novels, I shrieked out loud. When I fangirled about Simon vs., Autoboyography and books in general, I messaged her. Most of our fangirling conversations include all capitals and I don’t feel like I’c being annoying. My insecurities aren’t gone when I speak to her but they aren’t all-consouming and don’t make me want to shut down.

It wasn’t until earlier this week that I talked about meeting. Usually, I’m more cautious than this: I wait for a while before meeting people from online and often get terrified beforehand. With her, I suggested it, convinced she’d say no. We’d exchanged numbers a few days before and in my typical fashion, I said it in the cringiest way possible (including the fact that I was cringing in my message). When I asked if she wanted to meet, instead of ignoring me, she replied with “OMG YESS” and I was so happy that this was going well that I laughed. I’m not used to this, as you can tell. Then, I was done with being too cautious. I didn’t even pretend to not be apprehensive: I was nervous but not scared. I wanted to meet her because my disability wasn’t a talking point for her, because my talk of my family and endless wailing about things I loved didn’t put her off. She didn’t dismiss me or make me feel small.

When I talked to Wren about it, the only one who knew about it properly before it happened apart from my dad (for safety, just in case), I spoke about it in the most carefree way. I got taken over by this feeling that seemed foreign only because I hadn’t experienced it for a long time. It was anticipation. I was doing something I wanted to do, casually and without a massive fanfair, but it was still important. Pearl and I spoke on the phone and our planning turned into a conversation diversion about friends, our inability to plan and then finally some concrete ideas about when, where and how.

This morning, still tired from going out to London yesterday, I did a bit of creative “lying” to my mum. As she wouldn’t be okay with me seeing anyone I met online, least of all a girl, I told her I was meeting Ivy who you can read about here. I’d been texting Pearl all this time, figuring out which bus she was arriving in on so that I went to the right place. In the car journey on the way there, I kept smiling widely, to the point where my mum got suspicious and asked, “Are you meeting your secret boyfriend?” I burst out laughing, couldn’t stop and then told her that was bullshit.

When Pearl eventually found me, after my mum left, we hugged and I probably acted painfully weirdly. It was so natural from the start of it; we both already knew we were shit at making decisions and so our first stop was Costa. We stayed in there for an hour and a half, talking constantly about instruments, books, relationships and only remembering to order something when we were asked by someone who was most likely getting irritated by our chatter and me occasionally raising my voice to more than a conversational murmur. By the time we got out, it was gone 12 and because the weather was lovely, we decided to go to the nearby park.

Walking along the path in the quiet with her, whilst the sun shone on the right side of my face, felt so open. It was then we spoke about our childhoods and how cringey we were, regailing each other with stories that made me laugh so loudly that I’m sure it reverberated around the place we were standing. I never usually go out anywhere with people like that, mainly because I only have 3 friends who live near me who I’d be comfortable just wandering around with. This felt different: it felt relaxed.

It continued like this for the whole day, through lunch and when she came to my house. We sat on beanbags as she showed me videos of her when she was younger and I cried with laughter; she saw my infamous ornament shelf in my room and far too soon, it was quarter to five and we’d lost track of time. I remember thinking that I didn’t want the day to end because I’d felt absolutely comfortable, not like I was pretending to be funny or happy or anything. It felt right and when we hugged goodbye and she said we had to see each other again because this day was nice, I echoed it back to her and told her I’d had a great day. We’d spent the time talking about our lives and there wasn’t a second of our conversations that I wish I hadn’t said.

It’s safe to say I “like” her, in a way. I’m trying to not rush headlong into these feelings, or the beginnings of them, because that’s got me nowhere before. However, what’s so wrong with having them? Why is it that I’m holding myself back? It’s a fear of judgement, which I didn’t feel today. The day wasn’t romantic; we didn’t kiss, we didn’t hold hands; I certainly didn’t act more strangely than I usually do.

I thought I wasn’t able to do this anymore. To breathe and live, like I was worth something more than the twisted version of myself that appears inside my thoughts. I didn’t even have to try. I don’t have “feelings” for her but I might be on my way there and I know it sounds ridiculous, after a week and a half, but I need to cut myself some slack. It’s okay to have non life-altering, non earth-shattering feelings. It’s okay to be happy with that. It’s okay that the consequences, however scary they might be, won’t upset me as much as the last few times.

I’m okay and I’ve had an amazing day. I miss her and I know she didn’t feel the depth of emotion I felt today but I’m really glad that she wanted to spend time with me, genuinely, because she thinks I’m not boring or dull or any of the adjectives I describe myself to be. She’s not on a pedestal for me: she’s a person who makes me smile in a way that I thought was lost.

To the majority of my friends, this is completely new as I didn’t mention this before, at all. However, I’ve come to realise I’m now incredibly uncomfortable when talking about anything to do with my “love life”. I feel terrible that I didn’t talk about it before but I don’t know how to anymore; I don’t trust like I used to and that makes me feel guilty. I can’t let this ruin my day, though.

I’m not too bothered if people judge me for how I met her because I can live my life and I want to make the most of this time. What’s so wrong about that?

