Pushing Forward

Pushing Forward

A spoken word piece on the struggles of the asthmatic.
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The following is a spoken word piece I wrote regarding my struggle with severe asthma. I am sharing it today partly as a means to express a part of my life I have kept to myself for far too long, but also because I want my experience to enlighten those who know or might even be suffering from severe asthma. The one thing I wanted more than anything while growing up was for others to understand what I was going through, and this is as close as I can get to reaching that goal.


Take a moment and clear your mind. Think back to this morning, as you were just waking up. You may have woken to that damned alarm of yours, or you might have overheard your children doing something mischievous in the other room. Now, try to recall that initial burst of life as you opened your eyes and the light bombarded you in all its infinite majesty. You, being the fatigued, hard-working individual that you are, attempt to shield your eyes until suddenly, something seems wrong. Your mind must be playing tricks on you. What is this odd sensation in your throat? Why are you unable to call out for help? When did you forget how to breathe?

Reality sets in, but so too does panic. You feel like a diver whose oxygen tank hit empty hours ago, thrusting every bone in your body to fight for a simple, small breath. As you attempt to suck in air, you realize you are fighting a losing battle. You look around for something, anything to keep the clock from striking midnight. Your phone is on the corner of your desk, it takes all the strength you have to reach for it and send an emergency 911 text to someone you can count on. Minutes later, you’re skating on the brink, seizing up as help finally arrives. You point to the closet across the room. They pull out a small blue machine and stick the mask on your face, it’s a good thing you keep the chamber filled and ready for emergencies. As the machine hisses away, life is restored to your lungs. The color emerges in your skin once more, your entire body shivering despite the warmth of your blanket and significant other. Your nightmare has surfaced once again, further paralyzing your sense of comfort and safety. Why must this always happen to you?

This is what it’s like to live with severe asthma. Everything you do in life is paralyzed by the fear of a condition the doctors have fought valiantly to control. You live through each day feeling imprisoned and afraid that tomorrow you may not be able to reach the phone or make it to your breathing machine. When asked what causes your condition, you feel guilty because the lifestyle choices of those closest to you are what impact your health the most. Strong odors, cigarette smoke, anything beyond two minutes of exposure to cold, dry air and plenty more are the things you have to take into mind with every decision you make. To account for these worries at times feels nothing short of maddening. The medications you’re placed on to help control your illness are extremely expensive and, without proper care, can lead to worsening the conditions they are prescribed to treat. The worst part is that you can’t maintain a job because breathing turns out to be incredibly important in all lines of work.

“So what do you do?” You may ask. You fight. You push forward against all odds, seizing all options on that fateful road to oblivion. You came into this life for a reason, and only you have what it takes to rise above what holds you back. There will be days that you want to give up, but you will persevere because that is the only way to beat what afflicts you. You will push for opportunities to better yourself, from college to speaking out and eventually to confiding in someone you trust, sharing your burdens and alleviating the strain they have on your life. Are you doubtful? Do you need proof? Well this is your proof. I'm living through this and am sharing it with you, someone I trust. I've assembled my secrets for all to see and have never felt better.

Cover Image Credit: NC State University

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Poetry On Odyssey: A Stress Call

It's the most stressful time of the year!

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It's the season of stress

When people seem the busiest

Final exams, presents and time

Students grades are on the line


Is it really the season of love and giving

Or are people too worried about money and winning

People stress about everything, big or small

It is not healthy all in all


Stress plagues peoples lives

People are too focused on "mine, mine mine"

In the world we live in, what can we do

About not having people or outlets to turn to


In a world with such confusion

And problems knocking at the door

Is anyone paying attention

To the call of the people anymore


Stress may seem overbearing

Or impossible to defeat

Keep your eyes on the dreams

You've always wanted to complete


Stress is just a roadblock

On the road called life

Continue to press on

It will be alright

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