Focusing On Yourself Once In A While Doesn't Mean You're Selfish

Focusing On Yourself Once In A While Doesn't Mean You're Selfish

Doing more for me than ever before.
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Throughout my whole life I have always been the "yes man."

If someone asked me to do something, I would do it even if I had fifteen other things to do that week. I have always tried to make other people happy.

If my sister had a cheerleading competition, I would miss hanging out with my friends to go to it. If my friend wanted to go one place and I wanted to go another place, we would go where they wanted to go. If someone needed a paper edited and I had three papers of my own to write, I would put their needs first. And I do not regret one single bit of any of that. Yes, it made my life stressful at times, but it was worth seeing them happy.

But now it is time for me to be selfish.

This is my last year of college and I have a lot to do. The fact of the matter is my life is unfolding before my eyes and I can't miss out on it. I have to do what I need to do in order to better myself. If you don't put forth the effort to talk to me or try to see me, you probably won't see me.

It's not because I don't care, it's just because I'm busy. I don't have time to worry about whose feelings will get hurt if I don't check in on them every few days. I keep up with most of y'all on Facebook and that is the beauty of social media. When I get five minutes out of my day, I check to see what my long lest friends are up to. I still see y'all out there slaying life.

I have had to learn to say no when I really don't have time to do something. This has stepped on a lot of toes and made a lot of people upset, but I can't help it. If I have 17 assignments due this week, I'm sorry, but I really don't have time to go out with you. Don't get mad at me when I put school before your need for adventure.

You know how if a plane is crashing you're supposed to put on your oxygen mask before you try to help other people? That's what I'm doing. If I don't finish school and get my life sorted out, then I'm not going to be any help to anyone. I have to make sure my priorities are straight and right now school is my number one.

If you're mad at me because I don't talk to you every day or because I just haven't called you in a while, sorry but I'm really not sorry. Right now my priorities are on other things, but once my life calms down, I'll be sure to get to you. Just please be patient with me while I stumble through my last year of college.

This is my last year to be selfish before I start a real job and begin thinking about starting a family. So please understand that I need to do me right now. Once I get those degrees, I'll help you with whatever you need. But for now, I need you to be okay with the fact that I am focusing on me.
Cover Image Credit: http://iancleary.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/relaxing.jpg

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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Dear My Loving Body

A thank you and apology to the body I was given.

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Dear my loving body,

I am sorry I didn't love you as I should of growing up, that I starved you and cut your skin. It seems like a lot of other women, I didn't know how strong you were being for me. Even when I made you sick all those years you still woke me up in the morning, legs carried me through my day even when I'd be so malnourished you nearly collapsed on a daily. Thank you for being the strength I needed even when I didn't have the mental strength to keep going but you did.

Melissa Garcia

My body. Oh god, she persevered after so many years of binging and purging and starvation, she brought me to where I am today. I am still struggling to love her, perhaps I always will. I try to think of how my large thighs can be a comfy seat for a child rather than be a nuisance when they jiggle or flatten out to what seems to be an entire continent. I am learning to love the stretch marks on my bum and legs because they signify how much I've healed from my eating disorder. They signify not only physical growth but mental and emotional growth too.

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I spent so many years trying to make this body perfect but in the end, she always was. She always gave me strength and kept me going even when I didn't want to. This body gives me the ability to laugh and love in a way I couldn't when I was torturing her, she is free now and I couldn't think of a better way to thank her than to continue letting her be free from the burdens I placed on her all those years. I know that loving your body is incredibly difficult but seeking to remember all she does for you is important and really can change an outlook. I want to tell her to thank you for all you do for me every day.

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