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  • Writer's pictureElise Delap

From Ellie to Elise... To Ellie... To Elise

As I begin my new chapter in my new home, Los Angeles, I am beginning to finally acknowledge the past year and a half of my life.

In January of 2020, I was watching the Golden Globes (#boycottHFPA), and as I witnessed each actor going up to accept their respective award, it suddenly dawned on me that these talented people did not become the artists that they were, and are, by living a life dedicated solely to making others happy. They must’ve said no to things that did not serve them creatively or personally, and they must’ve hurt some people along the way. But ultimately, in their own unique style, they trusted their instincts to get them onto that stage, accepting that award.

Just a few weeks later, I ended a six-year romantic relationship with my current best friend. At first, I felt liberated by this huge, life changing decision. I had steered clear of unnecessary conflict and disappointing others my whole life; so, to survive confronting one of the people I care about most in the world, and them not only being okay, but in agreement that the relationship was over… it was truly ground breaking.

While on this cathartic high, my therapist brought me back down to Earth, warning me that things were going to get a lot harder before they got easier. I didn’t believe her. I felt free. Open to start a life that was dedicated to figuring out what I really wanted as an individual, rather than investing all of my time moving everyone else forward. Of course, I didn't consider that blowing up your life does have some long-term emotional effects.

Then came March of 2020. Covid-19.

I got furloughed from my job, and my ex’s tour got cancelled, so we would be living together in a one-bedroom garden unit, fully quarantined, with no artistic outlet or financial security…

All things considered, I decided to move back home. Into my Mom’s house. At 26 years old. Feeling defeated and uncertain.

In my delusional concept of reality, I thought I would easily be back in Chicago within two months of leaving. Back to work, and back to normal. Little did I know, as we all can recognize now, that life would never be the same.

Being back in Jeffersonville, IN for a year during a global pandemic was haunting. I had no clue that I had to reopen old wounds for them to heal properly. I’m still in recovery, to be honest. In an attempt to swing the pendulum opposite of what I knew to be true, I stopped pursuing creative opportunity via the “industry”, and just went bare bones.

I ran, I danced, I meditated, I cried, I stretched, I did a whole lot of nothing, I star gazed, I sang, I bartended, I served, I drank, I spent time with my family and friends, I cuddled my dog, I leaned on my Mom (significantly), I ate a lot of desserts, I protested, I prayed, I raged, I wrote, I listened, I laughed, and I watched a shitload of television.

I questioned the possibility of this being my new normal. Could this be enough? I had already put up a good fight for 27 years, chasing a “successful” artistic career. Maybe I could find some ease and happiness in a new, alternative reality. As I very quickly fell into the dreaminess of this world, I was also getting hit with rejection after rejection, and I was forced to face the truth: I was doing all of these things for someone else, yet again.

Let me take you back further.

I’ve been in love for the past seven years of my life. With someone from my past, who still had a spot in my future. There was a major part of me that decided to come home so that I could be closer to him. It sounds insane now, but it was so real for me a year ago. I wanted him to see me. More than anything. My daily choices always considered the possibility of us running into each other. The way I dressed. The route I took home. The content I posted socially. All of it was subconsciously in pursuit of the possibility of us being together.

Regardless of my feelings, it was an adolescent, unobtainable love which made me want it even more. While exploding my life and feeling like I had the chance at a do-over, I fought so hard for this love, and so little for myself.

On a cold night, in February of 2021, I stood on my balcony. Sobbing. Feeling so alone and so worthless. My identity was completely depleted, and I felt like a shell of a human. As tears streamed down my face, I looked up, and quickly saw a shooting star move across the sky. In that moment I made a deal with myself… I would wish for love and romance and fairytales on shooting stars, so that reality could be MINE.

Ever since I was a little girl, Los Angeles was mine. It was a dream for ME, and for me alone.

I decided to make THAT my reality. In April of 2021, I made the move that I had been envisioning for years. While I have plenty of people in California (friends and family), I now have my own home and for the first time, I am in pursuit of myself. I am alone, and ready to finally start the work of discovering my individual identity.

My therapist was right: it got harder before it got easier. And I’m human. I’m going to have moments where I fall back; but in my experience, it’s the only way I can propel myself forward.

So… here’s to a lifetime of choosing ME.

In the pursuit of difficulty, celebration, challenge, exploration, hardship and love.

The world has only one me and I have only one life, so it’s about time I take it by storm.

Stay tuned for so many adventures.

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