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One of the darkest moments in my family's life.
I knew this day was coming when my mother’s decided to get spinal surgery. February 20, was the date her surgery was set. It was a normal day in school when I received the message of a lifetime. My oldest sibling telling me our mother’s surgery went wrong. Imagining what could possibly go wrong made my eyes water. Felt like I was the only person on my bus. Everything was silence and my mind was racing. There was never a positive thought in my head. Taking the last step off the bus and the first step onto the porch, everything was real.
Nervous to step on the other side of the door, family members were gathered. They were gathered as if someone was giving out free money. I looked at them kind of funny as it was so many or them. Fist balling, eyebrow arching, and nose turning show that I didn’t like it. My mom’s back had sixteen staples holding the extremely long cut together. Seeing those staples made my skin crawl and I really felt disgusted. The cut went from her neck to the middle of her back. It was at least sixteen inches long.
It was a very dark moment in mom’s life and it was pretty shady for me. Being that I was a mother’s boy, not being able to turn her neck without being in pain killed me inside. Listening to her wish she should’ve chosen another method or doctor. Listening to her wish she didn’t have the surgery. Every single thing she said killed me inside because deep down I was the one who convinced her to get it. I felt a lot of pressure being I was the one that had to miss school to take care of her. I was the only one there through all her struggling. I looked at it like a job. I help from mornings to maybe 6ish, then my sister or dad took over.
As days pass by, I learned exactly how to help my vulnerable and weak mother. Helping her use the restroom was harder than ever. No one knows how it felt to lift my 260lb mother up, placing a container underneath so she can handle her business. This was more than once a day. Washing her was another major thing I had to do. I was exhausted from all the helping and sad at my mother’s pain. I love my mother dearly and I hated to see her eyes get wet. Hearing and watching her cry for hours at night made my stomach weak, heartache, and tears run.
The hardest part for me to see was her learning to walk all over again. Struggling to stand up straight to show if there was any progress. Tuesdays and Thursdays the therapy nurse came over to help. But I helped her every single day. First few weeks we started in the living room. After I noticed progression, we used the stairs. Sometimes I used to cry because I didn’t like to see my mom that way.
They gave her a walker to use. I was so depressed. I was missing school and my life. Trapped in a home doing everything possible to make my mother happy. I can admit to being drained. My mother drugged herself to stop the pain she was feeling. One time I heard her save her life was over. Felt like I fell off a cliff, landing on a stack of needles. I also heard her said she doesn’t have anyone. That made me felt worst because I was there since day one. I didn’t felt recognized or appreciated. But although her comments were hurtful, nothing could’ve stopped me from helping the most important person in my life.
With all the good deeds I’ve done helping her, I know I will be blessed. Not many kids do what I did for their mother. I love the time I was finally recognized and appreciated when someone asked about her and she mentions me. I went from being the saddest child ever, to the most appreciated. I was no longer crying. My family pain was over.
Michigan rain vs. California rain (at Calvin College).
SO, I've just recently had the fortunate experience to be reminded just how Michigan rains. Now, before you roll your eyes at me, I HAVE EXPERIENCED RAIN (in regards of the the popular joke that Californians haven't). However, I have to agree; after experiencing one of Michigan's thunderstorms (with my college's sirens blaring in the background), it comes to mind just how different "rain" is between the two states:
California Rain: (CR)
"Rain" is any sprinkling of water that seemingly comes from a cloud, not dripping from the nearby apartment's air conditioning or the lawn sprinkler (that keeps leaving dry water-spots on you car's windshield).
Michigan Rain: (MR)
"Rain" is when you have little mini spontaneous ponds/lakes appearing around you, and your umbrella is doing a decent job of keeping water off of you.
"Heavy rain" is when your windshield wiper is being used on its second speed on your car, and the streets are slightly flooding. It's heavily advised to avoid sidewalks next to busy roads (unless you want a wall-of-water slap to the face). Drivers are going at >20 mph, scared of hydroplaning, blurred vision, etc.
