by

November 30, 2022

 

Art

My brother has always been the most supportive person in my family when it came to my art. He bought me my first sketchbook when he saw me doodling random things in my notebooks. He bought me any art supply I thought about even if they were priced at such an absurd amount. He bought me my first drawing tablet and the one after that when I felt I was ready to learn other types of art. He always shows off any things I’ve made to his friends on social media and he encourages me to show it off too. He taught me techniques and gave me tips from what he learned when he was younger. He encourages me to pursue some career in art. He does all this and more to make sure that I have the ability to do what he wasn’t able to. How will we feel if I tell him that I don’t actually like art?

When my mother was telling my brother and my sister about America, she told them that it’s a country where you’re able to do anything that you want and be happy. It’s a place of hopes and dreams that will be true with a little bit of hard work. He believed that and when he came he put his heart into his work. He loved drawing and sketching and just creating art of any kind. He joined groups that were art specific and when he went into high school he knew he wanted to pursue a career in it. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to. College was a difficult thing to get into and pay for when you weren’t a legal citizen. My sister had attempted to go but was forced to drop out as she wasn’t able to pay. My brother decided to just work instead of trying and not being able to just like my sister. In his free time he was always creating art and graffiti anywhere he could. He never lost his passion for it. As the years went on and he continued working he accepted the fact he won’t ever get to do it as a career. He’s fine with it now. He still occasionally doodles when he comes over for dinner. He enjoys it as much as he did when he was younger. He’s glad to see me draw and help me with it.

I didn’t start drawing because I found it fun and interesting, I did it because it was just a way to pass time for me. I did it because I thought it was one of the easiest things to do. I remember that day he saw me I was just watching a show and thought the art was cool. He saw me and asked me I liked drawing. I told him I thought it was alright and was immediately telling me that I should keep drawing and if I get better I can get a job doing that. Ever since then he’s told me to continue it and to practice more. For me it was fine in the beginning but now it’s been weighing me down. I feel as though I’m no longer really doing this for myself. I feel as though I’m only doing this for him and to live out his American Dream. There are days I feel unmotivated and feel like it’s just a chore. I practice every day in order to get better because he tells me to.

Parents living out their dreams through their children is a common thing. It’s looked down upon because they don’t give the child their own chance to find what they enjoy and what they do. They force the child to do things they may not enjoy just because they weren’t able to. Is there any difference between this and what my brother is doing?

It’s difficult to tell him I don’t want to do this. It’s difficult to keep doing this. It’s difficult to see him so proud of me. It’s difficult to see others like the things I do because I feel like I didn’t even do this. It’s such a small insignificant thing to complain about but when you’ve been doing it for years it piles up. I need to continue doing this to not feel like I just wasted his time and his money. It feels like I have no other choice. It’s a small thing to really complain about but it’s become a bigger part of my life that I don’t really have control over.

I really don’t want to continue but I have no other choice.


Living without Papers

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

“Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don! I mean somebody’s doing it! Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”

This is not only what Donald Trump believes about Mexicans and undocumented immigrants, but what many Americans believe and support as well. Well, not every American — there are citizens who don’t have a deep and unnatural hatred for immigrants. But there are millions of citizens who are not affected by these types of comments whatsoever. I am not one of them.

I am the daughter and relative of multiple undocumented immigrants. At first, I didn’t realize it was such a big deal, but as I grew older, that changed. I began understanding how it affected me, and most importantly, my family.

My father is a mechanic who generally fixes truck chassis. The job sounds plentiful to some, but I’ve seen firsthand what it’s really like for him. My father wakes up at 5am every morning from monday to friday, sometimes on saturdays if money is lower than usual. He drives two hours to and from and gets back at around 5pm if he doesn’t work extra shifts. He has been working this job for twenty years but has only had a small raise in exchange for his expertise and hard labor. My father works on his hands and knees most of the time — and if his hands aren’t covered in some oil, grime, or paint, they’re handling hot and dangerous tools that release fumes that can then affect his health overtime. He comes home exhausted and underpaid to pay bills and keep food on the table. My father has no retirement plan or savings, every dollar he makes is used to support the family financially and get my sisters and I through college. Two of my sisters are in college right now, and I am about to go to college as well. My father works to make this happen as my mother has no job. This is something american citizens can relate to, but what they cannot relate to is that my father cannot speak about mistreatment, underpaying, or search for another job because he is undocumented. Because he is undocumented, he cannot risk speaking out against his boss because he risks getting sent back to Mexico. My father can’t save to retire because he doesn’t get paid enough to save. My father is 59 years old working more hours than the average american — who works 34.5 hours per week according to the most recent data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — but can’t have the same retirement perks or raises just because he doesn’t have a couple of documents.

