summer

I was going to wait until the very end of summer and then write a post about what all I had done and do a wrap up basically, buuuut I’m babysitting right now and I have some spare time, so I figured I’d catch you up so far! Back in May I was the graduate assistant for the high school choir I used to be in. Every year we go on a tour and perform around the United States. This year the trip was to Chicago!

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I had never been before and I loved it! I got to meet up with two of my friends from school that live there, so I was glad to see them. We walked around the RiverWalk and explored downtown. Up on the 94th floor of the Hancock Tower there is an attraction called The Tilt where you are standing at a window with railings on the side and it lowers you out away from the building. It was awesome. I hate heights, but I love the adrenaline rush from being scared of them, so I thought it was fun! Throughout the trip we got to sing at some pretty amazing and beautiful places. In Nashville, Tennessee we stopped at an old traditional church that is one of my favorite places ever. I’m a complete architecture nerd and old, gothic style castles are my favorite. So, when we pulled up to this church you can imagine how excited I was. It looks like a castle!

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I was really concentrating on the sunset in the picture but that church is beautiful. I loved that trip and the group of people with it and I’m very grateful I was able to go help.

In June. I got my wisdom teeth out, so I didn’t do much haha. I had never seen Spongebob (my mom HATES it so i never watched it as a kid) so my friends used the opportunity of me being bedridden to make me watch some of the first season. They reference it all the time and got tired of me never understanding the jokes. However, I was high off of pain meds the whole time we were watching it and I barely remember it. Haha don’t tell them. All I remember is Sandy the squirrel being in her house and Spongebob drying out into an actual sponge…that’s all I got. I’m sure they’ll make me re-watch it at some point. My friends and I  did go down to an Alabama Symphony Orchestra performance in a park near my house. We packed sandwiches, blankets, and chairs and listened to the music. It was a nice change from the usual performance hall (which I also love).

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***DISCLAIMER: That is not my photo. The Alabama Symphony tweeted that photo and I saved it. I don’t want to be sued haha.

At the end of June/ beginning of July, my best friend and I drove up to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to visit my mom! My mom moved up there when I moved into college. She is getting hitched and her fiance lives up there, so we went to spend time with them. We drove from Birmingham to Chattanooga the first day and went to the Tennessee Aquarium. That place is huge and awesome. They have this freaking incredible sea turtle named Oscar. His back flipper was cut off from a boat propeller. When turtle experiences a traumatic event, it can buoyancy issues, so Oscar had to figure out a new way to swim. Now his back end floats up towards the surface and he swims harder with his front two flippers to pull himself down. What a trooper. We spent the night with a friend in Chattanooga and woke up early the next day to drive all the way to Pittsburgh! While we were up there we went on a couple tours. We did a river boat tour that takes you around the perimeter of downtown. Here’s a picture of us on the boat.

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We also went to a symphony performance in Pittsburgh at Hartwood Acres. The orchestra performed John Williams’ famous pieces from movies like E.T and Jurassic Park. There were a lot more people at this concert than the one in Birmingham. The music was beautiful and my favorite part was at sunset because right at the sun was going down the orchestra played the theme from E.T. and it was perfect. I couldn’t help but take pictures.

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My mom’s fiance, Roy, likes to play tour guide, so by now, on my fourth visit to Pittsburgh, I had learned a lot about the history of it. Pittsburgh has two inclines that lead up to Mount Washington which overlooks the city.  The inclines were used to move coal up the mountain back in the day. Now, they are used as public transportation to shuffle people up and down the hill. On top of the hill there are a couple of overlooks of the city. My mom, Roy, my friend Eliza, and I had been waiting in line for about 30 minutes to get a spot in the cart to ride up. We were actually really pissed off because people cut in front of us and wouldn’t get off the cart…but that’s another story. Either way we got up to the top a good 45 minutes later than we wanted to, but it was worth it. That sunset was the most gorgeous sunset I’ve ever seen. These pictures haven’t been edited or anything. I just took them on my phone once we  got to the top.