"Heavy rain" is when sirens (we had sirens?) at your college go off, warning all to stay inside, walking is physically hard; you might as well take off your glasses, vision is actually worse with them on. Yet, Michiganders are still going at the same speed as if it weren't pouring. To Michiganders, what Californians are afraid of when it rains is what they are afraid of when there's a blizzard. Rain? Meh.
It rains a little, then it lets up. Typically, when it lets up, we can safely say it'll stop in a couple minutes. Umbrellas usually take care of the job, or a raincoat will do. "Aww, the my shoes and the bottom of my pants are wet," is the usual complaint you'll hear.
It rains a little, then A LOT. You'll be walking across campus, figuring you'll be able to get to class in the drizzle, your jacket probably suffering the most from the dampness. That's what you think until (apparently, how else could it be explained?) somebody must've tossed a bomb into the clouds, because SHEETS OF WATER are coming down on your head, prompting you to run (slip, fall, crawl, whatever works) to the nearest building for sanctuary. You finally make it back to your dorm/apartment and you hear things like, "Your underwear is wet? Me too!!" Umbrellas become pretty unfixable flowers in your living room.
(On the quick tangent, you wonder if this was what Noah experienced when it started to "rain".)
People don't know how to handle. Wearing raincoats and umbrellas, I try to get to point A to point B as fast as possible, thinking which route is the driest, regardless of distance. All it matters is I stay dry. A tale walking in Michigan's rain is worth recounting, the harsh journey against the crazy winds, battering rain, and dramatic flashes of lightening and thunder.
People run out of their rooms, screaming and running giddily into the rain, lying in the puddles on the sidewalk, walking barefoot out on the lawn. (Honestly speaking, it seems like it should be switched, with how much Californians need rain, but nope.)
Overall, both rains are something to experience, and even I admit that Michigan's thunderstorms are quite fun to be out in once in a while (with the proper equipment and not driving). I'm grateful for rain in general wherever I go; water is needed (much more apparent when you start to ration). The childish joy of walking through puddles (again, if properly dressed), which you may have read or seen in a book or TV show is something that you want to experience for yourself, with how much fun they are having. Do try it sometime. (Of course, with an umbrella, rain boots and raincoats, not in jeans, flats and a flimsy hoodie.)
Ever wanted to check out EDM music, but didn't know where to start? Look no further! Start here.
If you have been following me for a long time, then you know I write about two main things: relateable articles and communication media based articles. Now, it is time for me to combine the two. For those of you that don't know, I am a radio DJ at IUP, and I DJ for a show called BPM (Beats Per Minute). It is an EDM, or electronic dance music, based show and I absolutely love it.
Believe it or not, I never really listened to EDM before I started deejaying. I knew the big wigs; Skrillex, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris and Aviici, just to name a few; but I did not know that EDM music is more than just hard dubstep or the more pop-influenced EDM songs we hear on top 40 radio. Now I absolutely love it. I find it to be a cool genre of music in general because it has so many styles, and I'm always looking for new songs to play on my show.
If you're interested in listening to EDM music, then today is your lucky day! Below are 21 EDM songs that range in style, but should ease the non-EDM listener into the world of electronic dance music. This list also gets you away from more popular DJs like Calvin Harris, Zedd, The Chainsmokers and David Guetta.