I’m scared for my father. I’m scared that he will have to keep working until he exhausts himself until he can no longer physically move. I’m afraid of seeing him spending his senior years working a job made for younger, able-bodied people because if he doesn’t, there won’t be financial support from the government to keep the family stable. I work everyday to hopefully be able to financially support both of my parents before I have to watch them die of old age and exhaustion trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. American citizens experience things similar to this, but what they don’t experience is being completely independent in dealing with financial problems because asking the government for help is not an option to us.

Because of these hardships, my life has been permanently shaped around it. I often find myself thinking of ways to be able to help my parents’ lives be easier for them in the future. I look into how to get credit in order to finally get a house that belongs completely to us and not have to worry about a landlord possibly take it away. I find myself wanting to work harder so my parents won’t have to work at all, because they have been working nonstop every since they stepped foot in this country. I find myself bettering my understanding of the English language so I can then be able to translate efficiently to my parents without having to google a word. I find myself worrying about my mother when she goes out to a store by herself because she doesn’t know English and someone may not be kind enough to help her if she were to be in trouble. I find myself never traveling out of country because it’s not fair that I get to leave and not worry while my parents stay at home by force. I find myself worrying about leaving my parents in the house alone and coming back to it empty because the government doesn’t believe they have the right to exist on american soil. I find myself thinking about all these things, and then realize that these thoughts and emotions have never ran through millions of people’s heads. It’s a privilege for them, to not worry about if someone they love is not being respected and treated right just for being in the country without a certain piece of paper. But it is a common problem, one that the privileged need to be aware of in order to make change and make undocumented immigrants’ lives easier.


Females can play video games too

Fortnite is an online game that currently has around 250 million active players.  The game has three different game options, Save the world, Battle Royale, and Creative. This game first started with save the world around July of 2017 but later on added battle royale into the game in which it got its success. Fortnite was first available for PC users only until they added it to consoles around September of 2017. Fortnite is represented by seasons and it is currently in season 9. I personally didn’t start playing until January of 2018 which was mid-season 2.

At first, I found the game confusing since it wasn’t just a shooting game but a building game as well. Once you queue into a game you start off with 100 players and the goal is to be the last man standing and earn the #1 victory royale! Getting a victory royale is challenging and hard for the majority of the players I have met and asked. It took them a couple of weeks or even months! In my case it wasn’t really, it took me 4 days after downloading the game to get my first victory royale and even with 4 kills. I was proud that I won at a fast rate and gave me confidence and motivation to keep playing the game and improving myself to become a good player.

At the beginning when I first started playing Fornite I would mainly play solos since I didn’t really have anyone to play with if I would play with someone else it would be my cousin since he really enjoyed the game as well. As I kept playing I kept improving and surpassed my cousin in his skill and I felt pretty proud since he was pretty good at the game back then. My cousin began to notice how good I was getting and decided to introduce me to some of his friends to show them that a female player can beat/be a better player than them. I would not really talk when my cousin invited his friends since they would treat me a certain way if I did. My gamer tag is misleading and people think I’m a dude when they first “meet” me online. My cousin’s friends did not believe I was a female until I decided to talk to give callouts while playing the Battle Royale mode of Fortnite. They were shocked and surprised that I was actually a female player that played pretty good and wasn’t lying since my gamer tag/epic tag started with Angel which throws people off.

