Statistics

Everyone on my mom’s side suffers from depression. Some members on my dad’s side are alcoholics and suicidal.

Addiction is 50% genetic and 50% due to poor coping skills.

Depression is 40% genetic and 60% environmental.

Due to this, I am 90% screwed.

Mental health is something that has affected my life for years and will continue to.

When I was thirteen I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and OCD.

By fourteen I was engulfed in an eating disorder that controlled and altered my life. My eating disorder was a blend of all evils, a coping skill for all my problems.

I hated my body, felt out of control in many aspects of my life, experienced great anxiety around food, and believed people would love me if I was skinny.

Starving myself fixed my problems, or at least I thought it did. I lost weight rapidly. I felt in control when I refused to eat. I got hooked in my ways.

But like for all things, the high only lasted so long… Even after losing sixty pounds, being underweight, and having every rib and bone in my spine visible, I still looked in the mirror and thought I was fat. My anxiety began to get worse, the panic attacks were hourly occurrences, and my heart began to fail due to the lack of calories and nutrients. I felt out of control once again, so I restricted even more.

It was a vicious cycle, and it continued… leaving me falling deeper into darkness, insanity, and sadness.

By the summer of that same school year, I was in the hospital. My struggles with mental health were close to taking my life.

Years have gone by now, and much has changed.

I no longer cope with anxiety and depression by restricting my food intake, I no longer weigh 80 pounds. I’m back in school, back in sports, and am much more emotionally stable.

But some things haven’t.

I still have anxiety attacks weekly, I still hate my body and worry about weight, and I am still extremely insecure and it affects how I act (making me seem full of myself when in reality I just need someone to reassure me that I’m not absolute shit). And lastly, I still feel out of control around food. I am unable to stop myself around certain types of food and it scares me.  I feel like my previous ability to say no to food has disappeared, and it scares me. I feel like I have gone from starving my self to binging. It scares me a lot.

I need to find balance and balance is hard to find.

Due to statistics and my past, mental health is something I am going to have to deal with for the entirety of my life.

I don’t like this, but I can’t change this. So every day I strive to find healthy ways to cope with the way my brain thinks, the emotions I feel, and my general outlook on life because I believe, with effort and dedication,  everyone has the opportunity to be happy, no matter how hard it may be.

Photo via usablilygeek.com

Year III

This is my last year in high school where my grades need to be A’s, where my extra curricular activities matter. This is my last year where cramming in PSAT prep will benefit me, and the last year where SAT prep is a dreaded ritual.

After this year, the hours on hours of work, sleepless nights,  cramming for texts, student leadership applications, struggles I faced, fun memories I had, volunteer activities, extra curriculars, and sports achievements will all be put on to a single document… The last three years of my life will be put on a document; an application.

By the end of this year I’m supposed to have a general idea of my life plan, my career, and my identity.

By the end of the year I’m supposed to have perfect SAT scores, ACT scores, and 5’s on AP tests.

By the end of the year I’m supposed to be a person who will stand out amongst millions of other applicants.

This is my last year to become who colleges want me to be while still trying to stay true to the person I want to be.

In less than 365 days, I will need a paper explaining who I am, what I want to do, what I stand for, what sets me apart, and why I belong at the college receiving the paper. All of who I am, all of why I’m special, and all of why I belong in 650 words.

A transcript and 650 words which will determine my future, career and where I will be for the next four to eight years.

A lot to think about… a lot to do, a lot at stake. Welcome to junior year.

Photo Credit: artsy.net

Better in the End

I’ll admit, I over dramatize situations in the moment without thinking that the universe is working in ways I don’t understand. It’s one of my many flaws. I, also, realize that maybe the situations I’m crying about will be the ones I’m thankful for looking back at them.

Just two weeks ago, I had a different idea of where I wanted to go to college. When I found out I was waitlisted, I had a breakdown just thinking about it. Yesterday, I committed to a university on the other side of the country, a school completely different from the one I wanted to go to and, in some ways, better.

Last year, this university wasn’t even on my radar. When I was asked back in September if I wanted to consider applying to schools in Washington D.C., I laughed. I never even considered D.C., but I applied anyways, just for fun.

Photo Credit: toursofwashingtondc.com

And, by applying, I mean put the application in my Common Application account and completely forget about it. The questions were thought provoking and daunting and my top choice was a school that was supposed to be a safety school. So, I missed the deadline, and I didn’t care.