1. "Ready or Not" - Madison Mars
2. "Blackout" - Tritonal featuring Steph Jones
3. "Stepping Stone" - Lemaitre and Mark Johns
4. "Heartless" - Jacob Tillerberg featuring Jonning
5. "Electric Elephants" - Jay Hardway
6. "Do You Don't You" - Haywyre
7. "Top of the World" - Stephen Walking
8. "Faded" - Alan Walker
9. "Jaguar" - WhatSoNot
10. "Paralyzed" -DM Galaxy featuring Tyler Fiore
11. "Colour" - Marshmello
12. "Maybe" - Carmada
13. "Off The Hook" - Hardwell and Armin van Buuren
14. "Secrets" - Tiesto, KSHMR, and VASSY
15. "Aftergold" - Big Wild
16. "On My Mind" - Don Diablo
17. "Electric Feel -Justice Remix" - MGMT and Justice
18. "Summit" - Skrillex featuring Ellie Goulding
19. "Must Stop the Feeling" - NERO
20. "Feel" - Mahmut Orhan featuring Sena Sener
21. " Daydream" - One Bit and N/A
This is one new song to listen to every day for three weeks. Hopefully listening to some of these songs will bring you in to the world of electronic dance music. If you listen to this particular list, you'll see how diverse the genre is, ranging from dubstep, trap, to chillstep music. Check it out, maybe you'll be like me and fall in love with this music, if not then that's cool too. You had a new listening experience, and that's all that matters.
Happy Moments to Brighten Your Day!
As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.
Many people often think that happiness can be found by creating the largest social media pool, trying to be someone that they are not in order to be accepted or even having the nicest car or the biggest house. But happiness does not come from these material or “fake” things. It comes from strong connections with people you love, having gratitude and consideration for the people around you and finding happiness in the most unexpected and often overlooked places.
Constantly reminding yourself that your happiness is one of the most important things and sometimes having to put your happiness first is something that should be happening every day. Personally, my happiness comes from thousands of things ranging from reading a book all the way to vacationing to the ocean and everything in between. Also, I find happiness in the happiness of others and seeing others in content, but this also sometimes means that I do not put my happiness first.
Everyone has their flaws and many people are like me—forgetting to put their happiness before others. Therefore, in order to give you just a simple idea of how easy it is to find happiness in the smallest of places, here are 100 reminders of happiness that surround you each and every day. This list also purposes for each of you to think of your own reminders that make you happy and to tell yourself that your happiness is important and that you should always find happiness in every situation in the most unexpected places.
- You are loved by more than you could ever imagine.
- You have a home.
- Flowers are blooming around you.
- Summer is closer than it has been all year.
- You talked to someone you love today.
- You are beautiful.
- Listening to the rain hit the roof when you fall asleep.
- Freshly mowed grass.
- Watching the stars at night.
- Someone in your life wants you to be happy.
- You have food to eat and water to drink.
- Chocolate is still existing.
- There are dogs to pet and to cuddle with.
- You are talented and have a special talent that no one else knows about.
- Listening to music.
- One Direction.
- You are able to help someone.
- Volunteering for a charity.
- Sitting on a dock.
- Taking pictures with your best friends.
- Going to a cabin.
- You have cute clothes to wear every day.
- Someone said, “Hi” to you today.
- Someone thinks you are the most important person in their life.
- Someone looks up to you.
- You have a job or some other commitment.
- You believe in something.
- Someone believes in you.
- Listening to the birds chirping outside.
- Finding a dandelion in the middle of a grassy lawn.
- Starbucks is a thing.
- You have or will see the Northern Lights.
- Vacations or camping or nights out.
- Spontaneous road trips.
- You can do anything that you set your mind to.
- You believe in someone else.
- Warm, melty chocolate chip cookies.
- You matter.
- Chicken noodle soup when you are sick.
- Grey’s Anatomy/One Tree Hill/Gossip Girl.
- Freshly cleaned sheets.
- You have dreams and goals.
- You are inspiring.
- You are inspired by something or someone else.
- Bright colored daisies.
- Reading your favorite book over and over again.
- Coming home and changing into an over-sized sweatshirt and leggings.
- Going out and dressing up.
- But feeling confident in both.
- Sleeping in on Sunday mornings.
- Getting up to watch the sunrise.
- Surprising someone or being surprised.
- Art museums.
- Good nights and good morning’s.
- Laughing, laughing, laughing.