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I’m glad those people cut in front of us otherwise we would have missed this. Also, sorry for all the sunset pictures, but I really like them. The trip to Pittsburgh was really fun overall. We went to the science museum and toured Pitt (the college). We also got to sort of watch the Kenny Chesney concert in Heinz field (where the Steelers play). You can see into Heinz stadium from where my mom lives, so even though he was facing away from us, we could hear him and see the lights! It was pretty cool.

That’s about all I’ve done that is “blog worthy.” I work ALL THE TIME and then I hang out with my friends a lot haha. We usually swim or play video games depending on what kind of mood they’re in.

Thanks for reading about my life this summer so far! I’m going to the beach to close out my summer in 2 weeks so I’m excited for that. Talk to you soon 🙂

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

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“the chill one”

“The chill one.”That’s what they call me. Everyone has a reputation and mine is being the girl who “doesn’t give a fuck.” People tell me it’s a good thing because I’m the one who they can count on being okay with whatever the plans are because I don’t care. They say they never have to worry about me judging them because I don’t care. They don’t have to worry about drama with me because I don’t care.

However, I think they are wrong. I do care. I care a lot. I think that I care too much sometimes. I have different priorities than others, so they tend not to notice what matters to me. Once I got to college and I started going out, I noticed something. People do not give a crap about other people. Not everyone is like this, but I’m gonna throw out that probably 96.2% of people do not care about the other humans around them. They care about their hair, makeup, Snapchat, boys, girls, pictures, alcohol…ya know the true “important” things. <- sarcasm. But my question is: What about the best friend puking in the bathroom? What about the girl getting harassed by a guy who won’t leave her alone? What about all the people who’s rides couldn’t stay sober and are now stranded because they can’t find a safe ride home? These are the things I see when I go out. These are the things I care about, not someone’s smeared make-up. I usually choose to be designated driver (DD) because I don’t mind it. I do not have to be intoxicated to enjoy myself. If I have people around me and there is music playing, I’m happy. I choose to be DD because if I’m sober I can help the people who need it. To me, it is more important to be there for people when they need it than to drink to the point where I can’t even take care of myself.

A quick example to give you an idea of what I’m talking about: There was an end of the year house party right off campus that my friends and I went to. This was one of the few times I chose to not be DD and I let my other friend (who was DD) drive my car. A guy that came with us ended up getting stupid drunk and smoking weed for the first time and he got very cross faded. He started getting sick, so I called our ride to come back. Also, just for the record, I didn’t really know this guy. We were acquaintances, but really we just had mutual friends. I told my friends that we needed to leave and only 1 out of the 5 who came would leave with me to take him home. They rest said they weren’t ready to quit partying. On the way back, he threw up on the side of my car because he thought it was spinning. His friend and I ended up staying in his room until 4 a.m. If he laid down he would think he was falling and couldn’t go to sleep. He was genuinely terrified. He felt horrible and kept apologizing for everything. Honestly, I forgive him for all that. He doesn’t even remember it! I would want someone to stay with me if I ever got to that point, so I’m fine with taking care of someone like that. Everyone the next day kept going on how it was awesome how I was so “chill” about leaving the party early and so “chill” about cleaning the puke off my car. However, that isn’t the case at all. It was not fun washing throw-up off my car from a guy I barely know for 2 hours. I did not enjoy holding this guy’s head for 4 hours in his room so that he could know he was not falling. I would not consider any of that a good time, but I would do it again in an instant because I believe people should do that for each other. I would want someone to do the same for me. I was chill with his actions because I was more concerned with what was happening to him. He needed help and no one else was going to do it.

My friends are right. I don’t care about a lot of stuff. I don’t care about what people think about me (to an extent), I don’t care about how many likes I get on social media, or how popular the people I surround myself are. But, they’re wrong about me not caring. I just care about things they don’t think about. I care about people. I care about morality. I care about putting other people before myself and making sure they are okay. I care about honesty and loyal friendships. I think the 3 Musketeers had it going on with the whole “all for one and one for all” thing. Why am I such an abnormality because I believe that people should care for each other?

Woodrow Wilson said,

Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.

Selfishness attacks society like a cancer in many different forms.The most dangerous part of it is that it takes place like an avalanche. It begins slowly, like a crack in the ice, through one simple action. The exciting grasp of greed felt through one selfish act is addicting and it appears more and more rapidly until before you realize it, you’ve become consumed with the idea of yourself. I’m guilty of it. I try to keep myself humble and in check, but I slip up. I wont realize how neglecting I can be to my friends and family until I’ve already hurt them.

I think that society has become too selfish for its own good. I may be the chill one, but I do care.

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

my love, my all

I cannot describe all emotions locked inside

They are building within threatening to collide

You consume my thoughts by both day and night

with a love so fierce that I’d never fight

 

You are my love, my all, all I hope to be

With your eyes that shine, they set me free

 

But our paths are diverging just like the yellow wood

The walls are reforming where they once stood

I  am scared of the break that will split through my heart

On the day you will say that we must stay apart

My heart to you will never grow cold

But it is wary of love you my find down the road

 

You are my love, my all, all I hope to be

With your eyes that shine, they set me free

I repeat and say, I need you the most

Convincing in order to keep the repose

 

I ignored my head, my heart I chose

To you I drew near, but I got too close

The break is imminent, my heart now knows

For the warmth in you has forever gone cold

 

You were my love, my all, all I hoped to be

Your eyes that shone no longer gleam

I will always love you, that you must know

And it is because I love you, I must let you go

 

My love, My all, You will always be

Every once in a while I hope you think of me

 

-Ellie X.

 

 

 

range of beliefs

Today I made the drive back home after finishing my freshman year of college! Pray that my GPA was high enough to keep my scholarship. College was amazing and I miss it, but I’m happy to be home. I always visit my best friend from high school, Eliza, when I come home and her college best friend, Kelsey. Today we did the normal catch up on drama in our lives, visit taco bell, and talk about boys, but after we caught up our conversation found its way to religion. Eliza and I went to the same private Christian high school. Now, Eliza and Kelsey attend a Christian college and I’m at a public college, so we’ve all been involved in religion courses. We started off just talking about how professors we took all taught from different perspectives. For example, we discussed Martin Luther and how some professors taught that his nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church was fact and others taught that depending on how you look at the evidence it can be debated whether or not Martin Luther was the one who posted them. It was interesting to me mainly because both professors were people I considered to be highly intelligent, but why did they not agree if they were both “experts” in their field? It got me thinking about religion in a general sense.

I have never met two people who agree on absolutely everything. Ever. I do not think it’s possible to find two people who have the same values, beliefs, morals, political views, etc. There are just too many options for people to decide on. Someone once described modern religion to me to be similar to a buffet line. Imagine the buffet line is all different religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Mormon, Protestant, Sunni, Shiite, and all the ones you can think of. Then as you go down the buffet line, you pick out each thing you like about the different religions. If you like to have your sins forgiven through confession, then you choose that from Catholicism. If you believe in karma and meditation to channel the God within then you choose to have that from Hinduism. You continue down the table until you reach the end and you have your plate which is now your own personalized religion. Society has caused this mindset of “I do what is best for me and what works for me” and I’m not saying that is right or wrong. That isn’t the point of this post. I just think it’s interesting compared to religion over the past several centuries.

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I’ll start with the Egyptians (because for those of you who don’t know I have a slight obsession with Egypt and I have a lot of useless knowledge about it). The Egyptians were polytheistic, meaning they believed in more than one God. They actually believed in MANY gods and they were constantly changing depending on who was Pharaoh. The gods only communicated to the Egyptian people through the Pharaoh, which basically gave him all the power because who would know if he/she was lying? The regular townspeople of Egypt were not even allowed inside of the temples because they were the “dwelling places” of the gods. Egyptian history had different phases: The Dynastic Period, and Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Before the Old Kingdom in the Dynastic Period, the gods were very often portrayed in animal form along with human form. In the Old and Middle Kingdoms the focus shifted from animal and human forms of the gods to the sun god Ra. Ra had temples built to him along with a small pyramid. While the other were still an important part of religion, it was the first time that a non-animal or human was the focus. Then in the New Kingdom, the Pharaoh Akhenaten decided to do away with polytheism and make Egypt a monotheistic society. However, this decision was not so popular and after Akhenaten’s death polytheism was immediately brought back. Tradition dies hard. I find it interesting because Egypt prospered for about 3000 years and their religion changed and shaped itself throughout that time and has now (to my knowledge) died out. So, what about all those people throughout the 3000 year period who devoted their lives to worshipping these gods that don’t exist in the modern world? Were their efforts in vain?

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Another, more current, example is the Zoroastrians. Zoroastrianism is the pre-Islamic religion of Persia that has been around for 3500 years and is still being practiced today. I do not know as much about this religion as I do about the Egyptians, but I do know that they are having a problem because they are dying out. Traditionally, Zoroastrians only marry other Zoroastrians and they do not consider converts appropriate for marriage. From the information I could find there are only about 190,000 left around the globe. Considering there’s 7.125 billion people in the world (give or take a few) and we are constantly growing, 190,000 is not a lot. They have had to make to make changes to their strict rules in order for their religion to survive. The more traditional Zoroastrians are upset by the change in this ancient religion, similar to the anger felt by the Egyptians in the change from polytheism to monotheism. My question is will this religion die out like Egypt’s?

What happens to the people who dedicate their lives to worshipping gods, but then their religion dies out. Civilizations like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians whose gods are no longer worshipped and only mentioned in history lectures. Was it all for nothing?

I’m not necessarily looking for answers. This was mostly just food for thought to get the gears spinning in your head. I’m not trying to offend anyone or make light of anyone’s beliefs. I highly respect what people choose to consider the truth and I have my own things that I believe. I just wanted to write about how religions have changed and morphed in different societies over the centuries.

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

P.S. If you’re interested in what I talked about, here’s places where I’ve learned information from.

http://www.aldokkan.com/religion/religion.htm

http://www.religionfacts.com/zoroastrianism

I also have several Egyptology textbooks that I’ve bought off of Amazon.

Zoroastrianism picture: https://thenoblequranofallah.wordpress.com

Egyptian picture: http://cultureblogmrbz.weebly.com/

 

 

i’m still alive, i promise

hello friends,

I’m writing this to say I’M FINALLY DONE WITH EXAMS! Thank God. I’m sorry I completely dropped off the face of the earth. I took 18 credit hours this semester so I have done nothing but work for finals these past couple weeks. I promise I will be posting regularly again, but for now I’m going to sleep for the next 48 hours. I just wanted to let you know I’m still here! Until next post…

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

rainy day in april

It’s a rainy day here on campus and I should be studying for an test I have later, buuut, per the norm, I’m procrastinating. I blame the rain. I don’t know why, but I love the rain. It makes me feel very calm and it’s the perfect writing weather. Everything slows down and it gives you a chance to breathe. Which is highly needed right now. In case you have never experienced April in college, it is hell month. Professors are trying to shove every bit of last minute knowledge into your brain that they can, so they can give another exam before the final. Labs give their final projects. Class signups begin. People realize how little time they have to bring up their grades. Academic scholarships begin looming over peoples heads. It’s the most stressful month in the academic year.

I had never experienced hell month before so I over anticipated how much free time I would have. I bought tickets to concerts on the first two weekends and they’re 4 hours away, I have a sorority formal the next weekend, and then on the last weekend before exams I have Relay for Life on campus (if you don’t know what that is look it up. it’s very cool i promise). I volunteered for two chair positions on the committee and I am co-captain for a team, so they definitely keep me busy. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every second of working for the American Cancer Society. They are wonderful people and I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. However, I’m working on stuff every single day and it’s hard to balance everything. Needless to say, when I woke up this morning and I heard the rain I was very thankful.

This past weekend was my first concert of the month and I saw Mumford & Sons in Birmingham. They were absolutely amazing and sound just as wonderful live as they do on the album.

Mumford &amp; SonsI sat at the very top because I’m a poor college student haha. Mumford opened up with their most popular songs like “I Will Wait” and “The Cave.” After they played the more upbeat songs they went down into the audience and did an acoustic set with one microphone and sang “Awake My Soul.”

Mumford AcousticI almost cried. It was amazing. The entire arena was silent and everyone just stood mesmerized.

Here’s one last picture from the piano solo:

Mumford &amp; Sons flashlight I think I’m slightly addicted to concerts haha. I go to the Pentatonix concert this Saturday and I’ll post the pictures from that soon. No matter how stressful hell month gets, the concerts are worth it 🙂

I hope you all are having a wonderful April! To all the college students out there, good luck.

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

self-absorbed coffee shop

Every Tuesday and Thursday I have a two hour break in between my morning and afternoon classes. During this time I usually go to the Starbucks in my campus’ library and get a head start on homework (which most of the time just turns into me watching Game of Thrones). It’s amazing what you can learn by people watching. I sit in the back of the shop at a long rectangle table against the wall where the single people doing homework usually sit. We all just congregate and sit alone together and don’t talk because, obviously, we all have important things to do like watch Game of Thrones. All the people who come in in groups sit in the middle of Starbucks where they can interact with each other all they want and not disturb the people at the long table. It’s a great system for people watching, which I love, because I can look out and just watch people interact with each other while not having to interact with anyone myself.

Today I sat down, at my usually quiet table, next to people who didn’t know the system. There were three of them and they were on an ex-boyfriend rant so they were yelling and squealing and using the words like and er my gawd continuously. I’m usually pretty okay with loud people at the quiet table because they didn’t know the system and it’s not their fault. They don’t know! But I hadn’t had time to drink my coffee yet so I wasn’t happy yet and then I started listening to their conversation (not that I had a choice from how loud they were being) and I was appalled. There were two girls and a guy and the girls were telling the guy stories about themselves. The girls had been friends since high school and came to our college together. One of the girls, I don’t know her name so let’s call her Tonya, is a sophomore now and had been dating this guy since she was back in high school. He was a year younger than her and was planning on joining his girlfriend at the same college so that they could be together. Sweet, right? So he graduates high school, gets everything arranged, moves into college. He starts his freshman year and she starts her sophomore year and then TWO DAYS into the school year, she dumps him…I’m sitting here listening to their conversation and I swear my jaw dropped. This girl is sitting here complaining about how her ex makes her uncomfortable because he is mad at her. Well hell if I went to a college just to be with my boyfriend and he dumped he two days into the school year, I’d turn into a furious, raging lunatic. I think he is doing pretty well with only being mad! I could not believe this girl was genuinely complaining about this guy being mad.

Then they moved off the ex-boyfriend topic and started bashing one their friends. Apparently one of their friends who goes to school here too was tired of Tonya complaining all the time and wasn’t really talking to her anymore. Well Tonya was not happy about this and went into full denial, yelling mode saying “LIKEWHATTHEFUCKIDONOT!! IDONOTCOMPLAINABOUTEVERYTHING.” At which point I just thought Yea sure. and I decided I was done listening in to their conversation and directed my attention elsewhere. I looked up and there was a guy rushing towards the counter area where they hand you the coffee. He did not look amused. He smashed his down on the counter and proceeded to accuse of the lady of making his coffee “wrong”. She calmly responded ” I may not have stirred up the coffee enough. Would you like me to make you another?” This barista took responsibility for the bad drink and offered him another one, but he just kept on saying he always gets the same drink and they always make it right and this was ridiculous that it wasn’t correct because he always gets this drink. Insinuating that this barista should have known how to make his drink because he gets it everytime. Well if he was in here often enough to always order this drink he would know that this girl was one of the new employees. Our college has 20,000 students in it and our library (where the starbucks is) is open to anyone who has a card. The line is almost always out the door. How in the world would this new girl be able to differentiate this guys order from the rest of the hundreds of people who come through here everyday? She again offered him a new drink and apologized for the quality of his current one. However, this dude still wasn’t satisfied. He proceeded to go into detail about how it was wrong. How the taste was incorrect and was not sweet like it was supposed to be. She asked if it was too bitter and he pointed at her at yelled “YES TOO BITTER.” For the third time, she calmly said, “Would you like me to make you another drink, sir?” He finally looked satisfied, smiled, and nodded his head as she set off to make him another drink. Go new barista lady. I’m supporting you from afar.

People.

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

Spring Break

This past week was spring break and here’s a little bit of what I did!

Disney World

First, my roommate and I left class on Friday and drove down to Disney World! We met up with her boyfriend (who goes to school near the park) and we spent the day there Saturday with him. It was amazing! We got there at 9 when the gates opened and spent the day riding rides and paying way too much for hotdogs. We got stuck on Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion for like 15 minutes each. We finished the day with the firework show “Wishes”. Fun Fact: It is my roommate’s life-goal to be the Tinker Bell that flies from the tower of Cinderella’s castle over Tomorrowland at the beginning of the show.

Firework Show

We only went to Magic Kingdom because for those of you who don’t know, Disney World is ridiculously expensive. The $135 it cost to get in the park for one day was enough for me!

Sunday was dedicated to driving the 10 hours back home so nothing exciting really happened that day haha. Well, actually I had one awkward encounter. I was in the middle of nowhere in Georgia working my way towards Alabama and there was nothing on the road that I was driving on. I hadn’t seen a gas station in a couple hours and I was getting a little nervous. I saw this sketchy looking little gas station that looked like it had been there for forever and I know you should never stop at sketchy gas stations, but I was getting nervous about my gas situation, so I stopped. I was the only person at the pumps and no one was around, which was weird. I just thought to myself Pump $10 of gas and get out of here. I put my debit card in the pump and of course the message came up “please pay inside”. Great. The second I walked up to the store and opened the door I was hit in the face with INCREDIBLY loud music and the room was a billion degrees I swear. Haha all I could think was “what the hell is going on?” Guys, you have not lived until you walk into a gas station where the only people working are 20, dancing around the gas station, and blaring “Colt 45” by Afroman over the loudspeakers. If you don’t know the song, here are some lyrics so you can get a feel for it.

Said colt 45 and two zigzags baby thats all we need
We can go to the park, after dark
Smoke that tumbleweed
As the marijuana burn we can take our turn
Singin’ them dirty rap songs
Stop and hit the bong like cheech and chong
And sell tapes from here to Hong Kong
So roll, roll, roll my joint, pick out the seeds and stems
Feeling high as hell flyin’ through Palmdale
Skatin’ on dayton rims
So roll, roll, the ’83 Cadillac coupe Deville
If my tapes and my CDs just don’t sell, I bet my caddy will

I guess they don’t get a lot of people that stop at their gas station because it looks so creepy from the outside, let alone people that actually go inside. So, I don’t think they were expecting anyone to come inside. They were hilarious. I walked in and I guarantee you that at least 2 of the 3 people in there were high. One of them was a guy dancing around the room, another was just dancing in place. The third girl was working the cash register and was missing most of her teeth. I had to yell just for her to hear me ask for gas over the music. They were great, happy, high people! I completely misjudged the gas station. Haha so that’s my story from Sunday.

Road

Monday-Wednesday I spent catching up with high school friends and being with my family. Thursday was one of the greatest days of my life cause I completed one of dreams and went to a Fall Out Boy concert!! AAAAHHH! Holy crap they were amazing. I almost cried several times throughout the concert. They have been one of my favorite bands ever since I was probably 10. And the fact that they can sing the same songs as when I was ten and still sell out shows says something. They’re amazing.

Fall Out Boy

On Friday my best friend from home and I came back down to school and spent the weekend wandering around downtown and going to the movies. We found a lot of really cool spots.

eliza and grafittiFountainmobilePainted Wall

That’s my Spring Break! Proof that not every single college student goes to the beach and goes crazy for Spring Break (even though I think that’s fun too). Haha Happy almost Easter everyone!

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

Random Life Moment #3

Story time. So, today I had to rush out of my room to get to my friend’s car outside. I had my camera bag and I was juggling my keys and when I got out of my hall door into the lobby of my building I got the BIGGEST WEDGIE EVER! I was trying to get it, but I was half running and my hands were full, so really it just looked like I was running and scratching my butt. Then I turned around and standing by the vending machines behind me was one of the most beautiful boys I have ever seen and was staring at me like I was the weirdest person ever haha. Oops. I took off running and ran laughing to my friends car. It was embarrassing.

alcoholism or addiction?

Imagine you’re standing on a thick layer of grass looking out over a serene, greenish-blue lake. Across the water you can vaguely see where children are running around in the yard and jumping off their docks into the water. You look down in front of your feet and see chipping, red paint falling off of an old wooden dock. The wood has stains and rust missing in certain places that suggests it had a time and a place where it was loved and used, but now it sits quietly as memory. Raised in the opening of the dock is a covered pontoon who’s dust shows the same sad fate. Turn around. Your eyes fall upon an a teetering, empty swing set. Behind it, across the yard that now stretches in front of you, is a large two story home with a screened in porch. As you get closer, a thick coat of dust on dirt on the porch can be seen. The only sign of upkeep is the grass that has been poorly mowed. What you can see is an old house that used to be grand, but has fallen down in the lack of upkeep. What you can see is a beautiful, peaceful lake with the sun setting in the background. What you can’t see is the little girl in the downstairs of the lake house waiting for her father to wake up and spend time with her. What you can’t see are the empty pizza boxes that have been left out and accumulating for months. What you can’t hear is the blaring television that has been left on in the upstairs room where the girl’s father has passed out and can no longer hear its noise. What you can’t smell is the scent of aging vodka wafting from the empty bottles the father has pushed under the bed, so that his little girl can’t find them. What you can’t feel is the devastation of the father as he tries to drown the sorrow of the love of his life leaving him because of his mistakes. What you can’t predict are the holes he will punch through the walls in the next couple years when his sorrow turns to rage. What that father can’t predict are the lasting effects his problems will have on his daughter. He can’t predict the resent she will have for him or the walls she will build up against any boy in the future.

10 years later that girl has grown up and she now writes to you. My father unknowingly caused me to grow up with serious issues that I may never be able to completely get over. What started in high school as him drinking and doing “harmless” drugs with friends quickly turned into a reliance on alcohol and prescription pain medication to function. My father made his decisions and I completely hold him responsible. However, I am writing this because everywhere I go activity like this is praised. People think that alcoholism is a joke, but once the word “addiction” is thrown out everything becomes serious. An alcoholic is someone who you want to invite to a party, but an addict is someone to be feared. An alcoholic is not someone who just enjoys getting drunk at parties, or just the person who can drink the most. An alcoholic is an addict who struggles every single day. An alcoholic is someone who can’t go anywhere without a drink. Can’t eat without a drink. Someone who will not get out of bed unless they can go get a drink. Someone who slowly cuts off all socialization with people because all they want to do is drink.

I’m not trying to make people stop drinking. That isn’t the purpose of me writing this. I think that drinking can be really fun and I love having girl’s night downtown on Thirsty Thursday just as much as everyone else. I’m writing this because while I’m downtown or at a party and I see people who aren’t there drinking because they want to, they’re drinking because they have to. It makes me to flash back to memories with my dad. They make me wonder if they will be able to stop the way my dad couldn’t. They make me wonder if they will wreck their marriage they way my father did. Or will they have kids? Will their kids have to visit their dad in rehab? Will their kids need therapy like I did? I was a pity case for all my friends parents. They also never let their children come over while I stayed at my dad’s. Will their children suffer the same fate?

Alcoholism does not just affect the person addicted. It creates a ripple effect for everyone involved. I’ve never been addicted to alcohol, but I have control and trust issues that make it really difficult for me to interact with people sometimes. People can’t always understand how much it affected me to consistently have alcohol and pills chosen over me. There were times when my mom and I had to drive to my dad’s house because we had not heard from him and we were afraid he had committed suicide. My dad has been in rehab twice and he has been sober for a couple years now, but we will never have the relationship a father and daughter should have. I will never get over the feeling that I was the parent to him instead of him being there for me. While he may be my father he will never be my dad. I love him, but I will never be able to get over everything that we went through. Alcoholism is not something that should be praised by society. It is a ripple affect that creates devastation in its path.

This post was a little more real than my normal post and isn’t exactly a chipper post to read. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.