pyres & pills, hell & his hands

pictures by my mom

you are standing in a curbside graveyard on a foggy morning
it is ten days before christmas
you have never been so cold in your life
so that cold that you can feel the frost creeping over your fragile bones
you forgot your gloves so your knuckles are stained
the same pale, icy blue as the winter sky

rain from the heavens that mourns your innocence drips onto your cheeks
a murmured prayer of thanks to whichever ghosts or angels
are listening for disguising your sorrow from your best friend
she meanders through the rows of worn marble graves beside you
her fingers brush the wet headstones
as you walk through the downpour
she whispers the name of the departed as you go
when you ask why, she tells you
that people die twice
once when their heart stops beating
and again when their name is spoken for the last time

you can’t say that you agree
you feel as though you died that night one month ago
amidst the frigid mountains and fresh snow
yes, your haunted heart still forces blood through your veins
but have you truly felt alive since?
paranoia has made a home in your aching head
glancing over your shoulder and searching crowds
for that dimpled face that stalks you
in the nightmares that are more like memories
have become second nature
oh, how fear makes prey of us all

you imagine that you can feel his hands
under your rain jacket, and shiver
at your best friend’s imploring look, you say
i thought i felt a ghost, on my skin
and then, as you tremble once more like a tattered white flag in a storm
i think i’m getting hypothermia

the two of you leave the dead, but the past follows you home
i never felt safe with you


i’m over it, i’m over it, i’m over it, i’m over it.

xo apollo

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8 books to kick off your summer reading

one of my favorite things about summer is the fact that i have so much free time to spend reading! i went to the library recently and checked out a bunch of summery books because they always make me feel happy and hopeful for the coming months. so for anyone who’s also looking for great summer reads, here are eight stories filled with adventure, sleepaway camps, beaches, and young love to keep you reading all summer long.

 

summer days & summer nights: twelve love stories by stephanie perkins – going into this collection of short stories, i was expecting cute, fluffy tales of young love. for the most part, that is not what i got. so many of these stories were melancholy and had bittersweet endings. personally, i think that all of the authors had the idea to make their story sad so that it would stand out from the rest, so then all of them ended up being a little bit miserable.

they aren’t all your basic straight contemporary romance either: there’s a range of genres (fantasy, horror, futuristic) and characters (interracial and lgbt+ couples, love interests with autism and depression, etc.). a theme that ran through most of them was a missing parent/broken family.

my favorite short stories from this collection were in ninety minutes, turn north, love is the last resort, and a thousand ways this could all go wrong.

bad magic by pseudonymous bosch – this is the first book of a series by one of my favorite authors. bosch’s books are always witty and engaging, with quirky characters you can’t help but root for. bad magic is about a boy named clay who gets sent to earth ranch, a summer camp for troubled kids on a volcanic island. but strange things keep happening at the camp — talking llamas, abandoned libraries, ghosts — and clay starts to wonder if there’s something more sinister going on at the island.

swing sideways by nanci turner stevenson – annie’s family is spending the summer in the countryside. while she’s exploring, annie meets california, a girl her age who’s staying on her grandfather’s farm. the two become friends and spend their summer trying to the ponies that california’s mom owned as a child, which the girls think are roaming the woods. it’s a touching story about eating disorders, loss, freedom, and friendship.

lemons by melissa savage – this middle grade story reminded me so much of the cartoon gravity falls, which is probably why i loved it so much. in lemons, a young girl named lemonade who’s lost her mother gets sent to live with her grandfather in a small town. her grandfather, charlie, owns a bigfoot-themed souvenir shop. there are lots of strange bigfoot-sightings throughout town, all of which are reported to the bigfoot detective agency, which lemonade finds herself working for. overall, it’s a sweet story about friendship, grief, and of course, bigfoot.

honor girl by maggie thrash – this is a graphic memoir about maggie falling in love with one of the counselors at her all-girl summer camp. what i loved about this was the nostalgic feel and how spot-on the camp culture was. the art isn’t stellar, but it fits the youthful feel of the story quite well. it felt like it had been plucked straight from the author’s diary, and the ending just about broke my heart.