From Elm 🙂

Why Telling the Truth is Good

When you’re in a difficult situation, where your brain convinces you to lie to someone because you think it’ll hurt less (it doesn’t) and because you’re scared of them thinking worse of you, telling the truth after that can be extremely tricky. It can hurt both yourself and others but there are a lot of positives to doing it and getting over your fear. On Wednesday, I told two of my best friends the entire truth about a situation that I had experienced three months ago or so and though I sobbed like a child in the nearly deserted common room, it was worth it and it needed to be done.

Upon explaining everything, both to them and another friend before, I came to rather, lise that I’ve been lying to the point where it’s damaged relationships. Telling the truth may be hard but it’s necessary for you to feel happy. If you’re struggling over telling someone something, I want to explain some of the positives to you.

It strengthens relationships
Admitting you lied to someone is really nervewracking and they may be annoyed at you for it. I’ve certainly experienced that but what I found, above all on Wednesday, was that people much prefer it when you tell them the truth. If you’re honest and tell them how much you fucked up, it shows them that you trust them. Trust may be broken at first because they may believe that you didn’t trust them enough to tell them the truth in the first place but when you admit that to them, it can add a level of understanding to your friendships. I won’t lie: it could go the other way but the gamble of honesty is worth it.

Things aren’t so complex
Not only does lying upset other people but it can leave your head in a mess as you try and remember who knows what; it’s a horrible state to be in because you can end up manipulating people. It is only natural, therefore, that you should remove those feelings as soon as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to tell as many people the truth as you can who you’ve lied to; it clears it up, lets people in on how you’re feeling and makes your head less cluttered. People have asked me why I’ve been feeling so awful but I haven’t been able to explain it properly until I told Wren and Red everything that went on. The simple act of explaining it caused my mind to relax a little from the painful twisting state it had been in; the first person I truly told[q~@]- who I’d lied to – started that relieving; my other friends carried it on.

You feel happier and less awful
Guilt is a central part to lying and it’s one of the worst consequences of doing something horrible. By owning up to it and telling someone, it doesn’t weigh as heavy: it’s still there, especially because of the disappointment that is (rightfully) displayed at how you lied, but at least some of it goes away. You also feel happier because for me, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t have to hide or pretend and if I hadn’t told the truth, I would have fallen apart. I was already doing that and it took me explaining shit for me to understand just how bad it was.

You can show people you’re able to move forward
If you’ve got your own thoughts for company, wherein only you know how you’ve been feeling or what you’ve been doing, it means you can’t move on. If you’re good at sorting out your own feelings then it’s okay but if you’re like me, the thoughts spin round and round in your head with no resolution. It hurts and does me no good. On the contrary, sharing things with other people helped me to face up to it and understand what I’d done; it really allows you to move on from the situation by forcing the results of it to become apparent to you.

You can understand who your true friends are
Lying is only an okay thing when it will have no consequences for anyone. When it does and you then tell someone the truth, it’s natural and understandable that they’ll be upset with you. In fact, I’d want people to be angry with me for misjudging their personality enough to lie to them. It absolutely wasn’t fair of me to do that. However, when I told Wren and Red, they explained that they still loved me, always have and always would and that this wouldn’t change that. I figured out that the people who are my real friends, who – whether sensible or not – would stick by me are the ones that can see the reasons why I lied and let me make up for it, as well as move forward. Some things are unforgivable and I don’t blame people for being upset with me because I would be but I know that if such trust is lost by lying, perhaps it would be best that the person distanced themselves from me.

You aren’t superhuman. You’re going to make mistakes, lie and upset people. It’s alright to do that. However, as terrifying as it is, telling the truth can make things a lot easier. Not in all cases but in a lot of them, honesty can be the best solution.

If you’re hurting right now and don’t understand why someone did what they did, think about it from their perspective. That can apply to those who lied and those who are angry because you lied. There are always more than two sides to a story.

From Elm 🙂

My Not-So-Grand Return!

HEYY!

By the time this is posted, I’ll be travelling to school for my last and probably most difficult exam – Critical Thinking. You wouldn’t think it would be a hard exam to do but because I have about the logic of a table, it really is.

As you can read, I AM BACK and I have never been so excited! It’s kind of sad actually… If you don’t know me, hallo! I’m Elm, a 17-year-old blogger from England who, for once, kept to her hiatus and hasn’t posted in over a month. She genuinely got blogger withdrawal and is terrified for Results Day where her (not) hard work will or won’t pay off. In addition to that, she hates speaking in the third person and has missed her blog more than anything ever.

Once Shitical Thinking, as I like to call it, is over I’ll be crying from happiness, celebrating on my own and throwing myself a one-person party because nobody else appears to be done with their exams from my school. Finally, I’ll be able to relax and get down to blogging properly. I could have posted after my exams were done but would it be pathetic of me to say I couldn’t wait? I’m such a rebel, it’s astonishing.

I have so many plans for my blog and because I go back to school on 12 June, I can actually start to implement them! I’ve honestly thought about what posts to write and that was all I was doing in breaks between revision. I’ll list them for you so that you can see and also so I can remember as I’m a forgetful person.

