77

There is only the ocean;
waves, tide, surf
are simply parts
of the whole.

I used to build sandcastles
close enough to seashore
that they’d wash away, clean
before I got attached.

I manufactured moats
drawbridges and gates
spiral towers to hide treasures
keeping intruders at bay.

I never did need knights
as much as I told myself I did
I was a fine protector
a kind ruler over myself

but you were like gills
and I breathed new air
the salt of the sea
the grit of the sand

and I decided I’d move
my sandcastle away
from that rising tide
and invite you in, too.

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72

Chandelier expectations:
dozens of bodies have
entered and left my life
and each of them, I think
takes a piece of me
on the way out.

I find myself diagnosing
symptoms they didn’t know
I felt inclined to cure.

I carve out my martyrdom
I settle at the top of my high horse
and resent their apathy when
they don’t want my
unsolicited service.

Imagine my surprise as I see their rejection
piling up, single use cutlery
my good intentions
(yet maligned purpose)
end up being wasteful
and wasted.

69

#HowHardDidAgingHitYou
I’m a child in that ‘before’ photo
coordinated outfits and
recess and
lunch money and
I was beautiful then, too.

How unfair it is
to yourself ten years ago, to
mock who you were
before you got here.

I didn’t need mascara or
twenty-two karat gold or
shellac nails or
expectations of beauty
when I was 14.

This isn’t fair to anyone
and especially to you;
punish and prize
in one photo collage
simply because time passed.

Aging doesn’t hit, it just happens.
I do not have the strength to
hit and criticize the old me
because, sometimes,
I wish I lived in ‘before’.

 

 

***
Truthfully, I did think about taking part in this viral challenge. It’s easy to jump on a bandwagon and take part in this immediate validation of how you perceive your worth today vs ten years ago.

For me, I knew that it wasn’t fair to me and what I’ve gone through since 2009. You would’ve seen a 14 year old child compared to a 24 year old adult. You wouldn’t have seen all the things that shaped me, not the summer bonfire memories, or late nights on the phone with friends, or winning awards and getting in the yearbook, or suffering through bulimia and self-loathing, or moving to the big city, or professional leaps in my career. The surface level difference would have done me a disservice. The last ten years of my life were worth more than two photos side-by-side.

What do you think of the Ten Year Challenge? I’m not judging if you did or didn’t do it, and I’d love to hear your perspectives in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

65

Holidays used to horrify
my sanity and sensibility.
The last minute scramble
to be cuffed to a decent man
of decent values to decently
satisfy my family’s questions.

To be presented at the
dinner table, served
as arm candy
dressed to impress.
With or without a man
I’m the appetizer, the entrée, the dessert
I’m not a plus one.

I am a worthy dinner guest
to any evening soiree.
I’m fine on my own, thank you
frankly, I’m wonderful company.

Tips on How to Brave an Internship

As some of you know, I started an internship at the beginning of this summer to get my foot in the door as a first year student. I’m happy to report I’m still there and working part time on a month-by-month basis! It was such a shock to receive the offer because they knew I was going back to school, but still tried to keep me around. It was such an amazing experience this summer—and I wanted to share it with you!

First, I want to explain that the process of getting the internship was difficult from the start. I was a first year student with some great success from this blog and my content, but I was still someone who had no formal experience in the industry. On paper, I knew I sounded like a gamble.

I had put out at least 30 applications as a PR, communications or marketing intern across Toronto and came up with ‘No’ or more often, no response at all. In the same day, I had two requests for interviews. I nearly threw up from being so nervous.

If you’ve been on this site long enough, you know what’s coming next! Here are my three key things I learned about internships:

Understand that in an ideal world, an internship is meant to benefit you more than it benefits the company.

We had one-on-one chats every week to talk about how things were going, how the workload was, and most importantly—how I felt. Did I feel like I was learning something new? Was there a project floating around the office that I wanted to get my hands on?

There are a lot of jokes about how interns are tasked with getting coffees, printing documents and menial tasks. Mine was definitely not that–I worked directly on client campaigns, coordinated events and made sure to touch as many things as possible. Which leads me to my next point,

Get involved in as many things as you can, so that the moment you’re gone—people notice.

This goes down to the little things: I ran the dishwasher every evening and unloaded every morning. I reorganized the recycling and garbage system to make it more efficient. I always played music for the office throughout the day. These weren’t expectations for me—these are very minor details that I inserted myself into in such a way that the second I didn’t do it, you’d know. Even in bigger things—I’d get emails on non-work days for certain items my colleagues knew that I knew. My value became apparent both in my presence and in my lack of it.

When the going gets tough, tell someone.

The most challenging things about being an intern is that you are an assistant to everyone. Which is good because you get to cross disciplines and learn many different things, but it also means that no one person knows how much you have on-the-go. One person needs your help organizing a deck, another needs a content calendar out this week, another needs a byline proofread in the next hour. To a single person, they’ve only asked you for one task. However, four other people did the same thing—suddenly, you’re drowning.

There are a lot of romantic ideas of “always say yes!” or “keep your head down and make it happen!” but there is a limit where you’re stretched thin and won’t provide a few pieces of great work, but rather many pieces of average work. Knowing this limit doesn’t make you weak, but it actually (and this surprised me) makes you smart. This work can be distributed. It’s not the end of the world—but it might be if you don’t speak up.

It wasn’t easy, and I definitely got my gigantic foot through the door because of this experience. I was as fresh as they come—but I swore to them that I would try my absolute best. And here we are!

So that’s it! Have any of you done an internship before?
How did it go?
And if you have any questions or if you’re starting one soon, feel free to reach out!

 

Love,
ELLE