youth retreat travel diary

a group shot ft. callie the dog’s butt.

you know how much i like travel diaries. they’re a fun way for me to record my adventures. this particular one is about spending a weekend in the mountains on a youth retreat. :)

also, i’m aware that the pictures suck. i was cold and in a hurry, and this is all i have.


« day one »

my mum took me to the meeting point, the church’s office. i chilled there for a bit before the leaders made us load up our bags and get settled in the buses. they managed to fit all the girls in this giant white vehicle and we played name games and telephone on the ninety minute ride.

i love the drive up to the lodge. the serpentine roads are bordered with pine trees, the sheer drop-offs make you dizzy, and once you’re out of the forest, there is so much sky. last year, the sunset stained the whole world; this time, it was just cloudy, but still gorgeous.

the girls stayed in the “doughnut room” — a circular space with a closet in the middle, with bunk beds lining the walls. once we’d all unpacked, we sat in the dining hall and decided what animal everyone would be. i was told that i would be a doe, graceful and light. i don’t think i have great self-awareness, so it was really interesting to see how others perceive me.

we played spoons after that. i happen to be an expert at that game, and i was the first to get a spoon about 4/5 times. i’ve even played full contact spoons, which is excellent and violent.

the lodge director preaches after every meal. the room he talks in has this domed window on the ceiling, and i think i spend more time staring up at the sky than listening.

anyway, on friday night, the director spoke about spiritual highs and lows. when you’re at the lodge, surrounded by other christians, it’s easy to feel on fire for the Lord. but when you’re home and back in your routine, the only way to stay close to God is by reading the bible everyday.

they leave that room open every night for prayer. i stayed there for awhile to write in my journal, and the youth leader who invited me on the retreat prayed with me. we talked about the school shooting and my family and maybe some other things, but i was tired and i love her voice, so whatever she said just kind of floated through my head like soft music.

« day two »

i got up super early on saturday morning. it was still dark. but the world was beginning to wake up, so i did, too.

i won a game that day. it wasn’t very fun, but hey, i got prizes: a giant hershey’s cookies ‘n’ cream bar, a freaking enormous tube of sweetarts (like, as long as my leg), and a basketball net that you wear on your head. i gave the net to this annoying kid who sang the sound of silence // disturbed nonstop last year.

after the morning service, they made us have time alone with God. i read my bible by the creek. i’ve been going through psalms, but i lost my bookmark, so i decided to read 1 corinthians instead.

then we were all forced outside into the damp, freezing wilderness to play ultimate dodgeball. it can be fun, but the game just goes on and on forever.

a group of us went inside early and played wild uno in the dining hall by the fire. wild uno is just like normal uno, but if you have a card that’s identical to the one in the center, you can play when it’s not your turn. it’s really fun and intense.

i made a friend while playing cards, i guess: one of the youth leaders, a guy named johnny. he’s twenty-something and doesn’t know how to shuffle. we teased each other during the game, and it was probably the most fun i had all weekend.

it started snowing while we played, giant fluffy flakes. snow in the mountains is so quiet and peaceful. i wish i could live in the feeling of watching the snowflakes dance down from the sky.

there was a competition that day to see which team could build the best structure out of marshmallows and toothpicks (slightly better than last year, which used chewed bubblegum instead of marshmallows). i knew my team was going to lose as soon as one of the members started talking about donald trump.

so i was forced to shape innocent marshmallows into a wall, a giant stick figure of the president, and the words “make america great again.” i hated every second of it, and we got dead last, as i had predicted.

i think i might have wandered around outside with my camera after that, but i can’t be sure. time kind of blends together up there. the lodge director talked to me for a bit, and he remembered my name, which is pretty dang impressive. see, i’d only met him once before, and that was an entire year ago.

sometime in the evening, we played silent football, aka my least favorite game in the world. there are so many ridiculous rules, and breaking any of them will get you disqualified. these rules included no laughing, smiling, covering your mouth/face, pointing, saying someone’s name, etc. i made it pretty far before i was kicked out (for gesturing), but i was actually super relieved when i was. it felt like i’d been sitting there for hours and i was glad to be moving again.

there’s one place in the lodge that should really have stairs, but has ramps instead. unless you’re wearing shoes and taking huge steps, it’s kind of impossible to climb. anyway, these ramps are perfect for sliding down on in your socks. so some of us took advantage of this and did tricks while sliding down, like spinning, doing splits, dabbing, and going down on your stomach like a penguin. it was fun, but also kind of painful.

one of the staffers got a chance to preach that night. he talked about zechariah 9:1-13, and how God is basically our dad, and he won’t let people pick on his kids.

