Ella Frances Sanders



It’s been so long since I’ve sat down and actually felt the chair beneath me, and it feels like everything has only just stopped spinning. It was as if I was seeing the things that happened to me and the events I was living through as tiny, colourless strips of film negatives, rather than living and feeling and breathing them with colour and clarity.

At some point, it hits most of us that we are incredibly, painfully temporary. We don’t last, and we’re just another species on this inexplicable planet. But that is such a beautiful thing, and I find myself constantly amazed by what we are capable of feeling. And most of those feelings are terrifying in their intensity, because the unknown is uncomfortable and the unexplored can be dangerous. Routine can be reassuring but it can also be lethal, and we were made to conquer.

Only recently did I have to following realisation: I need to live.

I need to live because when I’m old and no doubt broken from years and years of leaping from cliffs, I want my head to be so full of memories and songs and words and goodness and scars and weather patterns and colours and lovers that I’m begging to leave this tangled world.

And sometimes I passionately hate the realisation, because I like feeling safe and I like sleeping. But then I remind myself that there’s no point in wasted days and wasted nights; there is no point in living with your eyes half open, glancing back over your shoulder at what has already happened.

What hits me most is the lives. All the lives of everyone who I don’t know, who I never make eye contact with, and how those people all have their own futures, almost certainly devoid of me. They have problems with their knees, they struggle to pay their mortgages, they swim lengths in a pool I’ve never been to, they go on holiday to sun-drenched places and end up burnt, they kiss other people and then have screaming arguments, they read books I’ve never heard of and they misplace belongings that really meant something. And I’ll never know any of it. Those lives might enter mine only for a split second, but I’ll probably be too wrapped up in my own to notice anyway. This often scares me, yet I don’t mind. I like the noise that they generate around me; the humming and the whispers and the back and forth.

But I’m getting distracted. I was talking about spinning, and the lack of it. I want to tell you how, after a series of fortunate and cosmic events, I’m starting to notice things, and how my imagination is slowly but surely growing back after being on hiatus for years. And this is how it will go.