Finding Ourselves

I’ve had this predicament ever since I started my teenage years. As a kid, I always was just who I am.

I never questioned how I acted or how I felt. If I wanted to go out without brushing my hair or even my teeth, I wouldn’t have a second thought (even though my mom would not let me leave the house without doing the two). I would wear whatever I wanted despite it being completely mismatched and downright embarrassing. I would dance and sing, up and down store aisles with a big smile plastered on my face while my mom shopped and not have a care in the world. I was just completely and utterly myself. 

But once you become a pre-teen and start going through puberty, it’s like a switch goes off. You start analyzing every feature of your face and body.

Noticing your crooked teeth or how you have a little extra skin on the side of your hips.

You start comparing yourself to others. With not only physical appearances but their minds.

You begin to change the way you think to fit everyone else. You no longer want to be yourself but a clone of what you see as ‘perfect’. And that’s when you lose yourself. This specific part is just the beginning stages. 

Once you try that and find that it’s not a path worth following and that being yourself is the only key. It’s then growing comfortable with who you are and really discovering yourself entirely. 

And to do that, it honestly takes time and a lot of experiences. Experiences that shake you to your core and make you realize that sometimes you are the only person that you can rely on. Moments where you see how amazing you are and how fortunate you are to have a beautiful life like this.

You need a mix of the good and bad to show what life is really about. 

How you act, the mistakes you make, and all the in between show you, yourself. 

You aren’t perfect (If you think you are, you may need a slight wake up call).

Nobody is perfect and as time passes and things go on, you realize that.

You accept the fact that you cry a lot. You accept that you are sensitive and emotions come over you like massive waves that pull you down. You accept that you’ve been in the wrong. You accept that you lash out and hurt the people you love most. You accept that you are human.

You will stumble and fall but you will also get up and conquer. 

You learn and learn and learn. 

I don’t think you ever truly find yourself until you are old and grey.

When you have seen the ugly and beautiful parts of life that leave you breathless. After seeing the life you made for yourself and all of the people you have loved throughout it; you welcome who you are with open arms.

Because every moment, every triumph, every fail, every person you meet, has led you to where you are; to the person, you were meant to be.

I am still figuring out who I am and I know it’s going to take a long time but I’m here for the ride.

Love, 

overwhelmed

I hope that whoever is reading this feels a sense of calmness in their life. A sense of relief or happiness. It could be from the smallest of things in life; finally finishing exam week or seeing that life-long friend that you hadn’t seen in a while. Any brief momentous happiness, I hope it captures you today.

This week has left me at a loss for words. I am trying to appreciate every facet of my life. The fact that I am here, living and breathing; that I have family & friends; a roof over my head. But I am still left befuddled.

Most nights now since the hospital, has been spent with widened eyes and fears that I will never get my life together or that my life will not be what I have always wanted. I stay up with tears in my eyes wondering if this aching in my chest will dissipate or will turn into my nightly routine.

The things that used to make me so blissfully happy, don’t seem to do the trick. Everything is so unsatisfying and I have no idea what to do about it.

The people in my life tell me that it makes sense as to why I am feeling the way I am. I’ve been through a lot recently. It can not only take a toll on you physically but even more mentally.

What the doctors don’t mention to you once you get off of your IV antibiotics and out of the hospital is the depression that latches onto you. You don’t seem to notice it at first because you are so excited to be free. You take ahold on every little thing you missed; driving, going out to eat, going out with friends, wearing whatever you want, being independent etc. But once you get off of that inch of a high, you are smacked in the face with reality.

Going back to the normalcy of life isn’t as easy. You are met with new qualms and challenges that make you want to crawl into bed and never face life.

I am trying my best and pushing through. Putting a smile on my face and taking every challenge, day by day. I will just continue to love endlessly and spread as much of it as I can and just hope that everything will work out in the end.

Love,

 

Health Update: Pushing Through

I have neglected this beautiful platform that helped me through a lot this past year. It’s very easy to get caught up in life and all of the many other intricacies. It may also be because I have been creating a lot of videos on Youtube. I’ve never loved doing something so much (besides writing, of course).

So here I am, almost into my second week of IV medications but finally home. I spent 10 grueling days in the hospital and it was a lot, to say the least. I feel as though every hospital admission takes a part of me away. Slowly hacking away at my sense of self and love for life.