some of the girls chilled in the dorm after that. we talked about suffocation, abusive siblings, who has the best calves, clinical waterboarding — you know, normal girl things.

they organized a game of murder in the dark later. i used to play it all the time with my brother’s friends, but it was much different playing with so many people. i got killed in probably the third round, which is honestly better than i expected?? anyway, i was killed at the bottom of the stairs, so i had to lay there while people stepped over me. one guy tripped on my legs and we both got hurt, so that was fun.

there are these nooks above the stairs that are only accessible by climbing up on the railing. i suggested that johnny hide in one and grab people’s heads as they walked under him. there were more screams that round. >:)

« day three »

on saturday night, someone started recruiting people for a sunrise hike the next morning. for some reason, my dumb self thought that sounded great! so i was woken up at 5:30 on sunday and shoved out into the disgustingly cold world with damp hair.

i’ll talk about the sunrise hike more in a different post. just know that in the end, i was really glad i did it. :)

they scheduled another “time alone with God” session after breakfast. i was so exhausted that i fell asleep in the hallway with my bible in my lap. hopefully it looked like i was deep in prayer, but who knows. i would have slept all the way through the midday service if a girl (she’s an aesthetic q u e e n) hadn’t woken me up.

instead of preaching, the lodge director asked what we had learned that weekend. people said things like, “i should read my bible more,” “i shouldn’t be ashamed to stand up for Jesus,” “God wants to know me; all that’s standing in the way is me.”

i didn’t say it, but i think i learned a lot about family. youth leaders, even ones who know nothing more than my name, have been some of the most helpful and caring people in my life. they’ve calmed me down after anxiety attacks, made sure i ate, driven to my house at midnight when i was super freaked out and needed someone to talk to. and maybe i’ve felt more at home with kind christians with soft voices than i’ve ever felt with my own kin.

everyone got packed back into the buses afterward. i got a seat all the way in the back, and it felt like i was on a roller coaster, but that’s cool with me.

one of the youth leaders sat with me, and she flat out asked for my life story. i can’t keep eye contact when i’m talking about myself, so i was basically having a conversation with the window instead of her.

the whole thing left me absolutely exhausted. i’ve been home for over a week and it still feels like i haven’t gotten my energy back. i’ve just been sleeping and sleeping and sleeping.

last year, i went on the retreat with my friend n. he wasn’t there this time, and it was kind of boring without him. i didn’t have anyone to talk to. i’m still glad i went, though; i think i learned more about being a christian, and it was definitely better than being at home all weekend.

i am not my own, for i have been made new. please don’t let me go, i desperately need you. (meteor shower // owl city)

xo apollo

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december memoir

documenting a month through poems and journal entries and song lyrics so it doesn’t get lost in the gray fog that is my life.


i. another year of loving something just out of reach. you are a ghost of a kiss.

ii. it hurts that you are replacing me and i have no one to take your spot. i am tired of missing you and not being able to do anything about it.

iii. i wish i didn’t really kiss the mirror when i’m on my own. oh god, i’m gonna die alone. (teen idle // marina and the diamonds)

v. i haven’t been this angry in a long time. i know that she is just trying to help, and that i am being completely unreasonable. but, god, she is ignorant and i want to break things.

vi. i don’t blame you for being you, but you can’t blame me for hating it. (a little less sixteen candles, a little more “touch me” // fall out boy)

vii. i ran across the city to get to you. cold air, street lamps, heavy breaths, tight chest, shoes pounding against concrete. with every step, i thought, i am getting closer to my future or closer to heartbreak. but i missed you. and i sprinted through the crowded sidewalks again before missing you a second time.

viii. i’d promise you anything for another shot at life. (disloyal order of water buffaloes // fall out boy)

ix. i had a dream where we danced together as it snowed. i have been smiling all day.

i just want to dance with you. i’ve never learned how and i don’t think you have, either, but it doesn’t matter. i want to hold your hands and sway and spin and have you fall in love with me again.

can we try? i don’t care if your palms sweat or if you step on my feet or if the music is bad. just dance with me, please.

x. and i’ve been talking to God, asking for just a little help with you, but it’s hopeless. it’s not the first time, but this one really carved it in. tell your new friends that they don’t know you like i do. it’s over. i wanna see you again, i wanna feel it again. (oh well, oh well // mayday parade)

xi. i am at a party with sweets in my hands, smiling with my friends, and something goes wrong. suddenly everyone is staring at me and expecting the right words from my mouth and the world is caving in, and i can run and cover my ears, but i can still hear the laughter.

