I Know

I know you unlike anyone

I know the gleam in your eyes when you are happy and

the tilt of your head just slightly when you are sad.

I know the way you like your coffee in the morning

way too much sugar and just the right amount of

wake up.

I know your laugh and how

it changes when you are with different people.

My heart knows your heart.

We are like old friends that only just met

years ago or maybe centuries

I know when you are hurting.

I know when you need a hug or

ten shots of something too strong

I know you feel like giving up.

The weight of the world feels too heavy on your shoulders

And you feel alone but

I know that you are not.

I do not know all of the answers.

I don’t know the future, I’m not even sure of the present

I have never been good at adding or subtracting

but I know that I would do anything

to keep you from drowning.

I know that if you were too jump

I would be at the bottom to catch you.

This is messy

We are messy

The world is messy

But I know my world isn’t my world without you in it.

 

-Chan Eliza

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Dear …

When I was in High School, I remember this one assignment from my English teacher in which we were asked to write a letter to someone we loved and also to someone we were mad at. We were to write it with no intent of this person ever reading the letter – and while originally the assignment seemed ridiculous – it was actually extremely therapeutic. I encourage you to assign yourself this task. Take a minute to think of that one person who made you really angry or hurt you really badly, and write them a letter they will never see. Or think of the one person you love more than anyone else in this world, and write them a letter describing every little thing that draws you to them – they don’t ever have to read it.

For today’s post, my letter is to my middle school self.

Dear 13 year old me,

There is no denying that you are different from your classmates. Don’t even try to fit in, because I’m sorry, but you weren’t born to. You are never going to fit the mold and you are going to learn eventually that for you, that’s a very good thing.

Ignore the bullies. I know how hard this is when they won’t leave you alone and seem to come from every side, but just ignore them. What your parents keep telling you is true; they are just jealous of something you have. Either that, or something is wrong for them at home and for some reason, they have picked you as their target to release the anger that causes. None of this makes it right, but it’s not personal. You are better than them anyway, and one day soon you are going to see this for yourself.

Use the medicine the doctors prescribed to you for your acne. Just use it. It takes two minutes and you’ll thank me later. Just do it.

Stop worrying about the friend’s that back stab you or treat you like a second choice; don’t give them a second thought. Focus on the one girl who has never faltered and who has always been there. You know who I’m talking about. Trust me, in just a few short years it’s going to be very clear who your true friends are and all of this time spent trying to get old friends back is going to seem like a waste of time. You will go to many lengths to keep friends, and that’s what makes you so good, but not everyone will do the same for you. You don’t need those people.

Stop arguing with your sisters so much over the tiniest of problems. Yes, I know, it’s easy to argue, but they are your sisters and you’ll always have them around. When it seems like you have no one else, these girls are always going to have your back. Don’t take them for granted.

Stop. Yelling. At. Your. Parents. Trust me. When you’re out living on your own, it’s your mom and dad that are going to be answering the phone at nine o’clock at night to hear you ramble and answer your ridiculous questions, no matter how stupid. So just stop. They are doing their best, and they don’t deserve it. You are very lucky to have such amazing parents.

Stop focusing on the family that doesn’t spend time with you, and focus on the ones that do. You have amazing people in your life. The people that don’t want to be their don’t matter.

Don’t beat yourself up about math class. You’re not going to get any better throughout High School, and that’s okay. You excel in other classes, focus your energy there. You will pass math class, it will be okay. Don’t stress about it so much.

Have fun. Don’t worry about looking silly. These years are going to fly by so fast and you’re going to wish you had taken another minute to swing on the playground and play tag with your friends. Savor these moments before they are gone.

Love,

Me

Lessons with Harry Potter

Harry Potter has saved me numerous times. My big sister read the series to me when I was little, and I have read it myself at least five times since. The messages to gather from the story are ever changing, the characters I relate to ever revolving, and no matter my age, I am convinced Harry Potter will continue to stay a part of me.

The first time I heard the story, Ron was hands down my favorite character. As a struggling preteen who didn’t seem to fit in anywhere, I related to his bright red hair and protruding ears; his awkwardness made me feel not quite as alone. He also had an amazing best friend that he would do anything for, which I connected to as well.

While Ron is still a favorite of mine, as I progressed through middle school, Hermione scooted into the number one spot with her brightness and bushy hair. Her loyalty to her classes and friends no matter what others thought of her helped me accept that maybe I wasn’t born to fit in, and that was perfectly okay.

Luna and Neville, also misfits seemingly cursed to always be on the outside, helped me realize that the outside is the place to be. This is where you make the best friends and learn the best lessons.

Of course, the main character and hero of the story, Harry Potter, deserves a shout out. While he wouldn’t of won without the help of his friends, Harry had an unwavering strength that is unquestionable. Without parents his whole life, believing no one loved him for the first eleven years of it, he never let the world harden him.