love & gelato by jenna evans – traveling, mysteries, forbidden love, italian food — this wholesome YA romance has it all. the adorable love interest and gorgeous descriptions of italy will have you hooked from the start, and the drama and emotional twists will make you finish it. my only complaints are that i thought lina, the main character, was kind of rude, and it was so strange to me that the whole story took place in just a few days. but it’s still a cute book overall and i’ve met several people who say it’s their absolute favorite!

we were liars by e. lockhart – this is one of those books that you should go into knowing nothing, so i won’t say too much about it in fear of spoiling the killer twist at the end. but at its simplest, we were liars is about a group of four friends and the summers they spend with their families on their private island. the writing is so gorgeous, and the feeling of dread grows the closer you get to the end until you can barely think about anything else.

frannie and tru by karen hattrup – i finished this book a week or two ago, and it’s the one that really got me excited about summer. in this coming-of-age story, frannie little’s cousin tru is sent to stay with her family for the summer after a bad coming out experience. frannie has been hoping that with tru around, she’ll have the most exciting summer of her life, which is exactly what happens. this is a lyrical, introspective novel about secrets, racism, sexuality, and growing up. however, i do think it’s one of those books where you either adore it or everything about it annoys you, and i am most definitely in the love camp.


have you read any of these books? what are your recommendations for summer reading?

xo apollo

what my first year of public school was like

my last day of school was on friday and i could not be more excited for summer break!

my schooling has been all over the place the last few years. i was homeschooled up until the 2017-2018 school year, when i started going to public school as a part-time student (i took two classes every other day). that was sort of my “transition year,” i suppose, because this time around i was a regular student.

i know a lot of my readers are homeschooled, so i thought it might be interesting for you guys to get an ex-homeschooler’s perspective on public school.


how many classes do you take and what are they?

eight classes, and those are percussion I, algebra, world geography, english, earth science adv., p.e., spanish II, and biology. i was in theatre at the beginning of the year, but i switched out of that because the other kids were just really bizarre.

my bio teacher likes my art :)

what is your favorite class?

biology! earth/physical science has never really made much sense to me, but for some reason bio just clicks. all the different equations, complex cycles, and concepts come to me extraordinarily easily. i passed my final exam with an advanced score. i love it so much that i signed up for bio II honors next year, so wish me luck with that!

what subject do you hate the most and why?

gym, mostly because my teacher and i don’t get along very well — and also because, well, it’s gym class. my teacher swears a lot, told us that the football players are the smartest kids in the school, and also seems to get annoyed at me a lot for no reason. apparently he threatened to fail me because i had been missing his class a lot, but i only wasn’t there because i was sick and then had a bunch of orthodontist/dentist/doctor appointments in a row.

who is your favorite teacher and why?

my percussion teacher! he’s my favorite because he’s so chill, has helped me through a rough situation, let’s us play mario kart during class, and also because i’ve spent the most time around him. he’s the band director, so i spent last august through november having him yell things at my section during rehearsal. :)

are you in any clubs?

just the drama club, but we don’t really do that much. i also went to a minority student union meeting one time, but it’s not technically a club. we were planning a handprint mural that day.

front ensemble/pit practicing salutes for senior night

which clique/group are you in?

i’m with the band kids. i play in pep band, take a percussion class, almost exclusively hang out with other band kids, etc. and yes, i do make music puns and tell stories about band camp.

i’ve also spent a lot of time with theatre kids and soccer players, but i’m not as close with them.

describe what you wear to school/your uniform.

i normally wear jeans with one of my friend’s flannels open over a plain shirt. it’s really comfortable and fits the grunge aesthetic, which is one of my personal favorites.

during soccer season, my team would dress up whenever we had a home game, so on those days i would typically wear a black button up dress.

have you ever ditched school?

i don’t think so? i mean, sure, there are days when my mom lets me stay home for no reason, but i don’t think that really counts as ditching.