• I want to get back to collaborating with people: I already have people in mind so if you emailed me before or during exams about collabs, I haven’t forgotten!
• I’ll do the classic exam recap in which I scream about my supposed failures
• There will be an update on my love life… Or lack of one in typical me style
• A few pretty horrible things have happened which I want and think I need to talk about
• I’m going to be reading a lot over the next few weeks so you might get my thoughts on that
• If I can, I’ll do some singing… Maybe
• A very, very exciting thing has happened which will cause my blog to emerge into the real world for me a little
• Lastly, and possibly most exciting, I want to maybe look at self-hosting my blog or maybe looking at WordPress Plans? I’ll post about that later on so I can det your thoughts on that as they are incredibly important to me.

There you go! If you have any suggestions let me know and do link me to any posts you’ve written recently because I can’t wait to read them!

Ohh, I’m so happy to be writing again. As I’ve not had an outlet, my emotions have been all over the place and soon, I can let them out.

From Elm 🙂
P.S: I haven’t written that phrase in so long and it feels wonderful to write it again.

That Moment When a Blogger Goes to your School

I’ve always said, “Haha, wouldn’t it be funny if a blogger went to my school? That’d be so weird and hilarious!”

Never did I imagine that this wild prediction – this thing that I’d jokingly talked about, laughed about even, would happen. It’s one thing to think about it – like an idle curiosity, something you think could happen but never would, right? It’s another thing for it to truly happen, not just in your overactive mind.

On this post, you can find a rather lengthy comment chain – one of the longest I’ve ever had – between me and Llowestcommonmultiple. It started off normally enough: she said that she also had a Charity Week this week and that it was called RAG week. I raised both eyebrows (I physically can’t raise one – it’s sad), at that because our charity week is also called RAG week. Hmm, I thought – it’s got to be a coincidence; there’s no bloody way it’s the same one because RAG week must be a thing in other schools.

I come home on the first day and reply to our comment chain, asking her how her first day was. She told me the theme – superheroes vs. supervillains – and spoke about a girl who had dressed up in a costume with soup labels attached to her and called herself “souperwoman.” At this, I freaked out and messaged a rather crazed reply with about 8 question marks and many capital letters because I realised: she went to my FUCKING SCHOOL.

Now see, the “souperwoman” girl used to be in my form for 5 years and was one of the first friends I ever made at my school. We’re not close at all now but I think she’s great, inventive and funny. It was only by chance that I’d been told about the costume by a staff member – and for that to be the costume that this blogger talked about was just such a coincidence that it shocked me. It was almost by chance that we found out and realised: I was still screaming and freaking out, shouting “OH MY GOD!” at various intervals whilst on Skype with Lu and just generally being unable to process what had happened.

I knew that she was going to be looking out for me – if you don’t know, I’m blind and so wouldn’t be able to see her or know who she was. On Tuesday, I asked my friend Pine if she knew her – I won’t say her name because of anonymity – and it turns out that yes, she did. Upon asking me why, I blurted out something awkward like “Ermmm, no reason! I’d just heard of her and… Yeah… I was curious?” I never said I was a smooth talker. I told Wren about it – the head girl who’s also basically my best friend – and screaming commenced out of excitement; I also told Swan and for the last two days as we’ve wandered around outside I’ve kept suddenly stopping and going “WHAT, I still can’t believe the blogger thing!” I don’t know why I get so excited over this…

Yesterday, I wore a Dryad costume because I wanted to emulate the tree spirit for the irony (nobody understood my weird smile when they asked what I was). As I was exiting the unit for VI (visually impaired) people to go to my lesson, I took a few steps and then heard a voice say, quietly, “Elm!”

Nobody ever, ever calls me that and so that’s why we had agreed for it to be the thing that identified her to me. Because I’m not used to hearing that name said aloud, especially by someone at school, it took me a second to react. My response? “OHH! Hey! Ahh I wasn’t expecting that to happen!” *laughs slightly manically)* See what I mean?

To have a blogger – especially one who found me by chance, who I’d spoken to before and who knows people that I know – going to my school is amazing. It’s incredible that out of all the schools in the country, she goes to mine – the very fact that someone who understands blogging like I do goes to the place I go to every school day – is mind-blowing. What are the odds? If I hadn’t been told about the costume, if I hadn’t replied to her comment in the way I did, if she just hadn’t found my blog – none of this would have happened. It freaks me out.

This opens up so many opportunities for me. Now I’m paranoid that there are more bloggers in my school, that someone I speak to knows my face (I kind of stick out because blind) and it’s just… Weird but also wonderful. This connects me both to blogging and real life – the thing I love connecting me to the real world in such a way makes things feel more exciting and tangible.

I still can’t believe this happened. For some strange reason, people know me in the blogging world and people also know me in real life; people see me around school and so anyone with a blog could walk by me and I wouldn’t know.

All I can say is that the greatest things come out of the chancest of encounters. After almost 2 years, it’s amazing for me to experience this: I never thought that the idea I once thought laughable and so far away is actually much more in reach than I knew.

Have you ever had this kind of experience?

Check out llowestcommonmultiple’s blog by the way; it’s great! I’ve spent a while reading over her posts and I love them.

From Elm 🙂

The 2016-2017 Tag!

After about a milennium, I’m coming back with another tag. I know, the surprise is extraordinary!