Snape, Sirius, and Dumbledore also make the list of my all time favorite Harry Potter characters. Each have their own redeeming qualities, strength and intelligence prevalent in each, and the undying will to keep Harry Potter safe at all costs. Each with their own agenda, there is no question that all three deserve applause, as each ultimately gave their life for Harry Potter.

There are so many other characters that deserve recognition, but too many to name in only one blog post. Others for another day would include Dobby, Ginny, Lupin, Mad Eye Moody, Hagrid, and many, many more. J.K Rowling carefully carved out each character, giving each a life and a personality unmatched to any other series I have read.

Which character was your favorite the first time you read the novels? Did that opinion change the next time you read it? What did you learn from each character?

I would love to hear what you have to say, please feel free to share!

For the love of an Introvert

I am an introvert. The dictionary definition describes us as “a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things”, as opposed to the dictionary definition of an extrovert being – “a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations”. These are the psychological definitions, while simplified labels are shy versus outgoing. While no one can be boxed completely into either category, we all lean more heavily into one state of being. For me, I have always enjoyed the quiet of being alone with my thoughts, rather than abundant conversations and other activities that require me to socialize.

There is always an exception to this rule. Of course, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and if you were to see me around my family, best friend or boyfriend, you would have no idea that I am normally very quiet and closed off.

While the dictionary would label me as “shy”, this isn’t a term I connect with. I choose to keep to myself not because I am nervous or timid, but simply because that is what feels right to me. Sure, I have a history with social anxiety, but this keeps me from leaving my house – not from speaking when I actually do. I have no problem expressing my opinion if I am angry or irritated, or overjoyed even. I just don’t feel the need to always speak on the mundane and simple topics that normally fill everyday conversation.

For the longest time, I was ashamed to be labeled as an introvert. I thought there must be something wrong with me, some wiring in my brain that kept me from wanting to talk. I would beat myself up over it, and admire the people that could strike up a conversation about the tiniest of things, making friends as easy as counting to three.

I embrace the label now. I am proudly an introvert – if you feel the need to label me this way – because of the qualities that come with it. I am a good listener, an abundant feeler, and when I do choose to speak, I know I am saying the right thing. My opinions and thoughts are well thought out, I care deeply about everything and everyone, and I enjoy my own company. I don’t fear being alone with my thoughts anymore, because I am one of my own best friends.

Which label do you fall under? I personally find that most of us fall somewhere in between, and that is perfectly okay.

 

Sisters, Biological and Other

Anybody who knows me, knows I’m the middle child of three girls. It’s not exactly something I keep a secret, being the middle child irritated me for the longest time. Growing up, it seemed no matter what happened, I was always in the middle. My older sister got things first, my younger sister got things last, and I just…well I just existed. This isn’t a new realization. Middle children have been screaming their battle cries for decades. There is a reason we are commonly known as the most outspoken, the loudest. We have fought our whole lives for a spot in our own families, it isn’t hard for us to fight for a spot in the world as well.

As I grew up, however, it became less important to me where I ranked in the birth order of my siblings, and more important that I even had them. My sisters, biological and other, have been my best friends since the minute I was born. Well, in my younger sisters case, since the minute she was born. Our house has always been full of estrogen, arguments fueled by hormones, and way too much clothes. The smell of perfume has always been suffocating, and nothing is just yours unless you write your name on it. Even then, ownership is risky.

Having sisters means always having a friend. And whether this is a cliche or not, it’s an undeniable truth. I can’t preach about the amazing life of having a brother, as many do. When I was younger, having a big brother was something I dreamed about endlessly, picturing a protective figure, someone who always had my back while also making my life a living hell with his teasing and harmless jokes. Instead though, I found this in cousins, in uncles, and in my father. Every gap I thought existed was filled in one way or another, my sisters and I forming a small group of soldiers that were a force to be reckoned with.

Since the youngest sister was born, our band has been known as the Three Elles. A title given to us fondly for the ending of all of our names. It was always a given however, that when you saw those three blonde heads in the crowd, there was always a certain brunette to be found somewhere close by. Another sister, not biological, but to me just as important. Us four, we are the ocean, and no matter where we wander, how far apart we may float, when one of us needs the other, our waves will come crashing down in unison.

Families, siblings, they are essential, and each bond is unique, something that can’t be explained in mere paragraphs. For me, these bonds would take novels to even brush the surface of the love I feel for each person in my tiny army. My wonderful parents would need trilogies all to themselves, a story for another day. However, as this tiny circle starts to grow, adding brother in laws, significant others, nephews and nieces, there isn’t a single thing in this world I am more thankful for than my tiny little army. Sisters, biological or other.