minor miracle

And then one day, you'll come home to a short, scribbled note. Just six words, plus your name, plus his. And this note will be confirmation that everything you felt all weekend, during the marathon three nights you spent with him, wasn't just in your head. And it'll stop you dead where you stand, next to the lamp where you read it with a smile. Because you know all too well that time has a way of taking things eventually, every last thing you love, because that's just how it seems to go.

But in this moment, time can't do anything. Time can't reach you at all. In this moment, all that exists is the undeniable reality that someone is in love with you. And that's a choice he's making, despite all the reasons he could choose not to. There are a hundred things about you that make you - that make any of us - an imperfect choice. But he doesn't care about those things. Instead he's focused why he should, why he can, and why he wants to. That's a minor miracle. It's a triumph. It's the "I told you so" of all your friends who reminded you that awesome, amazing things you cannot predict are always just around the corner. It's beauty itself.

Which is why you don't move from where you stand frozen next to the lamp. You just let time stop all around you and meditate on the fact that in this instant, on this day, in this year of your one precious life, you are fucking loved.


why I write

I write to be okay with myself, and to find a kind of self-love.

I write to get a handle on my emotions, which are all too often extreme, exhausting, and which frequently run roughshod over me.

I write to work through conflicts in my life. My allegorical posts, which are my favorite and most cathartic to write, are always representations of something I'm struggling with in real life. I simplify the setting and strip down the details to the most basic, recognizable images and symbols -- boy, girl, forest, water, flower, stone -- because those are much easier to get a handle on than the complexities of the real world situation. And the amazing thing is that in reaching some resolve for these characters (or even just a pithy final line of dialogue), I feel as though I've puzzled through the actual problem. Like I've cracked it.

I write because I love the idea of others finding something to relate to in my words. The thought that someone could read this, for instance, and apply an interpretation of it to their own life in some illuminating or comforting way -- is an incredible thing. I love the idea of a simple, hundred-word story meaning a dozen different things to a dozen different people, because the concepts in it are both so familiar and so broad.

I write because I am insecure, and I find a kind of confidence in vulnerability. That probably sounds counterintuitive, but I have come to believe that being utterly truthful about my fears and weaknesses isn't something to be ashamed of, but to be proud of. I believe this because I greatly admire when others are vulnerable with me. I find it the most beautiful of human traits, in fact.

I write to express things to the people in my life that I can't say directly. Sometimes these are positive things; sometimes not. Every single significant person in my life and everyone I've ever been close to knows about my blog, and knows that it's the best way to find out what's really going on with me, should they wish to find out.

I write to celebrate the people I love. I don't often announce to friends or boyfriends that I've written about them; I prefer to let my blog just quietly exist and let others seek it out when they want to. But sometimes I share those posts with people when I want them to know how much they mean to me. When I want them to feel how much they are seen. This feels like a precious gift that only I can give them, and that no matter what ever happens between us, they'll always have. They'll always know that for a moment in time, these unique, beautiful things about them were deeply loved.

I write to remind myself that despite a sort of incessant loneliness that I struggle with, I do in fact have many wonderful friends, with whom I have so many great times.

I write because I know it's my greatest talent, and it feels good to use it.

I write because in times of loneliness, my own voice feels like a friend keeping me company. Finding the right words and putting them in the right order calms me, and is like a balm for my anxieties.

I write because so many of you have, over the years, sent me encouragement and kind compliments that make me feel like what I have to say matters.

I write because I know no better way to let go of pain and fear and anger.

I write because language is a lullaby I can sing to myself, when there is no around to soothe me.

I write because it feels like what I'm meant to do.

any given square

I don't have as much energy and enthusiasm for Instagram as I used to; most of the time it just feels like an arms race. Like if I don't periodically supply proof that I am alive, that I'm still moderately attractive, that I have friends and a boyfriend and do fun things, I will be dismissed as irrelevant and uncool. That I will be pitied for my lonely, workaday life.

This is hugely ironic, since the years of my IG heyday (~2013-2016 I guess?) were actually some of my unhappiest. These years were broken up with the occasional incredible experience, sure, but the truth was that not having a (real) job was a soul-crushing existence that made me feel ashamed and alienated every single day. But wow were my dog and my boyfriend photogenic, and wow was it easy to look at pictures of us and convince myself that I was complete and life was okay.

I have a couple of wildly successful friends, one of whom leads the kind of life most people would kill to spray all over Instagram. International travel, a gorgeous girlfriend, endless good times with long-standing, very close friends. He doesn't post one fucking bit of it on social media. Occasionally he'll send me some jaw-dropping photo from, say, the south of France or Aspen, when I ask where in the world he is. But that's where his need to prove anything to anyone ends.

On the other hand, I have acquaintances whose quest for validation on IG makes me genuinely uncomfortable. These are the same people who will tell you, unasked, how blissfully happy they are, how devoted and adoring their partners are. Okay. Sure. But just as the truly rich never talk about how much money they have, the truly happy don't need to constantly assure everyone how perfect everything is.

That's part of why I don't like Instagram as much anymore. It can all seem a little sad and desperate, and any given image is now suspect. Instagram couples in particular get serious side eye from me - because I've been in one. All that energy invested into building a narrative feels tryhard.

Then there is the fact of my own questionable motives. It's definitely nice to see, at a glance, all of the people that I'm currently close to, and all the recent great times I've had with them. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some part of me needing to regularly post a Happy Square to remind those who've hurt me (read: left my life for one reason or another) that I'm doing great, thanks for checking in. Oh did you think I'd have trouble getting over you? Peep how ridiculously hot my new boyfriend is. While you're at it, kindly be reminded how attractive I am. Or: Remember when you decided I wasn't good enough for your friendship anymore? No worries, look how much fun my new friends are. 

Anyway, here are some blurry and imperfect shots from moments that will stay in my memory as anything but:











banner

I held a staff meeting at 7am this morning, my first ever. Literally everyone showed. For the industry I work in, and considering how early and how far these people had to trek just for 45 minutes of listening - this is remarkable. The meeting went well and I didn't even speed talk, which is what I usually do when forced to speak in front of a group. It was just easy and comfortable.

Afterward I shot my boss a quick note just to share this win with him. I only see my boss about once a month; he bounces between SoCal, NorCal and NY, and our store happily needs very little onsite attention. He always emails back quickly, though. Today he answered: Ellie, the atmosphere and culture that you bring to your team is like no other. I truly appreciate it, and keep up the great work. He cc'd his boss on this reply.

I immediately screenshot this and sent it to all of my close friends. I do this, of course, because it's the one area of my life that I'm still insecure about - the one where I most feel I've something to prove. My friends (who know this about me) indulge me with various versions of Fuck yeah or Wow or in one case, some well deserved piss-taking: Manage that workflow. Create synergies.

Not ten minutes after this, one of my employees comes back to tell me that my boss's boss's boss - the company founder/CEO - is here. This is a totally unannounced surprise visit, which, okay, fine - but it was a whole thing. A whole media project thing, with a camera person and producer. Bit nerve wracking. In addition, she also included me in her Instagram story, introducing me as "Ellie, our GM, who is killing it." I laughed and demurred and said something about how I just show up, everyone else does the hard work - but I later saw that she captioned over me while I was talking: "She's being modest."

So all of that was great. And on top if it I got to talk to, see, or text about seven of my friends, old and new. And if you don't already know this about me, that is my metric for, well, pretty much every shade of happiness: how much connection I feel to the people in my life. How many conversations, how many laughs, how many witty text conversations. I live for their love. It's truly pathetic.

Anyway: I don't often have days where the awesomeness stacks up like this. But today it was stacked, and I wanted to remember it.

buyer's market

I've built a summer home for us, with walls made of expectation.


Sometimes winter won't let go, gets jealous of spring, and there's nothing anyone can do about it until the sun turns and says Enough. I have been waiting and waiting for that moment, and I can feel it coming. And when it does I want your skin against mine, as the heat sinks back into my bones.


I've stocked this summer home with all the things we'll need. Beach towels, my terrible navigation, and a full tank of gas. Watermelon cubes, sunsets to squint at, and cool sheets for sunburned shoulders.


I'm packed and ready to go. I don't think I'm going to bring my phone, or my laptop, or very many of my insecurities. I want to leave space for the things we didn't know we'd find there.


There's room for two in the summer home I've built -- but just barely. Let me know if you want to come along; otherwise I'll bring more of me.

either way

Sometimes loving you is like wrapping a blanket around a small, fragile creature. Soft fur, steady heartbeat. Calm and grateful for the shelter I have to give.

And sometimes loving you is like gathering broken glass with my bare hands. Fractured pieces reflecting light in every direction that I'm ineptly, hopelessly trying to capture. Splinters and blood and the suspicion that I'm only making a bigger mess.

Don't be scared of me; I'm not scared of scars.

early summer sunset

"Give me something of you that no one else has gotten," he said. "Show me something no one else has seen."


She smiled. In the request she heard his need to feel a singular, private connection between them. A desire, however impossible, to banish the specter of Lovers Past. This moved her deeply, because she could relate. Jealousy was a pin prick she felt keenly and all too often. The glimpses of it she saw in him only made her love him more.


So she held her breath and plunged into waters that were increasingly unpredictable. Warm one day; icy another. She swam deep and her muscles limbered with the movement. She felt vulnerable and beautiful, and when she rose to the surface, the breath she took to fill her burning lungs was triumphant.


But he was gone. She was alone in her victory, which suddenly felt small, stupid, and superficial.


She tread water quietly, scanning the shore, expecting him to reappear at any moment. But he didn't, and after a while she let the tide pull her in to a beach quickly cooling in the early summer sunset.

birthday update

Hi. How goes it? I hope it goes well. I'm stopping by today to give a sort of state of the union, since Thursday was my birthday and it's been ages since I've just given a straight update on my life.

Work.

Work is great. It's been six months now since they foolishly put me at the helm - but I haven't crashed the ship yet. In fact, hilariously, I have actually turned out to be rather good at it. Of seven stores, mine is by some measures the most profitable, and has in fact only been profitable since I took over. I am constantly insisting to my bosses (who I love) that this has nothing to do with me, that I'm just showing up every day and making common sense decisions and trying to keep people (employees and customers) happy -- and they are constantly insisting that I'm killing it. (Their actual words.) It has been a huge and unexpected boost to my self-esteem, and despite the work being unglamorous in the extreme, I absolutely love my job. I work with a crew of funny, caring, and awesome people who've become great friends and I count each of them a blessing every day.

Social life.

I spend a lot of time with coworkers and ex-coworkers who've remained friends. They're awesome and supportive and we're close knit to a point where it actually feels like family. And if you've been following me for some time, you know how much that sense of belonging is like heroin to me. It's all I want. And I have it again, after not having it for some time. And it's so, so great. I see the my LA friends (the few who didn't move away) every so often, and Cameron (still living in Texas) and I talk every single day. I couldn't imagine life without him in my corner.

Love life.

The thing that I've been writing about since March is still going. He lives in North Hollywood, which is a right bitch to get to from where I'm at, so we're only able to see one another once or maybe twice a week. But we recently had a talk about this and I agreed to tweak my schedule a bit so we can change that.

Most nights that we get together we immediately fall on the bed and just lay wrapped up in one another's arms, talking and laughing and listening to music and only leaving when we're too hungry to sleep. Sometimes we go on day trip adventures. Sometimes we cook. The other night at midnight he wanted "to bake" so we went to the store and got stuff to make cake and manicotti. Sometimes we go to shows. These are my favorite times with him. On these nights he doesn't let go of my hand, and he pulls me through crowds, spinning me to the music, blatantly showing off to strangers how happy we are, smiling at me for hours and hours in a way that makes my heart feel brand new.

I've spent the past two months falling for him, and here's why:

We have the same sense of humor. Absurdities in the world and in other people strike us the same way. He tells great stories about ridiculous things that happen during his day, because he has a knack for finding the humor in adversity. He has this one laugh that he only does when he's laughing really hard, and it's about the best thing ever. I'm in love with that laugh. He's the biggest cuddle bug I've ever known and can fall dead asleep no matter what crazy position he's twisted himself up against me in. He brings out a nurturing side of me that I didn't know I had. With him I'm a more patient, accepting, and grateful person. In return he guards my heart and my body in the most beautiful ways. When we walk down the street he always, always, always maneuvers himself to be closer to traffic, to be between me and some shady person. He comes out to the street to wait for my Uber and when he puts me back in another one at the end of the night, he tells the driver to please drive safe. "Precious cargo." (It is of course to be silly, but it's adorable all the same.) And he monitors my mood and happiness like -- well, like Chaucer did. Very closely. He knows when even the slightest tiniest thing has bothered me and will not let up until I admit it. He makes sure I am good -- and that we are good. It's important to him.

He's a songwriter (by hobby not profession) so he feels and thinks in lyrics and music. He's made me half a dozen playlists. I've made him two. When we miss one another, we turn to these. That's a really big thing for me that I've missed. I shared my blog with him. I showed him what I'd written about him. I didn't know how he'd take it. The first thing he said after reading was "No words." Then he described my writing as "next level" and said some other really sweet things. His creative life is very, very important to him, and he protects his creative time carefully. I love and respect and find inspiration in that.

And more superficially, of course, he is absolutely, positively perfect for me physically.

Health.

I'm running fairly often and still doing my dumb little faux-ga / faux-lates moves that I do at home. I'm pretty happy with my body. I wish I had more self-discipline when it comes to sugar and eating too much too late at night. But generally I'm feeling fit and healthy.

Writing.

As is obvious, working full time still takes a pretty big toll on my creative life. But lately I'm coming to think there's another reason I don't blog as much. Same reason I stay away from Instagram. I'm just losing my taste for self-reflection. For talking about myself at all. For selfies. I have a theory as to why this is, and it's pretty simple: the happier I am - and I'm talking true contentedness with who I am and where I'm at in my life - the less I need to shout about it.

But I still love to write.

So to that end, I've been toying for some time with the idea of taking a fiction class. Because I just have no clue how to approach fiction. Last year I met a published writer who's been through Iowa Writer's Workshop and was just listed as one of the best 15 fiction teachers in Los Angeles, and I'm on his mailing list.

I'm thinking about it, but it's pricey -- and my little free time is very precious -- so I dunno.

----

And that's all the news fit to print. Birthday girl, over and out.