But, the universe does work in mysterious ways, because the following day, I got an email from the school saying they extended my deadline. Now, I wanted to apply.

It was funny, because right after I applied it quickly became one of my top choices, but I ignored it. I didn’t think I would get in. I didn’t want one of my top schools to be one I didn’t have a chance to get into.

I never thought I would get in. I already got denied and waitlisted from schools with easier acceptance rates and I was getting myself excited about other schools just in case the ones I actually wanted to go to denied me.

Then, last Thursday, I got an email saying decisions would be released at 2:00 pm. The next ten minutes were agonizing; ready to face another rejection letter and accept that I’d go to a school I only really wanted to go to for all the wrong reasons. Then, I opened the portal and clicked the decision. The first words I read were “Congratulations.” Congratulations for being denied? It had to be a mistake, but it wasn’t. I was accepted, I was so happy, and now I’m going to a school on the other side of the country, ready to take on new challenges, a new school, and a new city.

Two weeks ago I was devastated and when my family said something better would come my way, I didn’t believe them. But, they were right for what I want in life, to be immersed into a world of politics, journalism, and law. To have great internship opportunities, explore amazing cities, and study abroad. I couldn’t have ended up in a school better for me.

Those hours of crying were worth it, because if they were hours spent happy, my next four years would be completely different from how they’re going to turn out. I don’t know what will happen. Worst case scenario: I transfer. Best case scenario: I absolutely love the school and spend the next four years there, but one thing’s for sure now: things really do turn out better in the end.

A Story of Life, Death, Chickens, and Growing Up.

When I was around six years old, I remember my parents slowly walking up to me in the morning and giving me a hug. They kneeled down beside me and said in a soft, slow, sad, and apologetic voice: “I’m sorry, honey. The raccoons got Mrs. Frizzel last night.”

I sobbed for hours. I was sad for days. I made my parents have a funeral. My tears fell to the ground as we buried my dead chicken. My parents bought a chick that I raised and loved, but I still missed Mrs. Frizzel.

When I was eight, Fluffy and Ginger passed away. My parents broke the news to me in the same way. I cried the same way as I had before. I got two more chicks.

When I was twelve, my parents again approached me with the same sad tone and told me that that a couple of our chickens died in their sleep. I didn’t cry as much when they died, partially because I was old enough to understand that everything dies of old age at some point. It was much more bearable. I would be sad, but not sobbing like I had done in the past.

Today, I came home and asked if he bought food at the store. He said no. Something happened, so he had to come home. “What I happened?” I asked.

“The neighbors dog got into our yard and into the chicken coop,” he said with a flat tone.

“You stopped right, the chickens are okay?”

Photo Credit: Pinterest

“No,” he said. “They are dead, all but three are dead.” He said it with the same flat tone.

He just told me straight up, assuming I wouldn’t be sad. No soft, slow, sad, or apologetic voice. He patted my back and walked away.

I went outside. The corpses were gone. All that remained was feathers.

Eight year old me popped in to my mind. The funeral for Mrs. Frizzel. My parents stroking my back and telling me everything was going to be okay.

There would be no funeral, my dad had put their limp bodies in the trash before I came home. There would be no comfort from my parents. Fifteen year olds don’t cry when their chickens die.

I’m shouldn’t be sad. I’m too old to be sad. But, I’m sad.

I remembered holding the chickens when they were less than a week old. Moving them to the big coop when they were old enough. Hand-feeding them mealworms and celebrating the day that they laid their first egg.

I raised them. They are dead now.

If I was a child I would be sobbing in my parents arms. Now, I’m sobbing alone.

I know if I went to them they would comfort me, but there’s an age where you need to accept reality on your own.

Being treated like a child is now nonexistent. Just like my chickens.

When I was little, if I had a lot of homework, my parents would tell me I could do it and tell me I could have a cookie when I finished. Now, when I complain about my homework, they say lots of homework is part of growing up.

When I was little, my parents were by me at every moment to guide me through life. Now, I am old enough where I need to handle  things on my own.

When I was younger, my parents could fix everything. They could make everything feel better. In their arms, I was safe.

Yes, the death of my chickens is part of the reason I’m crying. But, there’s more to the tears running down my cheek.

No matter how much I want to believe it, my parents can’t fix everything. As much as I want it to, they can’t hug me and make me not be sad. As desperately as I want to deny it, my parents can’t protect me anymore.