I was nominated by Waves of Awesomeness who is so creative, and writes extremely well, for the 2016-2017 tag! I’m so excited to do it, and thanks for nominating me and leaving such lovely comments on my posts.

This tag was created by Davide from #theguywhosaidalwaysno who’s blog is just brilliant!

The Rules:
1. Mention the creator of the tag. Done!
2. Use the image in the article. Okay this is getting ridiculous – I need to sort out this image thing.
3. Mention the blogger(s) who have chosen you.
4. Answer the questions.
5. Tag 9 other bloggers and let them know. (I’ll do this VIA pingback)

Yaas question time!! (I need to calm down)

1. Describe your 2016 in 3 words
1. Painful
2. Beautiful
3. Self-development (that isn’t an adjective but just roll with it)

2. Write the names of two people who have characterised your 2016:
1. My ex-boyfriend S (he helped me to grow as a person and come to a lot of realisations about myself)
2. L because he’s been just such a good friend and all around amazing person

3. Write the most beautiful place you visited in 2016 and why you liked it so much:
Paris, because it was filled with new experiences and memories, and because I got to appreciate real art and sculptures in a museum for the first time ever. It was extremely emotional, but as was also one of the most real trips
:’ve ever been on, and made me realise exactly who I had and why the people around me meant so much.

4. Write the most delicious food you’ve tasted in 2016:
Italian pasta. Aaahhh, it’s glorious; much better than it’s English counterpart.

5. Write the event which has marked you more of this in 2016?
The breakup I experienced in 2016 where I was cheated on, because it abblowed me to remember that anger wasn’t the right solution to anything, and that there are more than just two sides to a story.

6. Write the finest purchase you’ve made in this 2016, and if you want to link a photo:
Ohh… It’s quite sad, but all of the beauty products I bought – makeup brushes, actual makeup, a lovely moisturiser, because I was taking control of my own look and health.

7. Write three good intentions for this 2017:
1. Be happy or try to be.
2. Get more motivation for studying and working.
3. Appreciate everyone I can.

8. Write one place you want to visit in 2017:
I’d say Barcelona or Berlin, because I have trips planned there in October and June respectively.

9. Write one plate/food you want to eat in 2017:
I desperately want to try goose because it’s traditional, and quail. I’m becoming more adventurous!

I nominate:

Aspen
Sprinkle of Anonymous
Evie
The Differentiated Eccentric
Kate
The Magpie
Kate Hawkins
Inspired Teen
Tanya

Hope you enjoy doing this! Argh, I miss doing tags.

Love from Elm 🙂

I Made a Friend on My First Day in Year 12

You know that moment where it hits you how old you REALLY are? I had that today, because I’m going into year 12. A-Levels. Work. It’s TERRIFYING.

I was a bit of a wreck last night, but I was managing. One of my best friends is starting blind college today, so I was talking to him yesterday – it distracted me from feeling nervous, which was great. I also wanted to show him that he COULD actually survive there.

This morning, I woke up at 8 and immediately felt a little sick. I wandered round the house, eating something that could vaguely be called breakfast, and washing my face to make myself feel more human. It’s what I do – I can’t help it! At least I wasn’t manically rubbing my hands together as I’m wont to do when nervous.

Ohh, and I put makeup on. I put the foundation on myself, which made me smile, and then I had help with the mascara because otherwise I’d look like a fucking dolphin. It took me a while, but I eventually felt happy enough to not be so nervous: putting on makeup wasn’t to impress people, but rather to show them and myself that I had changed.

I had shoved a random folder in my school bag (which I then didn’t need) the night before, so all I had to do was put my computer in there (which it turns out I ALSO didn’t need). By this time, it was nearly 10 o’clock: I live a way away from my school, so I have to get a taxi in; I decided to go in very early because I wanted to feel like I had my shit together.

Whilst in the taxi, I genuinely TALKED to the lady who was with me and my taxi driver. If you know me, you know that this NEVER happens; I’m an antisocial moth at the best of times, and usually just listen to my music. Today, though, I spoke to her about everything: about her kids, grandkids, her mother who recently passed away and just generally life. She wasn’t the usual person I had, and it was nice to just chat to her. It meant that when I got into school, I felt more calm and in a social mood, which really helped in the day ahead.

Because I wasn’t sure when my friends were arriving, I went to the sixth form common room. That involved accidentally crashing into a door, not being sure where I was going exactly, and then finding a teacher who shook my hand for about a minute whilst congratulating me on my GCSE results. She was lovely, and helped me to find a seat so that I wouldn’t be standing around like a loner. I sat there for about ten minutes before my friend Pine arrived, and I shrieked hello at her and hugged her so hard that I couldn’t breathe.

As the rest of my friends arrived – Wren, Red and Odd, we all started asking (shouting at) each other to find out where our form rooms were. For the first time in 5 years, Pine and I weren’t in the same form which made me more upset than I let on.

Guess what? Only one person I knew was in my form. He’s part of my friendship group, and we’ll call him Harley because I literally can’t be bothered to think of a tree name. I don’t know him well, but I do think he’s awesome. My other friends were scattered in various forms, so I walked to the room I was supposed to be in with Harley (coincidentally my old music classroom).