Yesterday when I finally came home, I went out to eat at Olive Garden and it felt so surreal. Surreal to be surrounded by people, people who don’t have masks on or gowns, people who don’t come in to take my blood pressure, people who don’t see me as a sick patient; just normal, living people. It was so strange, it was as if my mind couldn’t handle it.

I started off my hospital admission with pneumonia and right upper lobe problems, I was then started on a medication that I had a reaction to almost immediately. But things got better and eventually, we found a medication that actually worked, as in I didn’t react to it. I am not 100% positive that this medication is actually proving beneficial for my lungs. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I feel better. But not to the extent of feeling completely healthy.

So I am just pushing through hoping this week will show me more of a change.

Just got to have hope, I suppose.

Here are the videos I posted during my hospital stay if you would like to see them!

Part 1:

 

Part 2:

 

Part 3:

 

Love,

First Tattoo

July 19th, 2018

3:59 PM

England, United Kingdom

Kings Crossing Tattoo Parlor

With a brief Instagram story of my beaming smile and tightly closed eyes laying on a tattoo parlor chair, no one but close family and friends knew the words that were being written on my ribs.

The word, fighter, in the handwritten script of my mother and father. My dad wrote the beginning of the word while my mom finished it off.

I’ve been through a lot in my life living with cystic fibrosis. Situations that have left me weeping in my bed, holding back tears while my body is crying in pain, and times where I questioned if I would ever be able to come back from the trauma I had been through.

Well here I am, aren’t I? Still smiling, still holding a positive outlook in life despite it all.

I am a fighter.

I got this tattoo to symbolize all the strength that I have and the ever-growing strength that will come throughout my life.

I want to look in the mirror and see that tattoo as a reminder of everything I am. No matter how hard things will get in life, no matter how much I think I’ll never be able to push through; I will be reminded that I am someone who never gives up. I will get through anything and everything.

I may only have myself at the end of the day but there is comfort in knowing that I am capable of overcoming.

I will fight to live a long life. I will fight against this disease. I will fight for every single person I love in my life.

I got my mom and dads handwriting because I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I wouldn’t be on this earth, gifted with this beautiful life. They have given me the foundation to live a life that I will be proud of one day. They have covered me with love, appreciation, a home, a family; what more could I ask for?

Getting this tattoo was essential while I was in Europe because I knew it would be a time in my life that I wouldn’t want to forget.

The tattoo artist (who’s card I am trying to find to give credit to) had a family member who also suffered from cystic fibrosis. I had been so nervous that the pain would be too overwhelming and I wouldn’t be able to take it. Everyone had been hyping it up that the rib was the worst place to get a tattoo.

I asked him if it was going to be too painful and he responded with “This is going to be nothing compared to the pain that you’ve been through in your life.”

And he couldn’t be more right. The pain was near to nothing in comparison with a PICC line dressing change or the surgery recoveries that I had been through. It felt like a little bee sting for 15 minutes and then it was done.

A smile was etched on my face the entire time. I was so incredibly happy and content with how it came out and how good it felt to have it done.

 

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Have any of you had one done or have a first-time experience you want to share? Leave it in the comments!

Love,

Beautiful London

I haven’t been blogging on this as religiously as I shoud have from the very beginning of the summer, especially when it comes to Europe.

There was just so much to do and see every day that I truly never had the time to sit down and write out everything I did. I mostly did videos and just capturing every moment whenever I could.

But to say it was life-changing would be an absolute understatement. I have never experienced so much in such a short amount of time.

There was so much rich history hidden in the nooks and crannies of the beautiful London. Three weeks there was no where near enough to explore every inch of the city and what it can bring. No matter how many walking tours or bus tours you do, it is not enough.

The transportation was also very different to the suburb living I am used to. I have obviously been to New York and Philadelphia but you could always drive there and if anything, take a train and subways to get around the city.

In London, driving is not as common (at least not for the Americans who only come to study abroad). So the major modes of transportation were buses, trains, and tubes. We never used a black cab when we were there (they charge by the minute which gets very expensive with city traffic). Oyster cards become your best friend. Especially when you are traveling every single day into the city and into the diferent zones in London.