xii. one track mind, one track heart. if i fail, i’ll fall apart. maybe it is all a test, cause i feel like i’m the worst so i always act like i’m the best. (oh no! // marina and the diamonds)

xiii. anger, even when it’s not directed at me, makes me hate myself. maybe anger is contagious. maybe one person’s cruelty sparks it in others until everyone’s fists are raised and tears feel like acid on your cheeks. if you could just say you’re sorry — would that be so hard? — i could lower my hands and leave you without guilt tucked into my suitcase.

xiv. the best way to make it through with hearts and wrists intact is to realize that two out of three ain’t bad. (i’m like a lawyer with the way i’m always trying to get you off (me & you) // fall out boy)

 

xv. i am afraid i will not go to heaven. i have been told so many times that i do not deserve it.

xvi. mama who bore me, mama who gave me no way to handle things, who made me so sad. mama, the weeping. mama, the angels. no sleep in heaven, or bethlehem. (mama who bore me (reprise) // spring awakening)

xvii. i woke up before dawn and ran outside in my pajamas to watch the sunrise. water dripped down my forehead  and the sky was pink and orange and i was freezing. it was beautiful and you never realize just how little you matter until you are huddled under a watercolor sunrise.

xviii. i’m just a moment, so don’t let me pass you by. we could be a story in the morning, but we’ll be a legend tonight. (outlines // all time low)

xix. life goes on. life goes on, even when you don’t want it to, when you want to pause it and live in that moment because things are good.

things were not good, but i had you and a dream of leaving, and that made them good. i do not want life to go on if you are not in it. i want to live in a moment when you are still here.

xx. best friends, ex-friends to the end. better off as lovers and not the other way around. (bang the doldrums // fall out boy)

xxi. my friends and i cuddled on the fold-out bed in the basement that creaks when you move and pokes you with its springs in the most tender spots. we were laughing, hands intertwined, radiating warmth and lazy joy. i said that i could never be the one to end things because i wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt of breaking someone’s heart, and they agreed.

i didn’t know that you were thinking of ways to say goodbye. i wonder if it would have made a difference if you’d been able to hear us sift through our memories and remember how things began. i am both angry and relieved that you do not seem to bear the same guilt that i do, and i don’t know how that can be.

xxii. i would’ve married you in vegas, had you given me the chance to say “i do.” (vegas // all time low)

xxiii. i said that 2016 was the worst year of my life, because i lost you for the first time and nothing had ever hurt more. now i am saying that 2017 was the worst, because i lost you again and it hurt more than before, more than i imagined anything could hurt. today, it is 2018, and i am afraid that it will be the worst year of my life, because i think i am going to lose you again, permanently. maybe i will recover from this, but not if you are gone forever.

xxiv. i came out grieving, barely breathing and you came out alright. but i’m sure you’ll take his hand, i hope he’s better than i ever could have been. my mistakes were not intentions, this is a list of my confessions i couldn’t say. pain is never permanent but tonight it’s killing me. (december // neck deep)

xo apollo

christmas playlist + memes

hello, friends! christmas always sneaks up on me, and this year is no exception. it’s in sixteen days and i’m not feeling very festive, and i haven’t finished shopping for gifts, either. i know what i’m getting everyone, but apparently you need money to buy stuff? who knew. luckily for me, i just got $50 from my grandpa, so that should help.

(also!! it’s snowing right now!! i’ll try to share photos of it and some more christmas-themed posts over the next two weeks.)

i’m a bit sick of traditional christmas carols, so i made a playlist for myself of (mostly) pop punk holiday songs. ones in bold are explicit. enjoy. :)

christmas playlist:

humbug // owl city

kiss me babe, it’s christmas time // owl city

all i want for christmas is you (cover) // my chemical romance

fool’s holiday // all time low

christmas lights (cover) // yellowcard

ho ho hopefully // the maine

peppermint winter // owl city

christmas on the road // sleeping with sirens

oh ms believer // twenty one pilots

the christmas song // owl city

smile at snow // dodie

white christmas (cover) // panic! at the disco

what’s this? (cover) // fall out boy

xmas time of year // green day

christmas collection album // sleeping at last

west coast christmas // anarbor

mini anti-christmas playlist:

xmas sux // frank iero and the patience

merry christmas, kiss my a** // all time low

i won’t be home for christmas // blink-182

yule shoot your eyes out // fall out boy


my friend b came over last month and helped decorate the christmas tree. neither of us can keep our hands off the camera, which means we got a lot of crappy pictures of each other. she suggested that we make memes out of the photos, which was a lot more fun than it should have been. so here are a few really awful christmas memes for your enjoyment (we made more, but they used pictures of me, so i guess you don’t get to see those).

meme4yes, they’re horrible, we know.

merry christmas!!

xo apollo