As time went on I decided to make an Instagram page dedicated to Fortnite and my Fortnite gameplay, I also created a Twitch channel since I wanted to stream my gameplay and hope to get my own fan base. On Instagram I posted a clip or video of me winning a game and I have reached four thousand views in just one day and I was shocked by the results, I also have had people message me to play with them since they personally thought I was good. This one player named Jupiter messaged me and I added him and personally did not play with him for over a couple months since I usually preferred playing by myself since I don’t really like communicating, because once a guy hears my voice they act different and start treating me like I don’t know how to play the game. When I got to talk to him and actually play with him I asked him how he found me on Instagram and he said: “I saw one of your posts in my discovery page and saw that you hit a nasty snipe and decided to follow you.” I was honestly shocked and surprised that one of my videos was on his discover page and he actually decided to follow. Jupiter also mentioned that he honestly thought I was a guy when he followed and decided to support me, once he heard that I was a female player he was surprised but did not treat me as less of a player and actually complimented on the way I play.

I noticed myself growing and currently still growing but Jupiter gave me the confidence to push myself and to put myself out there, to show other players that I’m a pretty good player for my gameplay and not just because I’m a girl. Jupiter has even helped me improved and in a way, he is like a little fan. On instagram, I’m almost at 300 followers. On twitch, I reached 50 followers and met the requirements on becoming a twitch affiliate! A twitch affiliate is a “program that supports streamers in making a living from doing what they love to do; streaming. Available globally, the affiliate program allows streamers to Earn on Twitch with Subscriptions. Start Earning on Twitch with Bits. Earn revenue from the sale of games or in-game items on Twitch” as the twitch app itself mentions it. I felt accomplished and that my hard work and dedication to the game actually paid off.

As soon as I mentioned that I was invited by Twitch themselves to participate in the twitch affiliate program some of the people I play with and talk to they were happy for me and have told me to keep going, others not so much. Other players and friends, I played with before just simply said that I have met the requirements and standards by just simply being a girl. “People watch you because you’re a girl, people follow you because you’re a girl” is what some of the people I use to play with would tell me. In which I strongly disagree because when I stream my gameplay I simply just stream my gameplay, I don’t show my face or anything. The only way people notice I’m a female is when I talk in my streams. It doesn’t make sense to me why people would think that someone would accomplish something by simply just being a girl. Females can equally be good at video games and not because they’re a “girl”. I have seen on Twitter how some female players are honestly better than some Fortnite pros and very surprised on how they haven’t been noticed and blown up. Even if the female players are thriving and succeeding, people still blame it on the fact that they’re girls and that’s why they’re getting “noticed”. Also that they only have followers because they show their body in which some cases it isn’t true for every female player.

All I’m saying is that females can reach a high level of success by being good at the game and skillful. People assume some female gamers get noticed just by simply being a girl and don’t recognize the hard work they have put into the game while some don’t even try yet get jealous of others success.   


Learning from your family’s mistakes

Throughout generations, parents have assumed their children wouldn’t make mistakes in life, despite their older siblings making them. What parents forget when it comes to their children is everyone makes mistakes. Even if your siblings have made mistakes, doesn’t mean  you can’t. Yes, you should learn from them, but not everyone learns through example, some learn through experience.

I grew up with two older brothers who are 6 and 8 years apart from me. We lived in a neighborhood where gangs were active and during these times my parents constantly worked to pay the bills; mostly had the night shift. So growing up, I first handedly experienced my brothers make mistakes. As I got older, my parents began to put pressure on me to be the “perfect” daughter. To be better than what my brothers were. But what they didn’t know was, I had no role models, I was the oldest girl- since I have a sister who’s five years younger than I am. So my role models were my brothers and I wanted to be like them. I began to act out and make my choices. I’ve grown and learned that that’s not who I want to be. Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret my past nor the choices I’ve made, but I know that’s not the life I want to continue to live.         

Life is anything but easy. I learned that at the age of 10. I’ve seen, felt, and been through so much throughout the years. My parents think I regret what i’ve done, but the truth is I’m don’t. Every action I did has shaped me into the person I am today. I am very proud of who I am now. I’ve fought many battles to get here and I had fun through it all. Once I got into high school I decided I no longer wanted to follow my brothers steps and decided to focus on school and my future. I am now trying to be the role model I wish I had growing up for my now 13 year old sister.   