The title of this post relates to the friend I made. I won’t give her a name yet, because I want to see how important she might be to me and if she’s going to be permanent. She lives next door to Harley, and recently came to this country from another. Pretty much straight off, we started talking – not in depth about much, but I made an effort to show hershe was welcome. We saw each other a few times throughout the day and I asked her how she was doing – she was doing VERY well – and I felt happy, and more confident, because I’d gone out of my comfort zone and spoken to someone.

The day itself was pretty borring. For about three hours – with a break for lunch – we did admin stuff. I sat next to Harley, talking and making several jokes. Though I didn’t interact with many people in my form, I felt a certain thrill at the possibility of new people.

Another thing that happened was that I spoke to someone, again. The guy who sat next to us was someone I’d never heard of before – not because he was new, but just because he was repeating year 12. I knew he was there, but not what his name was; I couldn’t speak to the other people around them either because I didn’t know them, or I was too nervous because they had their own friends. When I found out this guy’s name, I got up the courage to just say hi, and we spoke for a little while. Before I knew his name, we had a slightly weird conversation about cereal and our favourite types (I don’t know either), which he most likely doesn’t remember. Oh well! It still counts as an accomplishment, because I think I really showed someone who I was.

At lunch, I hung out with what was left of my friendship group. So Odd, Wren, Red, Harley, and various other people. It was loud, insane and crowded, and a friend that Wren and I made on induction day came and sat with us too. The girl we’d met in the morning wasn’t there, but she’d found some people to hang out with which was great. After lunch, we did some more admin stuff which was dull as fuck, and then everyone just went home.

Except, well, me. A few of my friends stayed for a little while and we wandered round the school, talking loudly and being our usual selves. After they left, I went and sat by the place where my taxi comes and picks me up. There, I had the experience that made my day.

As well as year 12, years 7 and 13 also came in today. While I was waiting, year 7s round past shouting, being year 7s and talking about their spelling tests which caused me to burst out laughing (I’m sorry! They were adorable!) One of the year 7s came and sat down near me, and once I got off the phone to my dad, I turned to him, just to check he was alright I suppose:

“Hey, are you waiting for a taxi?”
Him: “No – just for my mum to come and pick me up.
Me: “Ahh, awesome!”
Him: “Not to be offensive or anything, but are you blind?”

I was happy he asked, and told him so, then said it wasn’t offensive in the slightest. It turns out that he has a sister who’s going into year 11, who had mentioned a blind girl in the year above her. I said that yes, that was me, and that he shouldn’t worry about offending me because I don’t get offended.

Something I’m proud of myself for doing is then telling him that if he needed any help, he could come and find me. If he saw me around, I said that he could ask me anything – that I knew what it was like to be in year 7 and to be too scared to ask any teacher for help. I wish somebody had done that for me when I was his age, not that I would have accepted it but there you go. What made me smile was that he seemed so thankful, so shocked that anyone would offer him help – especially a Sixth Former, and not in a patronising way as well.

I spoke to him like he was mature, not like he was some stupid kid. In turn, he talked to me in the same way, and even though we’re 5 years apart, it didn’t matter. I said bye to him, smiled in his direction, and went home feeling really helpful and happy – like I was someone kind, reaching out to a random stranger, and not someone who would just turn their back.

This is what I want to do. I want to make new friends, and help people who need it. I love my friendship group, but here’s the thing: I want to be my true self in sixth form. Someone who speaks up, isn’t afraid to talk to the once ‘popular’ kids, and who can confidently walk into a room.

I’m so scared that I won’t be able to blog much. Neglecting you guys, or Elm, is something that would probably destroy me; this is the one thing that keeps me grounded. If I don’t post as frequently, it’s because I have to work, not because I’ve forgotten you. I could never do that.

I’ll tell myself, over and over again, that I can do this. I’ll tell myself that until I don’t just think it – I believe it.

From Elm 🙂

Free At Heart

Well, looks like I have bullshit all wifi, so god knows when THIS will be up. That majorly fucks up my posting order, and the way I wanted this to be presented, but EHH well. (I’m writing this on the afternoon of the 12th, inside and in front of a fan, which is lovely).

Last time I came to Thailand, I was 11, meaning that 5 years have passed since I’ve been to the village. A lot has changed in 5 years: I’m not the loud girl I once was, I don’t have the same incessant curiosity, but I guess something in me must still be the same. The village itself hasn’t changed much either, save for a few more buildings being added. Of course, the people have got older, which is the thing that’s difficult to adjust to.

You don’t really appreciate what you have until you’re out in a rural place that, you may think, lacks any luxury. However, it’s just different; after two days, I’m slowly getting used to it again.

My stepmother’s mother’s home is very, very different to any other home I’ve been in, in any other country, except for Malaysia where my Popo ′grandmother′ used to live. The downstairs is open: there are no doors, no entryways and no real walls, so that you step onto the tiled surface from the street. Stray cats and even dogs come in: there’s this cat that appears to love our family, and I swear it has flees because I’ve been bitten by something that isn’t a mosquito. The cat is still lovely though, and meows constantly so that I know it’s there.

