Move, Moving, Moved.

MoversYou’re moving?! How exciting!!

Correction – moving is not exciting. Being moved is exciting, moving is just another word for painful torture one places on themselves because they’re bored with their current living/job situation.

There are a few obvious reason why moving sucks. Even though it may be for an exciting new job opportunity or finally taking the next step with someone you love, you can’t begin a new chapter without ending an old one. That means saying goodbye to family and friends you’ve grown close to, restaurants and bars that treat you like a character from Cheers, and the overall daily routines and customs that helped to identify who you were. It’s like spending hours upon hours building the perfect Lego house only to pretend you are Godzilla at the last moment and wreck it all to pieces. Now you’ll spend the better part of 6 months rebuilding so that someday in the not so distant future you can pack it all up and do it all over again.

Speaking of packing – after a certain age it’s almost like your shit has sex with itself and multiples in your closet. When I graduated college I was able to fit the entire contents of my life neatly in my tiny ’97 Saturn, without even trying. Now – nearly 3 years later, it took my giant ass four door F-150, a plethora of bungie cords, and the hopes and prayers of my mother & I to haul all my clothes, books, and mementos from California to Colorado. It use to be that I had a blow up mattress and paper plate dishes, yet earlier this week I stood drenched in sweat as we disassembled and squished into the bed of the truck my Ikea bed frame, mattress, and night stand along with several other “adult things” that moving now requires.

Then there was a 4 day, never ending (or so it seemed), road trip. Moving always involves some sort of vehicular travel (again, so so much stuff – where does it come from?!) and in many ways it can be soothing, but when has limited movement plus added stress and forced self-reflection ever produced a happier person? I’ll be the first to admit I slept for most of the first day, followed by random zoning out the 2nd – 4th days, but that was mostly because I was so stressed about having yet to find an apartment (or a roommate for that matter) that was all I could manage to do. I seesawed back in fourth between sarcastic bitter remarks and all out panic on all my friends and especially on my mom – the co-pilot of this adventure.

As if all the above weren’t enough, the pressure to “enjoy this time” is unbelievable. There’s tons of discussions about how your twenties is for traveling and moving to new cities, how it’s “all about the journey” and some more over the top cliches someone most likely read on Tumblr. Moving to a new city as a grown-up adult is the first of many situations you will find yourself in during your twenties where the hype overshadows the fact that’s it’s one of the most exhausting things you will ever do. Other examples of pressure induced happiness include getting married, buying a house, and having a baby. Just like those things, you will have moments where you want to scream and punch everyone because, although you are filled with endless amounts of joy for this new beginning, another – very realistic part of you is freaking the fuck out.

So what makes it all worth it you ask? What makes up rooting your life, packing all your unless crap, driving 4 days in a car towards a destination unbeknown and starting over worth it? The feeling you get when you realize that you’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re in a place where you can recreate yourself and experience life exactly how it’s meant to be lived – sporadically and to the fullest. Suitcases be damned.

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Today I Saw A Rainbow

No literally, I saw a rainbow. I was sitting in bed listening to music feeling nostalgic and melancholy, the way summer rain always makes me feel, and my uncle told me to come outside.

“There’s a rainbow!” he said.

My uncle gets excited about things like that. He’s a nerd, a father of a young child, and an overall enjoyer of life so rainbows are pretty high up there on the scale of magnificent things for him. I wanted to see it, but to be honest rainbows always disappoint me. Sometimes you can barely see them and then you just feel cheated – needless to say I mosied outside at a very leisurely pace, sure that this was just another one of his “nature is beautiful” exaggerated moments.

But as I looked up into the orange hued sky I saw the brightest, closest, most outstanding rainbow I have ever seen. Raindrops fell sporadically on my head as I marveled at the rainbow which looked almost as perfect as the ones I’ve seen in painted pictures. I immediately felt lucky, then grateful, then happy all at once. I’ve been feeling that a lot lately. All last night and all today (though struggling through a particularly brutal hangover) I’ve been feeling it. I think is the word is – blessed.