I think a lot of parents want their children to not make mistakes and just have an easy happy life, but they don’t realize how unrealistic that is. I know it isn’t the best to see your child struggle, but you have to fall to learn to walk. Nothing in life is easy, and I get why parents try to keep us from making mistakes- but we need to learn and move forward. Without making mistakes you’ve learned nothing. I do hope my sister does better than my brothers and I, but I also know she will experience her own struggles. Regardless of them, I want her to know it’s okay to mess up. No one in life is perfect and sin free, and more people need to remember that. I just hope she doesn’t let them define her and let others opinions get to her. Just always remember that moment, that feeling- so when you become a parent you won’t make the same mistakes. People will always talk, so just go out and do what makes you happy. You gotta live with yourself for the rest of your life. Why aren’t you having fun yet?


Shyness

My hands were shaking, I can feel my face heat up and turn into a shade of red. I kept repeating the same word “umm” for what it felt like hours unit my teacher finally spoke up and asked if I had anything else to add. I quickly look down and shook my head no, even though I had about ten things left to say but I just couldn’t speak as much as I wanted to. As I sat back down, my teacher told me that I would have to do my presentation all over again the next day.  

Since I can remember I have always been a shy person, when it came to school I was never the one to raise my hand even though I knew the answer. I honestly can’t tell you how I became this shy person, who blushes and turns really red when someone calls my name or puts me on the spot. Being shy in school, we are the main target of teachers, who want us to participate and hear us say at least one thing in the whole school year. The only time teachers and students hear you say something is the first day of school when they make you say your name to the whole class, while you’re getting all red, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone.

As a shy person, there have been times that a person didn’t know we had a class together or they didn’t know my name. What many don’t get is that like many other students I don’t like coming to school but most students also don’t have to worry if you are going to talk in class if a teacher going to call on them because they easily talk in front of the class. I don’t get called out by my teachers everyday, but there are times that they do and I honestly believe I have developed a sixth sense where I get nervous even before they call my name. When I do have to talk, my teachers tend to repeat the same questions “can you speak up” or “can you say that again I can’t hear you, can you guys hear her?” and I get if they get annoyed repeating them but we also get annoyed hearing them. Throughout the years, shy people have their fair share of teachers who really want them to participate and will get any chance to call on them. I understand that teachers want them to participate, so they can express their opinion but what they don’t understand is that we do have opinions on everything of course and sometimes we would like to be heard. But the power of nervousness and shyness are too high to actually participate. I do think it is a good thing that once in a while you should get them to participate and interact with others. Shy people encounter different type of teachers, but I think that teachers should know that not all shy people are the same.

There are some shy people what actually want to talk but they either don’t know how, without getting all shy and quiet or they simply can’t talk in front of the whole class. There are also shy people who are actually talkative whether it is with their friends or just simply outside the class. So you might see them outside of class talking, laughing maybe even being a bit loud when they are around their friends and that’s because they go close to them meaning they got to know them personally so don’t expect them to be like that inside the classroom.  I once had this teacher, that talked to me after recess asking me why I couldn’t be as loud as I was in recess when I gave presentations and response was “I don’t know”. It might depend on the person,as they might have a specific reason why they can’t talk in front of the class or they simply don’t know why.


Do you hear me?

“You have something in your ear.”

No that’s my hearing aid its suppose to be in my ear.

“Oh so like you can’t hear, are you deaf? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?”

There was no need for that I can hear you fine and no I’m not deaf I have hearing loss there is a difference.

“Is there really, either you hear or you don’t, oh wait does that mean you do that hand thing to communicate what’s it called?”

Sign language.

“Yes that, do you do that since you can’t hear.”

No I never learned that plus I’ve been speaking to you perfectly find, just because I can’t fully hear doesn’t mean I can’t hear at all.

“But you said you have hearing loss. You’re not making sense.”

This is one of many conversation I have regularly as I was growing up. My mother wanted me to view my hearing loss as something that made me special, but entering into an elementary school where staff and students had never heard of hearing loss didn’t make me feel special. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me and that I was a problem. I thought that if I were to not wear my hearing aids, it would help me make friends or get a classmate to talk to me. Since I wanted to keep my hearing loss a secret, it made it difficult for my teachers to believe me when I said I did my homework wrong because didn’t hear them explain the examples in class. I was that student in class who would ask everyone else what the teacher said after she just said it.