The food wasn’t too hard to get accomodated to but I did miss a lot of my favorites from home. If you are a Sprite lover like me, just know that the Sprite that is carried in the UK is sugar-free and tastes like absolute crap. Because of this, I am now a Coke lover which I never thought would ever happen. Thats the soda that they had most readily available and sometimes was even cheaper than water!

Another thing, dining out is a lot different than America. Most of the time, you have to seat yourself and ask for menus. You also do not tip like we do in America since in Europe they are paid good hourly wages (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave a bit of a tip for the good service). You also have to always ask for the check or if you need something, they don’t check on you every so often compared to America.

These were just a few things that stood out to me most when it came to comparison. I could just go on about all the amazing things in London. From the places to the beautiful souls I met throughout the whole experience.

Without the amazing people I met in my program, I don’t know how everything would have went. They were truly friendships that I know will always remain because a bond is made like no other when you travel to another country, knowing absolutely no one.

If you are still reading this and considering studying abroad or just overall exploring the UK yourself, I highly suggest it. It will absolutely change your life and the perspective that you once held.

Love,

Youtube links to all of the other videos I made:

 

My FAVORITE PLACE:

A Whole Other Level of Happiness

To think that only a few weeks ago I was just getting out of surgery to the present, where I am at the most beautiful city is completely insane.

So much has changed in just the little bit of time and I couldn’t be happier. I have only been in England for a total of 5 days and have experienced more than I ever thought possible.

I have met the loveliest of people. All of the people I have met from this program are so kind and loving. We all just have this want to explore and travel as much as we can.

Honestly, I was completely apprehensive about doing this program because I was going alone. But I am so happy with the choice I made. There’s this new level of independence and responsibility that is starting to grow on me. And I wouldn’t have been as open to getting close with other people.

I just scheduled a flight to Scotland with three other amazing girls! How crazy is that?

All of these beautiful people were brought into my life from this experience and have already changed it; I couldn’t be more grateful.

We have done so many things within London and I will go more into detail in the next post but for now, here’s the video I made from the past few days!

Love,

in London, England

The Hard Times

All I could feel was shooting pain in my abdomen and chest as I awoke from my drugged daze. It felt as though I couldn’t breathe and I started gasping for air.

I had oxygen pouring through the cannula in my nose yet it felt like every breath was not full, the pain resonating through my body leaving me in tears.

I looked around me to see someone I loved or knew. I was so scared. All I remember were seeing the doctors and nurses talking, telling me to relax and that they will give me more medication to help with the pain. Then darkness.

The next time I woke up, my mom and my grandmother were by my side and I had never been more appreciative than at that moment.

It’s when you go through the absolute hardest things in life, you realize who truly has your back; the people that are willing to be there no matter what difficulties you may be facing.

I was and am currently going through one of those very rough times. I am in excruciating pain because of my gallbladder surgery. Getting the surgery done has also affected my lungs which have led to an endless amount of coughing and crying in pain because of it.

Recovering from a surgery results in a plethora of time with yourself and your thoughts. It’s easy to feel isolated when watching through your phone, the lives of friends, family, and acquaintances living their life. And it’s easy to feel even more isolated when some of the people you love don’t reach out nor try to lend a comforting hand when you are going through those hard times.

Yes, I am strong and can deal with many of life’s obstacles with a smile. But that doesn’t mean that I am not suffering or in need of support time after time.

Living with a life-threatening illness, there’s this heartbreaking moment that forces its way into your life. The moment where you realize the people you thought would be there for you through absolutely everything, wind up letting you down.

In a way, it narrows down the people who truly care about you and the people who don’t.

It also makes you appreciate the amazing people in your life. Those that hold your hand through the ups and downs. Those who wipe away your tears and tell you that everything is going to be okay.  Those who run to get you your favorite food at Chic fil a. Those who send you mail filled with love and prayer. Those who come over just to lay down on the couch with you and watch movies.

Those are the special people and I am lucky enough to have them in my life.

It’s also through these hard times, that I have seen an outpouring of love. From people sending me messages to Facebook posts to getting me little gifts that make me smile. So many amazing people that have honestly made recovering easier and has given me the most positive outlook.

So this is for all of those people who have had my back and have supported me recently (and always), thank you so so much. I honestly don’t know what I would do without all of your love. I appreciate you more than you know and I will always remember how you were there for me.

Love,