none of these memes will make sense to any of you, but trust me, my school loves them with a passion.

what is the craziest thing that has happened at school?

there was a fire in the kitchen in march! my mom drove my brother and i to school that morning and there were a bunch of firetrucks and students milling around outside or sitting in their cars. no one really knew what to do, since all the fire drills we’d done involved us being inside the building when the fire started. so after awhile, administration herded everyone into the small gym, which branches off from the rest of the building and is far enough away from the fire that it was safe to be in there.

so that was an interesting day, and right after the fire, all these instagram accounts with memes about our principal started popping up. the three main topics for memes are the fire, our principal’s war against juuls, and the phone jails.

what do you like the most about your school?

i like the library, the principal’s youtube channel (he has twenty-eight followers), the rick astley photo on the auditorium ceiling, and, of course, marching band and soccer.

what do you hate the most about your school?

people (some of which i’ve never even met) were spreading sexual rumors about me all year. also, sophomore boys at my school are the worst.

what’s your best advice on surviving high school?

pick the classes that you want. don’t base your schedule around what classes your friends are taking. if parents/guardians are pushing you to take classes that you don’t think you can handle, then don’t take them. and if you sign up for a class and later decide that it’s really not for you, transfer out of it if you can. there’s no reason to force yourself to suffer through a class simply because someone else thinks you should take it.

also, don’t take things too seriously; it’s ok to eat lunch by yourself; and please please please allow yourself to take a day or two off if you feel yourself getting too stressed and overwhelmed.

do you participate in any after school activities?

i participated in a lot of activities this year — one for each season, in fact. i did marching band in the fall (i was part of front ensemble), stage crew for musical in the winter, and played soccer in the spring. that meant that for most of the year, i was staying after school until five or six in the evening for practices. all those activities + getting used to public school + homework = a very, very tired girl.

however, i did really enjoy participating in after school activities (some more than others, but still)! the only reason i’m not switching back to being homeschooled next year is because i want to have the opportunity to do those types of extracurricular activities.

read my post about the musical here!

read about this year’s soccer season here!

i haven’t posted anything specifically about marching band, but here’s a cool photo from one of our competitions.


also, there was an award ceremony at the end of the year, and i won two awards! i thought for sure that i was going to get one for science, because that’s the subject that i’m best at, but algebra and spanish II works, too.

what’s funny to me is that i received an award for excellence in mathematics, but i almost failed my algebra exam the day before the ceremony.


i feel like that sums up my first year at public school pretty well. transitioning from homeschool to high school has been really rough, and i don’t think i’ll ever truly get the hang of it, but it has gotten somewhat easier.

i’ve been keeping track of things in my head that are unique to public school, things that seem mundane and probably aren’t noticed by those who have been in the school system their whole life (things like gum and what they post on social media and speech patterns). it’s really interesting to have a foot in both camps, and while i am not enjoying my time in high school, i’m grateful for the insight.

xo apollo

2019 soccer season

soccer season ended a few weeks ago and i already miss it so much. i have too much energy because i don’t have practice everyday after school anymore. anyway, all my friends and family are sick of me talking about soccer all the time, so i thought i’d get it all out of my system by discussing the entire season here.

first off, here are the basics: i played on JV for most of the season, my jersey was #1, and i played midfield and striker.

this was my first time playing for a serious team. in the past, i’d always played on rec leagues with my best friend. we practiced once a week and had a game every saturday. this season was a huge change for me, because my school’s sports teams practice everyday and have two or three games a week. it was exhausting, but i loved every minute of it.

soccer has always been a big part of my life. i started playing when i was six years old, on a team with my brother. my parents were the coaches. i played two seasons a year. eventually, my brother quit soccer for karate, and i joined a different league with my best friend. i was invited to play for their travel team, which i was so excited about, but my family couldn’t afford it. all of that led up to this season. :)


| my progress |

i’ve been playing soccer for years, and my favorite position is midfield. i wasn’t the one who made the goals, i was the one who made assists. but this year, i found myself playing striker, too (and stopper, at one point). i was hesitant about it at first, but then i scored the first goal of the season for either girls team, and after that i absolutely loved it. so i played striker for a few games, had some really good shots on goal, and then my coach switched me back to center mid, where i stayed for the rest of the season. i guess our defense was struggling, and she thought i could help them out.