I still remember the fire drill in kindergarten when my teacher was telling us instruction in what to do when it happens. All I heard was to stand in a straight line as we are walking out the building, as we were waiting outside I asked the student in the other line behind me how long does the drill last. Right before he could answer he looked up and stood quiet. I figured maybe he didn’t know, when I turn to face forward I was frightened to see my teachers face right in front of mine any closer I think our nose could of touch. She told me in a firm voice to turn around, stay quiet and follow the class. As we were walking she was next to me with her hand on my back pushing me to move faster as if I was walking slow. Heading into class I quickly sat in my seat as the teacher started to announce “ Very good class everyone seem to follow the direction except for one student who decided to make her own rules” she looked directly at me. I was so embarrassed I turn to look around the class and saw students pointing and giggling. It was the first time I cried so quietly, questioning myself what was wrong with me.

The children at my elementary school started to get a little to comfortable with staring at my ears. I didn’t feel to right every time that happen, it was like they were waiting for me to entertain them. One classmate decided to ask me “ What’s in your ears,is there something wrong with you?” I didn’t answer, I was too afraid too but after hearing the same question repeatedly, I finally said I have hearing loss. My hearing aid is what helps me hear. After that, other students started to ask about the “things in my ear” and it escalated to them yelling,poking and touching my ears and then pulling my hearing aids out. The average cost for one hearing aid is $3,500 and your everyday insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids. I wear two, one for my left and one for my right, from kindergarten to third grade I had to fix my hearing aids five times. It came to the point I had to go to school without hearing aids, I had to work twice as hard to earn passing grades.   

I use to find it difficult to accept the fact that I was different but now I am more accepting of it.Other people think I’m different and question me on what I am instead of who I am. People  would leave me alone unless it was mentioned on a paper or someone noticed my hearing aids. I am treated differently like my hearing loss is something that just happened and all of a sudden I’m viewed as someone completely different and they don’t know how to treat me, even though they have already met me. On some occasions people would ask why don’t I just say that I am deaf because It’s easier to understand. I won’t say I am deaf because I am not. They make it seem that just saying you’re deaf makes you someone to praised on because you had it hard, and people would treat me better If I say that I am. It’s not a choice to have hearing, I can’t pick and choose a day when I want to be deaf or when I want to fully hear everything. I was born this way hearing loss is when your ability to hear is reduced. It makes it more difficult for you to hear speech even though it’s loud enough to hear.

My mother would make sure I was getting the help I need to improve my skills as a student and boost my confidence as a person who is capable of achieving high goals.My mother would ask staff from the school to see what are the best opportunities are for me. She also made these staff members knew who i was. My mother would make sure to attend every meeting to make sure I will be receiving the help that I needed. Taking off of work didn’t matter to her her first priority was me. She encourage me to do new things like clubs and finding out that my school had cross country for me to be active with the school and with other students. I wouldn’t be in the position I am now.

If it wasn’t for my mother pushing me for what she saw and knew what I was capable of doing. In my high school years I was placed in a program that help students with their learning disability and are deaf or hard of hearing this lead me to meeting the most supportive and hard working teachers I know. They understood my mothers position, doing the best they can to help their child to have a better life. I had to learn to speak up for myself and create a bond with my teachers which wasn’t easy, the thought of walking up to a teacher asking to place in front of the class so I’ll be able to hear them or to raise my hand and ask for the teacher to explain it in another way, 14 year old me said no, there’s no way that’s happening.

It took a long time to allow my mother to help and support me with finding my voice. Before I use to be terrified to ask for help, I had no clue students like me have accommodations in class, but now I’m able to talk with a teacher, i’m awkward about it, but I get the help I need. I use to have nothing but failing grades, then I worked my way to entering honor classes , even tried an AP course. I join sports like cross country and track, I became involved, started to get comfortable with my community, I was even able to travel to Senegal West Africa to help a community in poverty. This wouldn’t have happen if I allow the negativity win, people still question about my hearing but now I have the upper hand because I’ve proven myself that my hearing doesn’t limit me, it pushes me to learn another route to my goals.               


