Keep Your Popularity, I Want The Outcasts

Keep Your Popularity, I Want The Outcasts

YOU ARE YOU, and you are more of a masterpiece than The Mona Lisa.
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This article is for the people who never had it. This is for the people who grew up getting picked last for kickball. This is for all the people who grew up believing they weren't enough. For all the kids who are going to grow up not wearing designer clothes and shoes that are designed to make us value those above our own souls, know that you are blessed. You are blessed because you will grow up to learn that who you are under those clothes matters more than a name on a tag.

I see so many of my friends posting pictures on Instagram with their new Jordans or a bag from Victoria's Secret full of new clothes, only to find out later that they spent their entire paycheck on that one bag or that one pair of shoes. You don't need those clothes or those shoes to be a good person or a "cool person". What's "cool" is to sit next to the kid who no one else wants to sit next to. To offer a hand to that child who at the tender age of seven, is already drowning in an ocean of societal pressure. Being a seven year old in 2017 holds the same social pressures of a 14-year-old. We read in my Childhood Development class that between the age of 7-12, the opinions of peers begin to matter more than the opinions of parents. When I was young, I don't think I wanted anything more in my life that I wanted to be liked by my peers, and that's something I rarely got, and it crushed me.

This is for the people who were forgotten about. This is for everyone who we avoid talking about. This is for the people who weren't wrapped in designer silk, and their peers made them unravel. This is for the kids who spent their nights wrapped in their bed sheets trying to cope with their day. For the people who have anxiety and depression pulling them back and forth like two drunk parents fighting over their child in a nasty divorce. Words fly like bullets in their head until they numb themselves enough to fall asleep. This is for the Hannah Bakers of the world, who were too far gone to bring back. Who opened up their arms and let the roots of their family tree spill on their bathroom floor, growing a new tree watered by tears of the ones left behind. This is for the ones who light up the night sky in the stars because their lights were too dimmed in this world.

This is for the girls who have been robbed. Who had a man come with a Joker's smile and steal something that they had no right to take. For the young women who were tormented over the phone by their fellow women, who call them a slut so much it becomes a nickname. For those who were told they were loved for temporary satisfaction, and then tossed away, having their minds scrambled, like eggs in the morning. For all those who go days without eating because they've been told that who they are is not good enough.

No matter who you are, where you are, this article is for you. If you're alone, with friends, or with the love of your life, this article is for you. Know that you ARE enough, you ARE loved, you ARE NOT what they say you are. YOU ARE YOU, and you are more of a masterpiece than The Mona Lisa.

Stay true to you my guys, gals, and non-binary pals.

Cover Image Credit: Elijah O'Donell

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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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