The kitchen has a stone floor, and the tap water isn’t safe to drink, but I’ve known that since I was 8. My stepmother’s mum’s room is near the kitchen, too, though I’ve never been inside; I don’t speak to her much because of the language barrier, though I have a deep-rooted respect for her. So do the rest of the village, from what I can tell. The stairs that lead up to the rooms where we sleep are steep and wooden, the floor in my temporary room made of boards of wood, with a fan there to offer some relief from the heat.

The main thing I’m struggling a bit with is the sleeping. My bed’s a mattress on the floor: not that I mind; I don’t exactly care where I sleep. A fan is at the end of my bed, but even with it it’s stiflingly hot, but I don’t want to take the blanket off because of insects. Even so, I have about 12 bites on my legs, and they’re either from mosquitos or bedbugs. I’m suspecting the latter, so that’s why I went into my dad and stepmum’s room to try and sleep last night. It worked.

This might sound odd, but the most different thing is the toilet. You could say that it’s outside, because there’s an outdoor space between the main bit of the house and the toilet. The side of it backs out onto an allotment, where there are so many home grown vegetables that my dad gets jealous. The floor in the toilet is always slightly wet, on account of there being no shower cubicle, and the shower – which only started working properly today – is one you’d usually consider “normal” in a typical western home. People often have the assumption that villages in places like Thailand are totally removed from the outside world, but that’s not the case at all; the Temple has wifi, and kids go to school in the surrounding villages and towns. Yesterday, we used a bucket to wash, with cold water, which is something I actually really enjoy. It was, in a way, my childhood – when I went to Malaysia, we always had bucket baths, and when our boiler broke when I was 3, we had the same. Because it’s so hot, having a shower is amazing.

Whenever you’re walking, or sitting inside, you can always hear motorbikes going past. I always jump to the side of the road, paranoid we would get run over, but the feeling of actually going on a motorbike is the best. Saying that, there aren’t really ‘roads’ and that’s what I like: it’s natural, with dirt maths and a few cobbles scattered about, the smell of heat and calls of people as we walk past, intermingled with the chirps of birds.

I’ve made what you could call friends – or at least I do. There are no kids in the village my age, but seeming as I’ve known many of them since I was 8, I’ve seen them grow up as they’ve seen me. Yes, 5 years have passed and so much has changed, but today and the day before, it didn’t feel that way. I’m antisocial as anything, but sometimes I do stop going on my phone to talk to people (shocker, I know).

I played a game, with two of the children: Um and Boat, who are 13 and 11 respectively. I’ve always liked them both, because even though we can’t speak each other’s language ′I can speak more Thai than they can speak English′, we communicate in different ways. Laughter’s a big part of it, because whenever something happens, I know what they feel by their laughter. Trust me, when you find out the name of a fruit you’ve never seen before in Thai, not know it in English, and eat it wrong, you know you’re not doing it right by the laughter. We improvised a game, where they clap, I clap to let them know I heard them, and we throw a ball at each other (or they poke me with a broom to make me laugh). Two claps have become our signal to say, “Let’s do this!” which just shows that you don’t need a language to speak, even if you’re blind like me. They’re good, helping me and letting me smile, because it’s so simple to be with them. There are no hurtful words or anything like that, because they’re people I’ve technically known since I was 8, and so I have a “bond” with them.

(I’m writing this on the 13th now, and have wifi which is great!) Yesterday, we went to the market. Thai markets are amazing, because stalls line the walls and pathways, outside too. You can hear the buzz of chatter, unrecognisable words flowing together, and the smell of food is so glorious that it makes you want to buy everything. I loved walking around the market with my dad, and on the way home, I sat in the back of a pickup truck with Boat and Um (another thing that defined my childhood here). The wind blew my hair around, making my eyes water, but it was beautiful and exhilarating.

I’m not the free spirit I once was, but I still have that side of me left. I love the village, even though I have bites from mosquitos and other insects all over me (some even on my back). Right now, that doesn’t matter. I’m getting horribly stressed over homework, because I’ve done nothing, but I’m just revelling in the simplicity of everything.

Also, in case anyone was worried, the bombs that exploded were on the other side of the country. I’m safe, though I feel terrible for the families suffering at the moment.

From Elm 🙂

I Thought I Couldn’t Do It

Despite the fact that a substantial amount of people say I can sing, I often don’t believe them. It may be my in-built urge to dismiss any compliments that people give to me, and to try and prove them wrong, or because in my mind I tell myself that I can’t accept that I’m good at SOMETHING. Whatever it is, it causes me to laugh whenever anyone says I’m a good singer, and to only sing around people when I really, really want to or when I really trust them.

Today, I did something that shocked me a little, something I would never expect myself to do. I sang to strangers over the Internet.

Alright, they’re not REALLY strangers. I got added to this group chat on WhatsApp a week ago, with the majority of the people there being blind and teenagers, but from all over the world. So England, Germany, America, South Africa to name a few places. Apart from two people, I didn’t know anybody well; I’d been lurking in the chat for a while and alongside another group, with many of the same members, I’d read messages from the various participants. I didn’t often say much until today, just the occasional “Hi!” or messages to that effect.

I was bored today, and though I should be packing for Thailand, I decided to read what the people were saying on the group. Originally, I didn’t plan to join in, but the conversation turned to music and singing. That, I had a passion for, and so I took more of an interest because I knew that if I talked, I wouldn’t feel like an outsider.

One of the girls from Germany sang on a voice message. As I said that she had a great voice, some kind of urge took hold in me. If she could sing, why wouldn’t I? I still refused to think about it though, the nervous excitement buzzing through my body preventing me from forming any coherent music. Further discussions ensued, with another girl – one I knew vaguely – singing as well.

We spoke about instruments and music, and all through this discussion, people were encouraged by others to sing: “If anyone can sing, why not show us?” I said I would, as a sort of joke, but it was only until people shared how they liked to sing that something snapped. Oh fuck it, I thought. What’s stopping me?

Nothing stopped me but my fear. I took deep breaths, practicing a little before I sent the message. However, I soon realised that even if I DID mess up, it was alright: the exact words I thought were, “You don’t know these people, and you’ll never have to meet them. You’re just another person, who CAN sing, and you should be proud.” The thumping beat of my heart quietened a little.

I sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – you can find a cover that I did of that song a while ago here – shameless self-promotion I know. Because I absolutely love the song, I found it relatively easy to sing: I may have messed up a couple of times, when I couldn’t reach the low notes, but that was down to my nerves.

When I listened back to it, after I finished, I felt strange. For once in my life, I realised that I COULD sing. There was hardly any disgust when I thought that, because I didn’t feel arrogant. I felt, and still do feel, slightly in awe that I managed to get the courage to do THAT.

The response was really positive. It’s rare that I truly thank someone, especially a group of people I don’t know, on a voice message. This time, the “Thank you, that really means a lot to me,” easily passed my lips, and I felt no fear that they’d find me too weird.

These were people who I didn’t know. The people who would listen to my voice message I had not really spoken to before, so to display something that I’m usually shy about to them was stepping hugely out of my comfort zone. Yes, I may have things up on youtube and will sing when people request me to, but I often feel so much more nervous and upset that they’d think I was shit.

Even if it IS scary, do something that you wouldn’t normally do from time to time. You will feel so much better afterwards, more so if it’s something you love.

Don’t let fear hold you back. I wouldn’t do this every day – sing to random people – and once was enough for now. But I know that I CAN do that, if the situation arises, and that I shouldn’t let my worries dictate what I do. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that you’re the one in control of what you do and don’t do.

Singing is something I love. It’s something that’s mine, and I haven’t been doing it so much recently: something I hope to rectify. Instead of shattering my confidence, this situation has boosted it.

I have a smile on my face, and I hope that it won’t fade any time soon.

From Elm 🙂

Holidays Are Actually Stressful

You know what this season is? Summer.

Yes, summer. Where you’re supposed to RELAX. Key word: supposed. Because guess what I’ve done? I’ve started to mildly stress about my holiday to Italy, which starts on Thursday.

There has to be an emphasis on mildly. I’m not as bad as I used to be in terms of stress, but it is still there. I’ve found the most ridiculous things to stress about, as well. This is a time to have fun and be happy with one of my best friends ever, Robin, and catch up on six months of gossip – er, I mean, events that have happened in our lives. I have a lot to update her on, but that’s a story for another time.

Because I’m a complete conformist stereotzpe (psh, where’s the rebel gone in me?) I wanted to buy a bikini for this holiday. I’ve never worn one before, because I’ve never seen the purpose, and even though I am somewhat self-conscious about my body, I thought I’d give it a go. There’s no time like the present, after all, and I’m going to Italy to get new experiences, and to just be free.

The only issue was actually buying the damned thing. My mum and I went to our local shoping centre, and looked through about five shops. To put it bluntly, I’m a size 6, and they literally had none in my size. Only one shop sold them the size that would fit, and you had to order it online. As you can imagine, I got a tad bit upset (and stressed), but I’ve got much better at not showing it and I only once snapped “Yeah, well that’s fucking great isn’t it?” Also, I only went into self-hating “why don’t you just put on more weight you’re awful” mode ONCE! I’m vaguely proud of myself?

All of this worrying about my body is irritating me. If people aren’t happy with how I look, then to be honest they can actually bugger off: I feel insecure as it is, not being able to see myself (oh here we go aggg. As a result, I HAVE to rely on other people to tell me if I look good. Luckily, it’s Robin and her family, who I’ve known for 5 years, so I know they would.

After we got back from shopping, my mum ordered a bikini online (no idea what it looks like). It should hopefully arrive tomorrow, and I’ll see if it fits then, but I have this constant worry that it won’t and I’ll look like a complete moron. Ahh, I’ll just see how it goes: there’s no use worrying about it now, and I think I just need to relax before my holiday. HA!

This is most likely oversharing, but it’s got to the point where I trust you with this kind of thing. I really don’t like the hair on my legs: it’s blonde and there isn’t much of it, but I can feel it. Because it’s not very visible, I haven’t needed to shave, wax or anything which kind of makes me feel like a gross outcast? Anyway, my mum is addiment that I don’t remove the hair because otherwise, it’ll “grow back a lot more” in her words, but I’m worried about what I should do. I might ask my stepmother for help if I see her before I go, actually.