Addiction

At a very young age, I have been around an addict of alcohol and cocaine.

I never thought in a million years I would grow up with it tainting my childhood. The addict was my brother and it has been hard to try and move past what happened. I saw side of my brother that I never knew. I knew a good man that loved to work and provide for his family. He would take me and my nephew to the Rainforest Cafe that is in downtown all the time. Alcohol and drugs ruined that.

To be honest, I never knew of my brother’s cocaine addiction until he was forced back home in his mid 20s or so. He lost his job and his home to foreclosure. He also lost his family when his wife decided to leave and take my nephew who was 5 to Mexico. It would be about 5 plus years until my nephew would return from Mexico. My brother was in a really dark place. He could not hold onto job for more than 5 months at a time so he turned to alcohol. Fast forward to when I was 8 or so my brother was in a toxic marriage that the only thing good about it was my nephew who is now 16 years old. I remember him drinking a lot and coming over to my home whenever he would be in argument with his wife. But, one argument I remember  the most was because he was so drunk and angry at his wife that he flipped the kitchen table in my home. Everything that was on the table went flying everywhere.

It hurt me to see all my mom’s things on the floor broken because my dad works so hard to be able to provide for us. This was when I realize how out of control he was becoming due to this marriage and alcohol. Then, I finally encountered how my brother was a cocaine addict. It was the day I had to call 911 for the first time. I don’t remember how old I was but I was in middle school. I remember be woken up at 2 morning to sound of someone pacing the hallway and all the lights were turned on. I got up out of bed and my sister was already in my hallway. My brother was out of control. He was running the hallway of our small apartment. He had no shirt or shoes on. My parents were trying to calm him down because when he is high he becomes paranoid. He starts to get delusional and thinks that someone is after him trying to hurt him. He hurt himself by running into our heater. The metal cut him and all I saw was blood.

This was the day that I made my first 911 call. My family was screaming at me to call 911 because I could see in their eyes they could not control him anymore. My parents and two siblings were all on top of him trying to stop him from getting up. I called 911 and said crying for help that brother was acting crazy under the influence of alcohol. I will never forget it because this is not what I expected would be the circumstances of my first call to emergency services.

I cannot forgive and forget. Cocaine is a vicious drug that takes a toll on its user. The user takes it usually by snorting it through the nose. But, most do not know the consequences of it. You will suffer from nose bleeds and nerves in the nose will be burned. It will hurt your breathing and allow you to smell well. Also, you will constantly inhaling like if you have had a stuffy nose with mucus.

Drugs are never the answer to your problems. It only makes it worse speaking from someone who has seen the pain and heartbreak an addict can do themselves and their loved ones. It cost the relationship I used to have with my brother. I still have a lot of resentment and anger against my brother but,not just because of his drug and alcohol addiction. He disrespects my parents and for that I rarely speak to him. I can’t have a normal conversation with him because everything that he did flashes back. I can not stress enough that if you are an addict or knows someone who is one seek help for them or yourself. There is always way out to the brighter side.


The way you see a situation may effect you.

Going through my teen years with a disabled parent had me constantly torn between the world I lived and the world I thought I deserved. A few years ago, my father experienced a stroke. A father is mostly everyone’s childhood hero, a person you never thought would get hurt, the strongest person ever, both mentally and physically seeing him like this is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. To me my father was someone I turned to when I was in need of protection or help. He was someone who would carry me inside when I was a child after I fell asleep in the car, who would walk me through a scary movie telling me it’s not real, and who would give me advice on anything he could relate to. I am not looking for pity at all. I was not the one suffering, and my parents never accepted any sort of pity for themselves.

I remember that first trip to the hospital. My mother picked me up from school early and we went to Mount Sinai Hospital to see my father. I remember my mom telling me that my dad was going to stay there for a couple of days. The thought of what happened stayed in my head as we walked into the hospital room. My dad laid there, locked in a bed, his body not able to respond to what he truly desired. Several machines were keeping him alive. I was terrified, but my mother encouraged me to get close. I looked into my father’s eyes, and he couldn’t even look down as he was speaking to my mother. I put my hand into his hand as he encouraged me to get closer, and it took every ounce of his strength just to squeeze it. Seeing him like this was the hardest thing I have ever experienced.