- Making someone else laugh.
- Board games.
- Rainy days.
- Sunny days.
- You are vibrant and radiant.
- Bare feet in the sand.
- Highlighting quotes in your favorite books.
- Seeing others happy.
- Seeing couples holding hands.
- Your mother, father, sister, brother, grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, cousins, etc.
- Putting your music on shuffle and having your favorite song come on first.
- Did I mention One Direction?
- Oh, and Beyoncé.
- Saltwater and sea shells.
- Loving something or someone with the strongest passion.
- Being the only one on the court/field/track/ice.
- Feeling invincible.
- Conquering one of your fears.
- Listening to someone’s heartbeat.
- Talking to someone about their favorite things or memories.
- Disney movies.
- God, Jesus and your faith.
- Girls’/Guys’ night.
- Airports and airplanes.
- Acing a hard test or failing and learning from it.
- Sleeping with the window open.
- Being there for someone no matter what.
- Trusting someone.
- You are the best at something.
- You are someone’s best friend.
- Chocolate still exists.
- You can move mountains.
- Your happiness is the most important.
This one's for you, Spock.
Owning a pet can get difficult and expensive. Sometimes, their vet bills cost hundreds of dollars just for one visit. On top of that, pets also need food, a wee wee pad for a dog, a litter box with litter for a cat, toys, and treats. Besides having to spend hundreds of dollars on them, they provide a great companion and are almost always there when you need to talk to someone. For the past six years, I have been the proud owner of my purebred Bengal cat named Spock. Although he's only seven years and four months old, he's taught me so much. Here's a few of the things that he has taught me.
It's ok to not know what you want.
If I said that he knew what he wanted at all times, I'd be lying. Sometimes, he'll want to be in the living room watching television. Sometimes, he'll want to sit on the bathmat and not let people use the bathroom in peace. At other times, he'll hide under the table in either the kitchen or the living room - or, he'll jump up on a chair or on a shelf. Owning Spock has taught me that it's fine to not know what you want because things change, and those changes could impact your decisions on what you want for yourself.
It's fine if you just want to be by yourself for a bit.
Sometimes, all we want to do is be left alone. The same applies for animals - especially for Spock. Everyone deserves some alone time for just themselves. If some of your so called friends can't respect that, then maybe they just don't respect you as a person and as their friend, and maybe you should reconsider your friendship with that person. Owning Spock has taught me this via his actions of always running away from people when all he wants to do is be alone.
It's ok to eat what you want whenever you want without feeling embarrassed about it.
With Spock, he begs for food at least four times an hour. He doesn't care if you just fed him - he will beg you for more food. Owning Spock has taught me that sometimes, you just need to eat that piece of cheesecake or that salad when you feel like it. By the end of the day, you're choosing to put whatever food you want to in your body, and you shouldn't have to provide anyone with an explanation of that.
It's ok to have some sass.
Sometimes, we're in a situation that we usually don't want to be in - like a fight with a friend, family member, the person you're in a relationship with, a group project partner, and so on. Owning Spock has taught me that you just need to do what you need to do when you're in an uncomfortable situation - and if that means adding some sass into what you're doing, then do it.
It's ok to take a nap at any time of the day.
Sometimes, we're just flat out tired and need to take a nap in order to feel refreshed. With Spock, he enjoys taking a nap about what seems like twenty times a day. Does he feel bad about it? No. It's probably because he knows he's tired and wants to gain some more energy. The same applies to us humans - so go take that nap that you've been wanting to take and don't feel bad about it.
Document the important things and moments within your life.
It's not a surprise that we all get older and experience a lot of important things and moments within our lives. Although it may seem annoying to have to constantly pull out your phone or your camera that you love using for everything to document the moment or important thing that you're going through, you won't regret it later. You'll have photos that you'll look back on later in life and you'll have memories to share with your friends and family. With that being said, here are some photos of Spock as he's gotten older.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign