To Grandpa, The Biggest Fighter There Was

To Grandpa, The Biggest Fighter There Was

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" - Helen Keller

Take a moment to think about your grandpa, whether he is still alive or has passed, I hope that he had some significant imprint on you. In honor of my grandpa's birthday this past week I figured it is only necessary to share what a great and honorable man he was.

His name was Marshal Martin, but he liked to be called Mickey and to me, he was Papa Mickey. He was born on November 18, 1932, in Los Angeles, CA. His life wasn't perfect and later in my life, I had learned of some of the tragedies that got him to be the amazing man he was.

He had a brother who was in a head-on collision on the way home from prom, which then left him to be an only child.

Unfortunately, six months later, his father passed away.

He later married my beautiful grandmother, and they made sure to fulfill their dreams of traveling just about everywhere you could think of.

They did it all.

My grandpa was many things, but the biggest thing was that he was a fighter and a survivor.

When my grandpa was 66 years old he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which is a chronic and progressive movement disorder. With age, this disease only got worse and lasted until he passed away, which resulted in him being sick with it for 15 years total.

Then, at the age of 77 years old, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He had radiation treatments which did help, however, his cancer came back a year later.

When he became very sick they took their last trip to their favorite place, the Hawaiian Islands. His dream was to travel all over the world, and he sure did conquer that.

Even though he got sick, he didn’t let anything stop him from doing what he wanted.

The doctors told him he only had about one year left to live, yet he fought for about three more to the day of April 15, 2013.

He was one of the longest survivors in California with that specific type of cancer.

Throughout his sickness, there was not a single day that he complained, instead he lived life day by day like everyone else and tried to enjoy it.

He was a fighter.

The most important thing I learned from him while he was sick was how important it is to not let anything get in the way of living your life. He was always so happy and never complained.

Even when he felt horrible, he was a trooper.

As much as I wished he could have lived longer to watch me get married someday and have kids, I will always be able to cherish the memories I made with him as well as all the lessons he taught me in life.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Lee

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My Tattoos Don't Define Me

I am still just as dedicated, just as smart, and just as hardworking as someone who doesn’t have tattoos.

I am a 19-year-old college student.

I don’t do drugs.

I don’t party.

I don’t cheat, steal, or commit crimes.

I am a very family-oriented person.

I get good grades.

I have friends.

However, I do have tattoos.

I have two tattoos, one on each arm. One is a semicolon, and the other is a quote from a song. This song is a lullaby that my recently late grandmother used to sing to me and my cousins throughout the years.

I got the semicolon in January 2017, a few months after I turned 18. I got the song lyric exactly a year later in January 2018.

My grandmother died in September 2017 and it rocked my family to their cores. The whole family spent a whole week caring for my grandmother in her final days and it was an emotional experience for all of us.

She had Parkinson’s disease that later turned into Dementia, and eventually, she didn’t know how to do anything anymore. My grandparents moved back home so we could help take care of her.

I got the lyric tattooed on my body as a way of honoring one of the best and most genuine women I have ever met.

Tattoos seem to have a stigma in today's society. It is way less stigmatized than it was in the past, but it seems that a lot of people still cannot get past their own biases to see the beauty that tattoos hold.

I am more than just my tattoos.

I see tattoos and things like piercings and hairstyles as ways of modifying your body to express yourself. We are all born with what we are born with; there is nothing we can do to change what we were given. What we can change is how we make what we are given our own.

Everyone has their own hairstyle and their own fashion sense. Likewise, tattoos and piercings help us express ourselves. They tell our interests and tell stories about ourselves.

Tattoos are beautiful.

Tattoos don’t necessarily give off the vibe of a criminal or a bad person. They don’t always make you look tough and scary.

They are not unprofessional in the workplace unless, of course, there is profanity in it or there is an inappropriate connotation to it. There is no reason why a person who is interviewing for a job and has tattoos should be turned away for the way they look. Workplaces should not be judging your workability by your skin.

Depending on where you get your tattoos, they may distort with age. The same thing can be said about any part of your body. It just doesn't look the same as it did years before.

People get old and they start to wrinkle. SO WHAT!

My tattoo is not on my body for any other reason than I wanted it. I don’t care that it won't look the same in 20 to 40 years from now because I know why it's there and what it means to me.

I know what it stands for in my own mind.

My tattoos don’t define me as a person and I'm not covering them up for anyone. I am still the same exact person I was before I got them.

I am still just as dedicated, just as smart, and just as hardworking as someone who doesn’t have tattoos.

Tattoos are amazing. Don’t let any closeminded or old-fashioned people tell you they aren’t.

Cover Image Credit: Allison Johnson

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To My Yaya, The Woman I Will Forever Be Grateful For

You are amazing

My dearest Yaya, Where do I even begin?

You are my everything. My best friend in the entire world. There is nothing better in this world than to be your granddaughter. I’m lucky, in fact, to be your granddaughter. I have been blessed to have you in my life. I may not always express my feelings of how much you have impacted me and how much you mean to me but I’m going to try.

For everyone who has met her, and is a part of her life, you understand what I mean by she’s one of a kind. She is the greatest woman in the world, no one will ever be able to compare to her.

I’m writing this because I want to thank you for everything you have done for me, the past 20 years of my life and for the future things you will do. You have shaped me into the woman I am today, and I will do everything in my power to return the love and thankfulness you have given me throughout the years. I know we don’t always see eye to eye, but in the end, you are always right.

And even though I never want to admit that, you will always be right. I love you more than anything in the world. Everything I ever want to do, is trying to make you proud. I never want to disappoint you, because I would be failing myself. You are every part of me, the only person whose opinions will forever change mine. I value you in every way. I want to be like you in every way.

I thank you for everything, and more. You are above and beyond, and never stop being you.

I love you a bushel and a peck, forever and ever.

Cover Image Credit: Alexis Wheeler

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