My father is paralyzed on the entire left side of his body. His left leg is permanently straight and his left hand is permanently a closed fist. You have to peel back his fingers just to give his nails a trim, they are almost impossible to move. His balance is almost entirely gone, so he needs a cane to walk. Adapting to his physical limitations is a daily battle. His walking cane has basically become his left side, as he uses it to close doors, open cabinets, and extend his reach. These experiences have enabled me to feel motivated about what I want to do with my life.

When my father returned home from the hospital things were very  difficult for me and my mother. My mother would put my father’s socks and shoes on every morning after she would bathe him. I got called to help my mom get my dad in and out of bed, grab water every time a medicine had to be taken, and organize all his medications, etc. many times a day. So often that I sometimes didn’t have time to finish assignments, or if I would finish assignments I would not have time for sleep. Keeping up with my grades to be able to keep performing at the top 20%, while striving to get to the top 10%, during this experience was very stressful. Some days were worse than others. I had to miss certain days of school in order to help my father with anything he needed while my mother went off to work her 3 jobs, but I would take advantage of those days to be able to catch up on any missing assignments. I always here students complaining about their parents, how they’re always on their back about cleaning their rooms or doing their laundry. It’s crazy to me how someone could even say they hate their parents. Someone else can have it way worse than what you’re complaining about. I have friends who do not even have their parents and are struggling to get by. It’s very rough growing up without having someone to look by to decide what path you’d like to take in life. Kids usually take after their parents or become the complete opposite because of their parents.

Despite his limitations, seeing my father struggle and never giving up no matter what has really motivated me to always look at the positive in every situation. His struggle has given me purpose, helping others is what I need to do. I want to be the person that others can rely on. I want to share in helping others look forward to living their life no matter the situation. His powerful will and determination to be better has motivated me to become a person who can take on any challenge in order to follow my dreams of becoming a registered nurse.


Educating People on Mental Illnesses

When I was 10 years old, I had my innocence taken away. I was manipulated and violated on more than one occasion by the same person. I am an abuse survivor. Before I came to terms with what had happened, I was severely depressed and had attempted to take my own life on two separate occasions. All this occurred before my 15th birthday. Needless to say, I grew up quickly. After 5 years of struggling, I had finally asked my mother if I could see a therapist. After 1 month of seeing my therapist, I was diagnosed with PTSD and depression. When I was first diagnosed, I was confused. I had the idea that only veterans had PTSD. My therapist explained to me that I was triggered by certain sounds or a certain smell.

When I’m triggered, I can’t move and struggle to breathe. Terror runs through my veins for what seems like hours but, in reality, it’s only for a minute. When I learned that what I was dealing with had a name, I was relieved. Knowing that what I was feeling was common for someone who went through what I did gave me a sense of peace.

Coping with my PTSD was something I found very difficult to do while at school. Loud environments triggered me easily, and I found it hard to concentrate on anything. I was always on my guard, and I stayed away from all people. Kids at school would trigger me on purpose just to see my reaction. It turned into a game for them. Seeing me freeze mid-sentence when someone drops a textbook on the ground was just a game for them. For me, it was a living nightmare. My classmates knew what happened to me and used it against me for their pleasure. I forgave them because I knew they did not understand what was wrong with me. They just assumed I was a freak who couldn’t be around people

This happened because we are not taught that mental illnesses are serious and should not be toyed with. When we educate people on the seriousness of mental illnesses, they learn that these illnesses are just like any physical diseases people have. They are just as serious and need to be treated. When people with PTSD go untreated, terrible things happen. They can hurt themselves and other people when their disease goes untreated. I went through the same thing before I got the help I needed. I was violent, slept very little which affected my mental health, and I made an attempt on my life.

Now, after treatment and therapy, I have some semblance of a normal life. I still get triggered easily, but I have learned, through therapy, to control myself and to push through it. It may not seem like someone you know is struggling through a mental illness, but the chances are that you know someone who is going through something. Because I wasn’t educated on the signs of PTSD, I did not know that I was going through the same thing. By educating people on the dangers of illnesses and by knowing the signs, people can understand that they are not alone, and they could get the help they need just like I did.

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