my speed improved so much! my mom has always told me that i’m one of the fastest players on the field, but she’s my mom, so i tend to not believe her about things like that. but then some of the varsity players were talking about how fast and aggressive i am, which just made me feel so proud of myself for how hard i’d worked during practice. my team did this fitness test called the yo-yo a lot, which is like the pacer but so much worse. i always tried so hard when we ran the yo-yo, even though i hated it, and my speed and endurance definitely improved because of it.

also, i gained around seven pounds of muscle! i’ve been underweight my whole life, but now i feel like i look less sickly. most of the muscle gain was in my legs, obviously, so now most of my shorts don’t fit because they’re too tight around the thighs. my calves and abs are also more defined now. and i know a lot of people consider weight gain to be a bad thing, but i’m actually really happy about this. i worked hard all season and i’m glad that there’s physical proof of it.

this is me playing with an undiagnosed concussion :)

| injuries |

about halfway through the season, i injured both of my legs. the insides of my thighs hurt so much, even when i was just sitting still. i eventually went to the school’s athletic trainer, who told me i had pulled both of them. i had to sit out a few practices, but i was so eager to play that i got back on the field before i was healed. my legs kept hurting for a good five weeks, which was probably because i refused to rest. but i’m finally feeling better, so i guess it all worked out.

then right at the end of the season, i got a more serious injury. during a varsity game against our rival school, i got knocked over twice and hit the back of my head on the ground both times. the other players got fouled, the varsity coach didn’t pull me out of the game, and we kept going. i didn’t have a headache or anything, and i wasn’t dizzy, so i assumed i was fine. then at one point, my coach started yelling at me from the sidelines, but i couldn’t understand what he was saying. i mean, i knew he was speaking to me, but i couldn’t figure out the words. that kept happening for the rest of the game, whenever my teammates were giving me instructions. i guess that’s when i realized something was wrong.

i went to see the athletic trainer the next day, and she gave me the concussion test . . . which i did not pass. (one part of it was counting backwards from one hundred by sevens, so there wasn’t really any hope of me passing). i had to sit out about a week’s worth of practices and games, which was unbelievably frustrating.

the worst part was that the varsity coach had recently started letting me play with his team. i’d been practicing with varsity, and getting a good fifty minutes of play time during games. i had worked so, so hard all season to get pulled up, so getting injured when i did felt like everything i’d worked for had been ripped away from me.

the athletic trainer cleared me just in time for JV’s last game. i was so happy to be back with my team and to be able to finish out the season with everyone.

i wasn’t the only player to get injured this year, either. three other JV girls got concussions, one JV player quit after spraining her ankle, and five varsity players were out for most of the season for various injuries.

“good game” . . . lol sure

| varsity |

near the end of the season, so many of the varsity girls were injured that their team didn’t have any subs at all. if they couldn’t find subs, they were going to start forfeiting games, so their coach started pulling girls from JV. the first time he did that, he was deciding between me and one of our captains. both teams thought it was going to be me, which just made it more disappointing when he picked the other girl. but i must say that i played really well during the JV game that night, and the varsity coach must have noticed, because he pulled me up for the next game and started having me practice with varsity, too.

i only ended up playing three games with varsity, but i know i would have had more if i hadn’t gotten a concussion.

warming up

| playoffs |

i got pulled up to varsity again for playoffs. that was absolutely the most intense game i had ever seen. we were tied 3-3 at the end of the game, so we played ten minutes of overtime, then ten more minutes of sudden death. no one had scored after those extra twenty minutes, so we went to penalty kicks. the whole team lined up on the field, holding hands as our designated kickers took the five penalty kicks. in the end, the other team scored one more time then we did, so they won the whole thing. we were all crying and hugging and it was so emotional because that was the seniors’ very last game, and the varsity coach’s, too.