Of course, it’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s my ex’s birthday and for some reason my thoughts wondered towards him, more specifically if he’s having fun, if he’s happy – wishing that on this day maybe his heart isn’t as broken as I tend to assume it is. I want that for him. Despite my many feelings about our relationship, the way it ended, and the many many awful things he’s said and done since then I still feel a strong desire for him to have the best. Just because he wasn’t for me doesn’t mean I wish ill of him. I think the word is – mature.

And after 6 weeks here, close to home, family, and friends my time is finally drawing to an end. I’ll be in Denver in less than a week and will be traveling from California on Wednesday. It has been a truly wonderful trip where countless lessons and insights have been had. As much as I mourned not being able to be in DC it really was such divine order that I got to be here in sacramento instead. My best friend and I spent the morning (and then subsequently the day, though that wasn’t our intent) laughing and talking about everything in our lives. Our conversations never grew tiresome nor trivial and it felt the way it always feels when you’re with someone who isn’t blood but feels like family. I think the word is – sisters.

Within our many conversations I gushed about the guy I’m dating. It was her first time meeting him last night and it couldn’t have gone better. Dancing and drinking and being young with two of my favorite people felt exactly how you would expect it to feel – wonderful. From the first moment he grabbed me until my resistant and drunken goodbye kiss I felt nothing but elation from being with him. I reveled in her confirming that yes he was as amazing as I had described. Calm, cool, collected – in her words a perfect balance for me. She even allowed me the spoken acknowledgement that watching us she could see there was definitely something there and how, from an outsiders perspective, she could tell he really liked me. I drifted in between thoughts of him and talking to her and feeling, again, very much hungover. I think the word is – smitten.

So yeah, I saw a rainbow. It was a caper to an otherwise perfect weekend. I felt like somehow the rainbow was magical and isolated – as if it were just for me, like this life I’ve been enjoying so much lately. I think the word is – gift. 🙂

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A Truly Random Outpouring of my Thoughts On Love

sproutI’m not sure if I believe in love. I’m not talking about the kind of love you have for yourself, or your work, or your family and friends – because of course, I know those to be true. I’m talking more about the romantic kind of love, the love you feel when it’s just you and them against the world.

I use to think it existed. I use to think that cuddles and movie nights and knowing everything about the other person meant you were in love because that’s what my last relationship consisted of. But every time he would break something, or call me a bitch, or insist it was just me not loving him enough I would think, “this can’t be love” can it. I thought that for months before I actually realized that it wasn’t. He was in love with broken me, the me I was when I met him. He loved the me that needed him, relied on him, wanted to build him up and then build a world around him, when that changed – after I almost died last summer, I truly believe he was still in love with the girl who had died within me. The person I came back as could see the cracks in our relationship for what they were, the end.

I remember not too long ago, maybe sometime in early March (pre Denver) us getting in a fight about something trivial – money I think. We fought, it escalated, he kicked our rotating fan across the room into the backyard as I slid down the wall into a puddle of tears. I threatened to leave, I told him I was done and he had a panic attack and locked me in the laundry room until I listened to him “with reason”. That was the real moment it was over for me, sitting half dressed in a  5 x 7 laundry room, watching him pour his heart out, fearful and confused. I knew in that moment that there was no way our “love” was the real deal.

I became obsessed with that show 19 Kids & Counting. I remember watching Jill Dugger (now Jill Dillard) falling in love with her soon-to-be husband Derrick. Her face would light up whenever she said his name and you could just see this unspoken energy between them that was clearly love. Had I ever had that? Was I ever apart of anything that felt or looked like that?

I spent from March until now learning how to love myself. I prayed, I ran, I wrote, and I focused on me. I leaned in to every fear and insecurity within myself and let it break me down further so I could rebuild. When I started doing that good things started to happen – no, not good, great things started to happen. I took myself on dates, I listened to music too loudly, I made new friends, reconnected with old ones, lost A LOT of weight. I took small road trips and had dance parties with a 6 year old version of myself. You’ve heard this story, it’s a version of Eat, Pray, Love but a less extravagant, mid twenties version. I fell in love with life, truly. Gratitude and humbleness grace me every morning and I greet them with a smile and prepare for the day to take me on a new adventure even in the days that are not filled with very much.

It is within this that I figured out that I do know what love is and how to do it,  yet I’m still in an internal struggle with myself over wether it exist. How can that be? When I was in Berkeley last weekend my best friend and I saw a couple making out in the middle of the sidewalk. It was a beautiful day, made only sweeter by the cool bay breeze and the soft summer sun streaming through the trees. We laughed and made fun of the couple as they walked, but as we kept driving we saw them stop for another passionate kiss and a tinge of bitterness that felt extremely uncomfortable came over me. I was jealous. Jealous that they had found love and here I was debating with myself over it’s very existence. Why was it so easy for them?! (It took me a while to finally realize I was assuming a whole bunch of things based on absolutely no physical or empirical evidence whatsoever… as I sometimes do…)  Then I was angry at myself for being jealous and spent the rest of the afternoon silently fuming until I had a beer, talked it out, and then let it go (I had similar feeling to this throughout the rest of the night because she made me watch The Notebook too. Luckily I had alcohol.)

So, I’ve been thinking about all that lately feeling bummed that now at the end of my Eat, Pray, Love journey towards self discovery nothing romantic or epically and blatantly love like had happened. I wasn’t feeling love, I wasn’t thinking about anything even remotely love like… and then something happened…

A spark of something that resembles that love I was talking about started. It was just a glimpse, a moment in time where if I had blinked I would have missed it. I felt this feeling I had never really experienced before and I realized I was at the beginning of something… Something big.

 

TO BE CONTINUED 🙂

 

 

Fireflies

firefliesYou can’t capture a sunset
or a picture of fireworks as they explode across the sky
you can’t even capture that feeling
of waking up next to someone new for the first time
nor a hummingbird, quiet and still
but that never stops us from trying
trying with all our hearts to store it away somehow
take it with us as we walk through life
reminding us of the moments that were brighter and better
because you can’t capture happiness
no matter how hard you try.

You can’t capture laughter
or a sincere prayer
that goes from your lips to Gods ears
whispered and hushed
you can’t capture a lion and tame it as a cat
for it belongs in the wild strong and free
and free things are immune from captivity
like childhood imagination and birthday wishes
one minute they’re there, the next minute gone
and you can’t get them back
because they don’t belong to us
just with us in some form or another

You can’t capture someone’s heart
when their heart belongs to their dreams
especially when their dreams are big
bigger than the ocean
whose waves crash along the shore
a sound so beautiful that we lie and say it’s captured in the shells
but the shells capture nothing
like these words
that are barely capturing the feeling
I am trying to express

You can’t capture the fleeting things
the stunning things
the things that make us pause just long enough to wonder
could it be caught?
before we realize that even if we could we wouldn’t want to
because some things are just there long enough to enjoy
not repeatedly
selfishly once
before it vanishes to be mentally memorized by another
captured only in our memories
Which no one can capture but you.

Happy Birthday God I Hate My 20’s!!!

keep-calm-and-happy-1st-birthday-2I cannot believe a year ago I started this crazy idea for a blog and now here I am a year later celebrating it. When I first started writing I was in such a sad, sad place, I hated being in my twenties (for the most part I still do) and I was angry that I couldn’t find anyone to identify with me and my struggles on many of the forums I visit. So this was born! And what a difference a year makes! I am happier, healthier, and a better writer than I have ever been and am truly, utterly, and completely grateful and humbled by all the many people in my life who have supported me in getting to this point. I hope for many (or at least 6) more years of this blog and many more followers as well. As promised here is an interview transcript that I did with my friend Jessica last week talking about my writing and this blog! Hope you enjoy and tks for reading!

Jessica: Chelsea Ellen, you’re blog is about to turn 1!
Me: I know it’s some crazy shit, I can’t even believe it… wait is this how you’re going to be asking me questions for this interview. It has to be professional.

Jessica: Right. Okay. How much has having a blog changed your life?
Me: Wow, a lot. I’ve living my life out loud, that’s very life changing. Everyone knows all my dirty little secrets, it’s terrifying but also helpful. Ive gotten encouragement from a lot of people I never thought possible.

Jessica: Did you ever want to just say “fuck it” and delete the blog all together?
Me: Yes! My first really big piece on this blog was Stop it, You’re Hurting Me which was a really serious and emotional piece for me, but also a really serious piece for him (my ex Nicholas) and after he read it the reaction was so terrible I wanted to just pretend this blog never happened…

Jessica: But you didn’t?

Me: No. I was commmited even from the beginning on what I wanted this blog to be. It wasn’t about him it was about me.

Jessica: That was a year ago but you guys only broke up a few months ago.

Me: … Yeah – I think for me it was a journey. It’s really not easy leaving someone you love or rather loved. It’s hard. You don’t want to hurt them, you don’t want to throw everything away that you built together. I think I stayed with him as long as I could and then when I really started to grow and realize where my life was headed and that there really wasn’t a place for him in the new life I just let go.

Jessica: You wrote about that too?

Me: I did, I didn’t write it here but on Thought Catalog called I’m Sorry You’re Not The One and it was exactly how I felt after it all ended and it’s still exactly how I feel today. I’m very apologetic that I broke someone else’s heart. It sucks. But it’s what I needed to do for me.

Jessica: Tell me about Thought Catalog, how has that played a role in you writing and the development of this blog.

Me: I think one of the very first articles I ever wrote was called Thought Catalog and it was probably more of a “That’s Just Your Opinion” piece before I even developed that as a blgo concept but, yeah. The goal was always to publish with them, I was a huge fan of Chelsea Fagan who’s a senior writer there and I felt like people would read my stuff, I just knew my experiences were relatable. I really did. But I also knew I wasn’t a strong enough writer this time last year to really be taken seriously over there. So I worked on it and then around the end of April of this year I finally got some stuff published and it kept growing and growing. I love TC, I feel like it’s my extended family now.

Jessica: You really admire the writers on there –

Me: I’m seriously obsessed with like half of them. If you’re not reading Chelsea Fagan, Lance Pauker, Chris Hudspeth, Raul Felix, Jamie Varon, Shawn Binders, Ella Ceron, Brianna Weist, I literally could go on all day – you are just not reading some of the best stuff out there right now if you haven’t subscribed to them. I’m still so in awe of all of their talents, I think reading their stuff has made me a better writer in every single sense of the word.

Jessica: So why keep the blog, why not write for TC all the time?

Me: My blog is like my baby. I’ve spent so much time building the following for this blog I don’t think I could ever abandon that. I’m very committed, like I said, when I want something bad enough I commit fully and I wanted this blog to be a success, not me as a person. I’m grateful that anyone reads what I write, I know Thought Catalog has a built in audience but this blog is my heart and soul so…

Jessica: Now that you’re single how has that changed your writing?

Me: I think I’ve opened up a little bit more. I think my writing in general is my way of connecting to people in a way that is difficult for me in real life. It’s a gateway to my true feelings, I think that’s important to note.

Jessica: … and you’re dating someone new!!! How does he like your blog?

Me: I don’t know if he’s made it to my blog… I think he reads my TC stuff pretty often, he’s great. I don’t think I’ll ever date anyone again who isn’t supportive of my writing or reads my stuff. That’s really the biggest compliment anyone could give me is “I read your stuff” because it just means the world to me…. Now I’m just giving away ideas for guys out there on how to get me to like you haha.

Jessica: What’s been your favorite piece this year that you’ve written?

Me: I have a lot of them from recently but I did write this one piece last summer called If You Want A Girl That’s Simple, which is my obnoxious attempt at poetry, and I thought it was really good. It spoke to my heart and I think one of my guy friends was telling me about his dating life and how he just wanted to “date someone simple” and I remember feeling so disgusted at that notion. Because, like why?! Why would anyone want that?!

Jessica: What was your least favorite piece?

Me: …. Most of the first few. Reading them now I just see how bad I was at articulating thought. I think the more I read the better I became. So yeah….

Jessica: Where do you see yourself this time next year?

Me: Would you laugh if I told you I wrote about it. this is what I imagine it too look like. Maybe not literally but I want to travel, I want to be in love, I want to have great supportive friends and I want to write about all of it.

Jessica: This is really long how should we end this?

Me: I think we can just stop recording. 🙂