The Art and Sadness of “Getting Through”

By De Elizabeth

In high school, I referred to them as “Dread Days.” They were, quite simply, days that provoked the feeling of dread, for reasons entirely appropriate in a 14-year-old’s world: science lab with the girl who bullied me in elementary school, a history class presentation where I was underprepared and my crush sat in the first row, having to complete my volunteer shift at the library instead of spending an afternoon with my friends.

Initially, I only used the phrase in my head silently, but eventually started labeling them in my planner with two D’s, written as tiny as possible and in purple ink. In the days leading up to a Dread Day, I’d have a pit in my stomach, knowing that whatever fun I was having in the moment would soon be overshadowed by the knowledge that something unpleasant would take its place. On the morning of a Dread Day, I’d repeat to myself: Just get through it; just get through. When the day was over, I’d cross off the “DD” in my planner, feeling a sense of overwhelming relief.

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You’re Allowed to Be Sad

By De Elizabeth

I went for a drive the other day without an actual destination. It was a 25-minute car ride, taking loops through familiar streets, passing deserted parking lots, dark windows, empty playgrounds. My toddler sat in her car seat behind me, every once in a while asking: Where are we going? Every time I’d answer, Just for a drive.

Towards the end of the trip, we passed an ice cream shop we’ve been to a couple of times. Like many other establishments right now, it was closed, windows shuttered, without its usual inviting neon signs. I found myself thinking back to last summer, sitting on those wooden steps, choosing not to care that my 2-year-old was getting ice cream all over her face and clothes. I took a picture of her chocolate-stained cheeks and hands; a printed copy is taped into her baby memory book, a snapshot of Before All Of This.

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A True Ghost Story

By De Elizabeth

For years growing up, I believed I could talk to ghosts.

I attribute some of that supernatural inclination to the fact that I was obsessed with ghost stories as a kid; after reading The Baby-Sitters Club book when Dawn found a secret passageway in her house, I spent more time than I’ll ever admit knocking on walls in my childhood home, listening for a hollow sound on the other side. I was always the first to suggest the ouija board at sleepovers, even if we didn’t use it so much to summon spirits, but rather to ask if our crushes liked us back.

But mostly, I thought I could talk to ghosts because my best friend in third grade convinced me that I could. Or, more accurately, she could; I just listened.

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I’m Still Learning How to Hold on to Some Memories (And Let Go of Others)

By De Elizabeth

I remember being a kid, and thinking that the school years lasted forever. One cycle of September to June felt like an eternity, as I counted down the days until classes ended and camp began. Of course, once summer came, everything was reversed. I’d blink, and the first day of camp became the last. My friends, some of whom I only saw during the summer months, and I would sit atop hot gravel in tight hugs, tears streaming down our faces. Why, we wondered, did we wish time away? What we would have given to go back to day one. Continue reading

I’m Already Nostalgic For Today

By De Elizabeth

Right now, it’s barely sunrise. I’ve already had a cup of coffee, washed some dishes, fed the cat, and filed a writing assignment. My newborn baby is asleep a few feet away, ironically, since she kept us up most of the night.

My daughter is exactly one month today. She’s a pretty terrible sleeper, and I’m told that most babies are at this age. She seems to hate the fancy bassinet we bought for our bedroom, and spends most of the night making noises that can only be compared to what I assume a baby dragon sounds like. Naturally, I spend most of the nighttime hours checking on her, making sure she’s not choking or something equally horrific, and picking her up when her noises enter the realm of “I’m gonna start screaming if you don’t hold me, FYI.” I’m not sure how much sleep I got last night, but I’ve somehow begun to learn to function on very little. Continue reading

Love Is It.

Love Is It.

By Kate Kole

There is a heaviness that hits my heart each year when I flip the calendar page to July. I feel it as I struggle to sleep in the middle of the night, I feel it in my initial waking thoughts each morning, and I feel it as my mind wanders throughout the day.

As I rolled out of bed a few hours ago, I felt it’s deepest twinge. The way I always do on the 3rd. I thought of my brother and our last memory together as we sat laughing in the hallway of our family home. It’s been 13 years since then, and still, it’s grip on me and its significance in my life is as strong now as it ever was. Continue reading