A Second Chance at Living

A Second Chance at Living

I am two or three years old in the apartment on Johnson Street. I am supposed to be sleeping, but I am scared. I keep thinking of the book my mom read me before she kissed me goodnight and left the room. It was Snow White, and I am terrified of the talking mirror and wicked queen. I cry out for my mom. Instead, my father throws open the door, which I beg to be left open each night, and he is suddenly at my bedside—a large imposing shadow.

Home for a Holiday

Home for a Holiday

The pancreas—it doesn’t get all the attention like the heart, liver, or lungs. I didn’t even know I had a pancreas until I was fifteen years old. My entire life as I knew it changed that year; I went from being a perfectly healthy, normally obnoxious teenager—wearing rolled jeans and scüncis—to suddenly being very sick, in unimaginable amounts of abdominal and lower back pain, being thrown into a world filled with doctors, hospitals, big fancy medical terms, and ugly hospital gowns.

Looking Back in the Mirror

Looking Back in the Mirror

I stared into a mirror smudged full of lipstick kisses and mascara blots, looking at the new me. The woman I had been, so sure of her image and beauty, suddenly seemed shockingly distant. Sharp, pointed strands of blonde hair landed alongside my jaw as I tried to apply extra mascara to make up for my lost sense of self. I sat. And stared. Thousands of thoughts whirled through my brain as I tried to make sense of this new life.

Beginning to Believe

Beginning to Believe

There’s a racquetball lodged firmly in my throat. My eyelids are burning, and the back of my head feels cold and heavy, like an icy hand is pushing my gaze toward the ground. A plastic device shaped a bit like a bean and roughly the size of a car-key remote is buzzing intermittently in my left hand; I’m holding its vibrating twin in my right. The muscles along the backside of my left leg are in full-blown spasm—I have never experienced anything like this before. I open my eyes and express my concern about these twitchy muscles to a slight brunette sitting a couple feet away. The beans stop jumping for a while, and she explains what’s happening.

Scars of Survival

Scars of Survival

Most days are difficult. I mean, it’s better now that it was at some points in the past, but I know that I go through peaks and valleys. Not every day is a particularly good day. And when days get stacked together full of work and stress, and I can’t stop for a while and let every thought leave my head, those are the worst days. The days where I switch to autopilot except for the really important tasks at work or in class. But things are better now than they were in the distant past. 

Looking Back in the Mirror

Looking Back in the Mirror

I stared into a mirror smudged full of lipstick kisses and mascara blots, looking at the new me. The woman I had been, so sure of her image and beauty, suddenly seemed shockingly distant. Sharp, pointed strands of blonde hair landed alongside my jaw as I tried to apply extra mascara to make up for my lost sense of self. I sat. And stared. Thousands of thoughts whirled through my brain as I tried to make sense of this new life.

Finding Myself Amidst the Clutter

Finding Myself Amidst the Clutter

Two o'clock in the morning. My mind pops awake, and the thoughts of what I should have done and what I could do better (the thoughts I avoid during the day and push to the side) come barreling in at full force like a bull coming out of its cage. The thoughts spin in a cycle, as if they are on a merry-go-round going around and around, only to wave at me as they are going past, never taking the time to stop and get off so I could have a moment of rest.