I don’t know why all of this came from a dog breaking into my chicken coop, but it did…

Rest in peace Lucky, Trouble, Darwin, Lemon, Pepper, Oreo, and Henry.  I may not be a child anymore, but I still love you and miss you.

You

I’m generally a happy person, but we all have our baggage.

Photo Credit: etsystatic.com

No one is completely happy and the more you pretend to be, the more miserable you will become.

We all have ups and downs, rough patches and smooth ones.

Don’t feel like you need to cast out the bad, for it will never go away if you try and push it out.

Embrace hardships. Embrace your insecurities. Embrace what you’ve been through.

Accept the bad, because acceptance is how you overcome it.

Concentrate on the good. Embrace your successes. Embrace what you’re proud of. Embrace what makes you happy. Embrace who you are.

Focus on the good because thats how you create more.

Accept the bad and embrace the good for it makes who you are,

and you…

are beautiful.

Gone

People come and go so fast. It’s almost like they’re here one day and gone the next. With a blink of an eye, a bullet is in their brain, a tumor is in their body, a rope is around their neck, lethal amounts of Codeine is in their system. You try to save them, but they’re already gone.

I beat myself up and ask over and over again: what could I have done to help you?

Photo credit: drawingpenciled.com

Why didn’t I realize? Looking back now it seems so obvious. I could have done so much to save you.

A text? A call? A drive up to LA? Would that have kept your heart beating?

Well, here’s the answer. No, I couldn’t have saved you, even as much as I wanted too. You may have had a pulse and air going through your lungs, but you were already gone.

It comes to a point where a person is faded to a point of no recovery, no matter how much you do, the sadness inside of them can never be erased.

You can tell so much by looking in someones eyes. Looking at your most recent photos, your eyes said it all. The color, the joy, the happiness, it was gone. Now, you are gone.

I blame myself a lot.

But sometime I’m going to have to realize, no matter how much I deny it, there is nothing  I could have done.

Super Bowl Nation

On Sunday, February 5, 2017, many amazing things happened. There was the first overtime in Super Bowl history, in the last quarter of the game the Patriots came back from a 25-point difference, and Tom Brady was awarded his fourth MVP award. This year I was a lot more in tune with what was happening on the field, but I did stick to my roots as an avid commercial watcher. This year, there were many advertisements that caught my eye.

Featuring the faces of many and the simple message that “we all belong,” Airbnb’s #weaccept commercial took my breath away. Along with spending a bucketload of money on this commercial, Airbnb is donating $4 million to the International Rescue Committee, providing for over 100,000 people in need, like refugees, for the next five years. Airbnb’s efforts are a beam of light during a time when many people’s rights have been challenged.

Another commercial that stood out was Coca Cola’s #AmericaIsBeautiful. This minute-long commercial features people singing “Amazing Grace” in over five different languages. Interestingly enough, this commercial isn’t new – in fact, it was Coca Cola’s commercial in 2014  as well. However, the beauty of this commercial is only amplified by its meaning. I think the coming together of many different people is what makes America great, and that we, as a country, should embrace those differences.

This year, I was especially excited for the Budweiser commercial, especially because of the amazing #LostPuppy commercial back in 2015. In their 29th year of Super Bowl advertising, Budweiser featured the story of one of their founders, Adolphus Busch, coming all the way from Germany to make this famous beer. This was among the many commercials to tell stories of immigration and generally embracing different cultures. The commercial shows the rough conditions that entrepreneurs had to go through to make their dreams come true – a success story that I find truly inspiring.

Unfortunately, there was one commercial that got cut short: 84 Lumber’s story about the journey of a Spanish-speaking mother and daughter. After being hotly debated, Fox decided to cut off the end of the commercial, which shows the family encountering a wall, as it was “too controversial.” Since Fox has the right to deny any advertisements they choose, the private lumber company showcased a revised version of the commercial, and prompted viewers to watch the full version on their website.

Most articles that have come out about the Super Bowl commercials have described them as overly political. I understand how the commercials could be seen that way, but the messages of acceptance are ones that need to be spread. The leaders of our country can bring up these controversial issues, but companies and organizations can’t truly voice their opinions without being seen as controversial, as many people will fight back saying that these commercials are pushing a certain agenda. How are their agendas any different from ones being presented everywhere in politics?