Love and Spider-Webs

I’ve been trying to write an email to a friend who has been struggling with similar issues as me. Try as I might, it continues to come out wrong. Rather, it doesn’t come out at all. The words are stuck in my head and never make it down to my fingers.

I want to tell her that everything will be okay. Someday. Not now. Not tomorrow. But someday. We just need to keep plugging along and have hope. Because, really, hope’s all we’ve got. But hope is certainly something worth living for. And with our hope in hand, we know that there will be sunny afternoons and mornings; laughter in the evenings; and peace in our heads when we lie in bed late at night. Just not now. But in a little while. Someday. Maybe soon.

I want to tell her that there is such beauty in the world. No matter how dark our minds are. No matter scary the outside world may seem with all of those people who keep moving, moving, moving and talking, talking, talking until it’s just a cacophony of sound and color. No matter how much we want to put our hands over our ears, close our eyes, and rock back and forth. There is such beauty. There’s snow on the ground right now. And come spring, that air that’s the perfect temperature will envelop us, and we’ll flop onto the damp grass. And it will be lovely in that moment. It will. Because there is such beauty, and it’s worth sticking around to see.

I want to tell her that there is so much love, in spite of everything. That there are too many people to hold close. Too many cats to pet, too many dogs to run with. That just because we’re messed up doesn’t mean that we’re unlovable. That we aren’t loved despite our differences. We’re loved because of them. That our parents would cut off all of their limbs before loosing us, because they love us so much. We could lose everything, and there would still be that love. That love will never, never, never go away. No matter how much everything collapses. It’s worth slamming back against the darkness for all of those people. Hanging on so that we can love them back. And holding each other up with love. That love matters more than anything else.

I want her to know that our demons are only demons and not anything more. Sure, they are a part of us. And perhaps they always will be. But they don’t define us. We’re ourselves when we’ve pushed the demons into hiding. When we’re cheerful and rosy. The dark thoughts and electric jolts of anxiety don’t outshine our ability to read or write. Sometimes we can’t get out of bed. Sometimes we can’t move or speak or open our eyes. Sometimes we can’t do a whole slew of other things. But we can still give awesome hugs. And we can still get out of bed or move or speak or open our eyes. It just happens a little later. A little later on. They’re only demons after all and not our whole selves. We’re too good for that.

I want her to know that there is some sort of romance in the life that we lead. That the power to feel emotions more intensely than others can be a good thing. Such a good and wondrous thing. That the picture of the postcard that I saved from PostSecret many months ago is entirely true. We are a special breed. I firmly believe that if we can feel darkness as deeply as we do, then our happiness can also outshine “normalcy.” We have these moments when we feel a burst of joy, right where that ball of anxiety is normally lodged, and we just know that maybe a few of those scarier times when we thought that nothing could ever be better were worth it.

It is too easy to feel alone. But we never are. We’re standing at the center of a spider-web. That little dot at the center. And all the strands that stick out from that dot to form the first band is our family. And the next, our friends. And after that, our doctors. All the way out until we’ve covered every piece of grass from every place we’ve loved and every grain of sand from every beach upon which we’ve stood. Until it’s all there. Surrounding us and twinkling with dew. And it is lovely, and we aren’t alone any longer. But when the sun comes up and the dew dries, it’s harder to see, but it’s still there. We just have to learn to trust it.

I want her to know that she isn’t lost. We’re right where we’re supposed to be. We’re loved and supported, even when we can’t feel it. We have our spider-webs and our beauty and our gifts and ourselves and it’s never too late for things to start being right. We’re not lost if we’re doing everything we can to push our demons into hiding. Besides, it’s impossible to be lost when you’re loved.

I want her to know that she is understood. That there are so many people reaching out their hands to us, asking to help, asking us to let them in, asking to relieve some of the pain. We just have to learn to let them. We have to hold out our arms and ask for help, cry out for it, when the darkness threatens to swallow us whole. They know that we need help. Sometimes, we just have to learn to better ask for it.

Most of all, I want her to know that I care. That even if she doesn’t think that anyone else does (And they do, oh I promise her that they do.), I care. I am here. I am here with an open laptop and phone. I am here waiting to listen. To understand. To crack horrible, terrible, horrendous jokes. To listen when she cries. To try to offer some sort of advice. I am here. Ready. Waiting. Even at three a.m. I am here. And I care. Just like everyone else in her spider web. And I am holding out my arms, begging for her to let me in when she needs it.

[Insert name here], I am here. And I love you.

Because Gosh Darn It, I Wanna Be An Expert

Have you ever had the feeling that you’re not exactly a notable person? I know that I certainly have. I have yet to do anything really interesting, and I’m not spectacular at any one skill. Now, one of my life goals is to have a Wikipedia page all about me (Really, Ella? We all know that isn’t going to happen.), and if I ever want that to become a reality, I’ve got to become an expert in something. Unfortunately, I haven’t determined what this thing is yet. What I have determined are a lot of things that I will never be an expert in.

1) I will never become an expert in hair. While my life’s dream from the ages of three to six was to become a “hair-cutter-er”, I only succeeded in proving my ineptitude with a pair of scissors. Once, I cut off a good portion of Pippa’s hair with these. Another time, I cut off some of her hair and then sprayed her head with air freshener. If you didn’t know already, air freshener burns your skin. Pippa spent the next thirty minutes in the bathtub crying while my mom called Poison Control. A little while after that, I gave up and decided that I wanted to be an author. I’m not a complete failure in this department, though. I can trim hair and replicate hair styles pretty well. I just will never, ever, ever be a hair stylist.

2) I will never become an expert in anything that requires Algebra Two. Anything. Freshman year, I spent that class (a Junior year course that I took at the high honors level) staring out of the window, looking at the clock, and thinking, “WHY ON EARTH DID I GET PUT IN THIS COURSE?!? I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANY OF IT.” Let’s put it this way, I did not fail or get a D, but I really did not do well.

3) I will never become an expert in any field that requires me to dance. Remember this post where I wrote a short story about ballet? And remember the part where I talk about the girl being kicked out of her dance class? Well, that happened to me. Thankfully, I came to terms with this failing many, many years ago, and it has never truly upset me. Still, dancing is firmly on the list of skills that I really want to become an expert in.

4) I will never become an expert in avoiding accidents. If there is a set of stairs, I will trip. If I am sitting on a desk and someone has left their cup near me, I will knock it over. Once, I accidentally hit a cup of soda and it went flying across the classroom. That was also the day that I knocked over three other cups (Of course, none of those cups were empty, and all of them belonged to other people.) and later fell over while going down the stairs.

5) I will never become an expert in any sport. Half of the reason is explained above, and the other half is the fact that I have minimal upper body strength and no hand-eye coordination. In fact, the one season that I did play soccer in elementary school, I missed or kicked the ball in a bizarre angle more often that not.

This list could go on and on. The list of things that I’m bad at would also go on for a very long time. Some examples: Waking up when one of my five alarms has gone off at an obscene hour and is blaring, handling loud noises, et cetera

I wish that I knew of some clever way to end this post. Some way to appear witty and optimistic. But I don’t. Instead, all I can say is, I want to be an expert, a true expert, in some field. I don’t want to be just mediocre or somewhat good at a few things. I want to be remembered for some sort of excellence. Thankfully, I’ve got a few (more like 70) years left to work this all out.

Goodness, I sound whiney.