team huddle

| team events |

i think JV was more interested in having fun than playing a good game, so we organized a bunch of events throughout the season. there was a secret santa-type thing, a team dinner, a fun practice where we just played games the whole time, and a picnic at a park, among other things.

i didn’t participate in the events at the beginning of the season because i didn’t feel like i belonged the there. i was at a new school this year, so i wasn’t friends with anybody. i had played soccer with a few of the girls when i was in elementary school, and i have classes with a few of them, but that was the extent of our interaction.

i remember one of my marching band friends coming to pre-season conditioning once, as well as tryouts, but the coaches told her she couldn’t play because they didn’t have her physical. now, i know this is a lie because we had to turn in physicals for band all the way back in autumn. so i don’t really understand what happened.

anyway, not having her there made me uncomfortable and i guess i pulled back into my shell. i didn’t talk much during practice or bus rides until about halfway through the season, when i started making friends with my teammates. we were sitting in the stands during an away game, watching varsity play, and three girls invited me to sit with them. it was early spring and absolutely freezing, so they offered to share their blanket with me. we talked while the game went on and hit it off, which made me feel so much more welcome on the team. i wonder if they realized that their kindness at that one game made the entire season a much better experience for me. it really is the small things.

i did end up getting into some drama with one of my teammates, which made our friendship a little weird for a week or two. basically, her girlfriend at the time was absolutely insane and extremely jealous. she found out that my friend had helped me with homework during our pre-practice study hall and kind of lost her mind. she would say petty things to me in class and also posted things about me on social media. she painted the situation to make it look like i had asked her girlfriend for homework help multiple times just to spend more time with her, even though i didn’t need the assistance at all because i got good grades in that class. in reality, my friend had offered to help on one occasion, and a few of my other teammates were helping, too.

another time she went to one of our games and saw my friend and i warming up together. apparently she went off on her girlfriend later about how she didn’t want her to warm up with me anymore.

she keeps telling people that i’m trying to steal her girl. the whole thing is so unnecessarily rude and petty. we were just being friends and she tried so hard to make me look like a homewrecker. it’s a good thing she never found out about us holding hands during the penalty kicks at playoffs, or else i think she would have actually tried to beat me up.

zoom zoom

| next season |

so i am a little bit worried about next season. the varsity coach is stepping down, which makes me wonder if i’ll actually get varsity next year like i think i should. that probably sounds stuck-up, but i figured getting pulled up this year would mean actually being on varsity next time. a few of the varsity girls told me that they loved watching me play during JV games, and didn’t understand why i hadn’t been put on varsity in the first place.

but if varsity is getting a new coach, they might not let me play on their team because they won’t know that i did a good job this season. maybe it’s dumb to worry about this now, since there’s a whole year before next season, but still.

i’m so excited to keep playing soccer for my school and hopefully in college. i am not used to being exceptional at something that i love.


do you play spring sports? how did your season go?

xo apollo

behind the blogger book tag

Image result for behind the blogger book tag

hey guys! i was recently nominated for a tag by genna. she’s a blogger who’s just getting started, and she’s an astounding writer whose posts are always so heartfelt. make sure to check out her site, genna creedon.

| rules |

-thank the person who nominated you
-answer all the questions
-pingback to the creator: ellyn@allonsythornaxx
-nominate 5+ bloggers to do this challenge

| questions |

1) why did you start blogging and why have you kept blogging?

i started blogging in 2014 on a different site about my american girl dolls. it introduced me to a lot of sweet bloggers who i’m still friends with. i kept blogging because of the joy of sharing something i created with others.

2) what is your favorite type of blog post to write?

i really enjoy writing travel diaries because they let me relive my adventures! i feel like i’ve been to some pretty neat locations in my life (point pleasant, fairy stone state park, longwood gardens, etc.) and i want to share these unique places with you all.

3) what are your top three favorite blog posts?

i don’t know if these are my all time favorites, but a few off the top of my head are you look like hell | 7.20.18, a love letter for the boy with the birdsong laugh, and greenhouse, maybe? they’re all deeply personal and sort of poetic, i hope.

4) what are some of your favorite things to do to relax?

cooking, watching cartoons (i just finished the series hilda — it’s super cute & reminded me of gravity falls), and sitting outside in the sun with a book.

5) what are your three favorite things?

1) the way i feel warming up for a soccer game, in my blue uniform and cleats, with loud music blaring and the sun on my arms.

 

2) the playlists i make when i simply cannot get someone out of my head. each one tells a story that i wish i could put into words: discovery and companionship and hands intertwined in the shadows. sometimes i listen to them and write love notes that will never make it into the right hands.

3) not quite a thing, but a place: the summer camp that i’ve spent the last three augusts at. i’m sure everyone is sick of me talking about it, but it is easily my favorite place on earth and i applied to work there at handicraft this summer!

6) what are your proudest blogging moments?

reaching 1000 followers, which happened early this year, is definitely the big one!! i know 1k isn’t a huge deal, but for such a small blogger who posts random personal stuff, i was kind of shocked (and still am, honestly).

my bff & i at scout camp

7) what are your hobbies outside of blogging?

soccer has always been a huge part of my life. i’m talking two seasons a year since i was six. but now that i’m playing for my school, it’s an even bigger deal for me. the whole team was crying during our last game; it was only a week or two ago but i already miss soccer so much.

besides sports, i really love scouting and writing poetry (both of which i blog about sometimes!).

8) describe your personality in three words.

intuitive — i don’t even know how many times a day i say, “i just know.” and it’s true, i get gut feelings all the time and they almost always turn out to be correct.

loyal — there are four people that i can think of that i will be loyal to forever, no matter how they change or what they do or how long it’s been since we’ve spoken. i have deep bonds with them forged through hard experiences and i would genuinely do anything to help them.

i’m not sure if there’s actually a word for this, but it would be somewhere between escapist and romanticist. in my head, i make everything more meaningful and beautiful than it really is, probably in an effort to forget that i’m just not happy with my life. simple events like a walk at twilight or browsing poetry in the library become burdened with sentimentality as i struggle to make something that matters.

9) what are your top three pet peeves?

1) when people continue to flirt with me even when they know i’m not interested. 2) group projects, because i always end up doing all the work in my strive for perfection. 3) getting in trouble for stuff i didn’t do, which  happens constantly and is so frustrating.


| nominees |

tess @ steeplechase
brooke @ itsbrookejade
nabila @ hot town cool girl
xofrnk @ nothing rhymes with circus
nika @ curious millennial


hope you guys enjoyed! i am actually the worst at remembering to do tags, so i’m kind of proud of myself for finally posting one.

also, sorry for the huge gaps between posts lately! i’ve been working on exams and final projects for school, and i just haven’t had any time to post, despite having lots of ideas. i only have two more tests (the bio test is tomorrow . . . wish me luck), and then i should have some more free time to work on posts before i leave for camp for the summer.

xo apollo

lion pride | poem

the lovers, the dreamers, & me

here is love, laid out like a picnic blanket on a summer day:
it is putting all of your parts, all the puzzle pieces that make you up
into the cupped hands of someone else
praying that no matter the weather, they don’t drop them
and here is the truth about love:
you did

lion-hearted, lion-maned
you are fierce over everyone but yourself
how many times have you bared your teeth and flashed your claws
for someone who didn’t deserve it?
and how often have you let others rub salt into that painted red wound of a mouth
when i know you are itching to speak your mind
spitting out biting words like hot coals?
i myself am meek
i do not have the heart to draw a knife on anyone but myself
or to kiss another man’s girl, no matter what you have been told
but i believe that i could be courageous for you


inspired by rumors and on/off relationships and wanting you since last october. i know you said that you don’t want to be anything like your mother, but darling, between the neglect and the haircut, i see no difference.

xo apollo