I STILL haven’t done much holiday homework. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to do it ON holiday because I stupidly procrastinated. The main thing I’m worp ied about is, surprisingly, the English, but I think Robin can help me out because she’s insanely intelligent. Let’s hope I don’t leave it to the last minute.

Tomorrow, and possibly the day after before Robin comes, I’ll be writing and scheduling posts that will be published in the time I go to Italy. Who knows – I may get a chance to po still in Italy, like I did in France last year. If there are funny or embarrassing stories, I’ll definitely let you guys know, because I’ll NEED to write about them.

Thinking about that, does Robin know I have a blog? I don’t actually know. Amid most likely hours of conversation about what’s been happening with us, I’ll drop a mention of Elm.

To summarise, holidays CAN be stressful, especially when you’re me and find it somehow amusing to find many things to worry about. I still have to buy suncream, aftersun and various other items like that.

I’m worrying about not talking to friends, especially to you bloggers. I’ve not been active in the community much recently, which makes me sad – sorry! It’ll be okay though. I’ll also miss my real life friends like Odd, Wren, Red and Willow, but I should be able to speak to them all at some point.

OMG Elm, just enjoy your holiday! ARGH!!! (Sorry about that)

I’m obviously not going until Thursday, but I wanted to update you guys on how I’m doing. Again, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to write, so I won’t give an exact estimation.

You guys doing anything interesting over the holidays?

From Elm 🙂

I MET A BLOGGER!

It’s so boiling outside that I can barely concentrate, but here goes.

Today, I met a blogger for the first time ever and I’m still smiling about it. Along with one of my best friends ever, L, we met the fabulous Fibit.

L and Fibit had already met several times (yes, I was jealous because he met a blogger before me but shhh), because they live relatively close to each other. We’d been planning this for a while, but I didn’t mention anything just in case, and I wanted to be sort of spontaneous. Yesterday I came round to L’s house, stayed over (which involved running from bees, lots of yelling, and a trip down to the shops that could have ended in disaster). This morning, we got up ridiculously early, after L changed plans about how we were going to get there about three times, and went to the train station because we’re just that fabulous. He and I were both nervous that I’d get lost somewhere along the way, but luckily I turned up in one piece.

If you know me, you’ll know that I get nervous over the stupidest things. Whilst on the train – between nearly falling over and shrieking – I was doing my crazy-villain-rubbing-my hands-together thing, and muttering “Ohmygod I’m a trainwreck!”. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be associated with me either. I didn’t think he was a kidnapper or anything, but come on, it was my first ever time meeting a blogger! Like EVER! It’s a big thing, and as we got off the train I had to stop and breathe, just to let it sink in.

I think the most hilarious part of the day was our ‘guiding chain’. In case you didn’t know, L and I are both blind (Fibit isn’t), and so we walked down the street in a line, with L or I crashing into things several times. Because I’m short, I had to hold onto L’s shoulders at one point which almost made me have to stand on tiptoes.

After we met up, we went to some coffee shop, and because I’m boring I didn’t get coffee (what, it’s gross!). Seriously, throughout the day I kept on having this realisation that THREE BLOGGERS were wandering round town, two of them blind, with pretty much no idea where we were going. It was trés fabulaux.

We went and sat on a bench as well, in some random shopping centre, and just chatted. In real life, L and I bicker constantly, and on several occasions I jokingly snapped at both of them, “Well y’know what, I hate you too!” I also laugh a lot. Honestly, I’m SUCH a rebel that it makes me cringe every time. Why did they put up with me?

Like the teenagers we are, there was an obligatory selfie in another coffee shop. I probably looked like a turtle or something, but I have it saved on my phone to actually prove to myself that I was there. Even though I can’t see the picture. Shhh! The group hug outside the station made me feel all sentimental, but I probably came off as a right weirdo, knowing me.

All in all, my first experience of meeting a blogger was so surreal. I’m very glad that L was with me, too, because I would have been too nervous to go by myself because I’m a bloody whimp.

After we got back to L’s, we went for Afternoon Tea which was about the poshest thing I’ve ever done. I mean, I’m posh enough as it is, but eating scones, tiny sandwiches and eclairs in the shade outside… I’ve out-poshed myself. It turns out that I actually like meringues, which was a shocker. I called the waiter ‘sir’, lost my napkin, and burst out laughing on more than one occasion. Clearly, I don’t fit in at a posh establishment at all. Seriously though, it was great; the food was lovely and the tea was amazing. As well as that, the adjective that comes to mind is picturesque, because the place seemed as if it came straight out of a story.

Us three bloggers already have plans to meet up after Results’ Day (I’ll be crying over my results of course) and we’ve nicknamed ourselves the “Real Life Blog Squad”. Well, somebody did; it was probably me and the name won’t catch on, but I can at least try!

BLOODY HELL, the Elm met an actual blogger. I’m so happy, because I actually did this, and it didn’t go wrong! Wooo!

I know that I’m terrible at keeping my anonymity, but today was so so worth it. I felt like Elm, mixed with my real name identity, and it was weird but very nice. Right now, it seems like blogging’s not just a thing of the internet, but something that CAN cross over into real life.

By the way, I’m sorry for not blogging in ages. I hope you guys are doing well.

From Elm 🙂