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  • Mental Health

    Grieving During the Holidays

    Grieving During the Holidays

    I have so much to be thankful for this year, that the past two years seem almost like a fleeting nightmare. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. The food, the family, the festivities. It was all an endless possibility for joy. I find myself missing the way I felt back then, but I understand that what I have gone through brings me here today.


    Grab a comfortable seat, a blanket, and possibly some tissues, because this ride is going to ring you for all you have. Or at least, it did for me.


    It all started with my first retail job. I gave up my right to have Thanksgiving with my family so that I could cater to the afternoon shopping rush. I only did it for money. I needed to pay for school at the time.


    A couple of years of missed Thanksgivings started to weigh heavily on my relationship with my non-immediate family. This was the only time of year, aside from one day at Christmas time, that I got to see any of them.


    Flash forward to 2016. My sister is going to have a baby! She flaunts her bump everywhere she goes, and I’m buying little pink and purple things everywhere I go. Forgive me for loving those colors. Baby Squid would have worn them regardless of being a girl. Oh, yeah, she got her nickname because her ultrasound looked like an adorable baby squid.


    Over the Summer my grandmother gets sick. She already had cancer, but it got much worse. By the end of July she was saying her last goodbyes with an occasional word to her future great-grandchild. She passed away quickly.


    I quit my job, stopped going to class, and felt like life was fleeting. We had always been so close. It felt like a limb had been removed from my body.


    After seeking some help, I turned to the positive things in life. My sister was five months pregnant by the end of August. She would be the first grandchild and niece to a family of five children.


    As the months went on, my sister got sick. She battled viscous pancreatitis, causing her to be hospitalized for the remainder of the pregnancy. I stopped going to class again so that I could stay at the hospital with her. The whole family took turns.


    The doctors kept feeding us good news about the baby, saying she was healthy and the only one to worry about was Jamie, my sister.


    Come November, I wondered how Thanksgiving would feel. My grandmother was gone, and Baby Squid was becoming a high risk pregnancy.


    Two days before the holiday, Jamie was released. We planned a large feast with our immediate family and her husband’s. That night, she got sick again.

    We rushed her back to the emergency room and waited for several hours to hear anything back from the doctors. Finally, we were told that she would need to stay at the hospital until the baby was born. Three more weeks of hospital time. I was so selfish. I had finals the next week.


    One week later, as I was submitting my final assignment for a creative writing class I was in, I got a horrifying phone call. This is where you’ll need those tissues. I’m certainly desperate for some right now.


    My sister was dying and so was her baby. Her heartrate had dropped drastically, and Squid’s was nowhere to be found. They rushed her into an emergency c-section without knowing if it would kill them both.


    I just wanted a nice Thanksgiving. A nice Christmas. To get finals week over. Yet there I was, sitting in a hospital waiting room, watching my brother-in-law’s parents crying and hugging their son. He kept mumbling something about losing his wife and first child on the same night.


    My mom came out from behind a large metal door with red eyes and shaking her head. My niece didn’t make it.


    Jamie was still battling the blood loss somewhere in that godforsaken hospital. Would we lose her, too?


    Half an hour later a nurse came out to let us know that Jamie was doing fine, but in reality she would be broken for the rest of her life. We walked into her hospital room to see her holding my stillborn niece and babbling incoherently. She was on drugs and could barely comprehend what had happened.


    The doctors said it was a freak accident and that nothing could have prevented it. But it still feels like something could have been done.


    I am not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for me or for my family. I just want you to know that things can get better. Having grief, especially during the holidays, can be hard. It requires the help of all your loved ones and sometimes professional council.


    My sister got pregnant again the next year. With a baby boy. We called him T-rex, because his ultrasound kind of looked like one. I still miss Squid and my grandmother, but it is okay for me to be happy again. And it’s okay to still be sad sometimes.


    I have had time to heal. I am back in school full-time. I work retail again, with Thanksgiving off. And I have a beautiful nephew that I love so much.


    Try to remember the good things in your life as this holiday of “thanks” nears. I am thankful that my sister is alive. I am thankful for my nephew. I am thankful for all my family. I am thankful for my college education. I am thankful for this in internship so that I can share stories like this one with young girls who may experience similar grief.


    Here are some links to grief webpages if things get a little too tough:

  • Photography

    Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

    Being Comfortable in Your Own Skin

    by Sarah Vice

    It has become so easy to tell people to stand up for themselves and to take the criticism surrounding their circumstances, but when it comes to your livelihood as a teenager, “coming out” may not be possible. If you live in a heavily religious home, or just a morally “traditional” homestead, then you have limited options to what sexual opportunities there are. I remember a friend of mine telling me that he was so scared to be homosexual that he quit school to be homeschooled to be away from other boys. A girl I knew in high school started hurting herself because she felt unable to love who she wanted to love, due to the fear of being kicked out of her home.

    In situations like these, we come back to the realization that sexual preference is not something everyone has access to. If you are stressed because of your home life, then reach out for help. Please do not consider harming yourself or others, when professionals are willing to spend time talking with you and helping you figure out a better way to express yourself.

    Here are some tips from me on what to do when you are feeling like a part of you is missing:

    1. Keep a journal. I know it sounds silly and may be difficult for some, but write down everything. If you find someone, you like, but do not have the courage or ability to reach out to them, write about it. Write a heavily detailed letter to your guardians about how what they’re doing is hurting you (you do not have to give this to them). This works just as well with art, or wood carving, or any other form of creativeness. Take your stress out on something that makes you happy.
    2. Keep close friends that understand who you truly are. This way you feel less like your hiding it from the world but are still able to keep it from your parents or guardians.
    3. Read books. There are a lot of authors who have probably experienced similar situations to yours. All you have to do is find them. (This works for television as well).
    4. Get an animal or thing that you can use as something to talk to. Animals relieve stress and are always there to listen. If owning a pet is something you don’t have access to, then have a stuffed animal or important relic to talk to.

    Before hiding who you are, always be sure to have conversations with your parents or guardians if you do not already know where they stand on the subject. Sometimes people can surprise you.

    If you ever feel alone in your struggle or would just like some company, you can check out the Magic City Acceptance Center at the following link:

  • Poem, Writing

    A Writer’s Love Story

    I want to build you a kingdom out of my sentences,
    An empire out of my words.
    I want you to come home to a house fashioned by metaphors and hyperboles.
    I want you to hear only the onomatopoeias that come out of my letters.
    I want you to peel apart the walls and look at all the paintings to read through my lines.
    I want you to crack open the floor boards, look under the tables,
    And find what was meant especially for you.


    A Writer’s Love Story

    This poem examines the love that most writers experience. The love that exudes from our pens to the tattered pages of our journals. It presents the combination of the love to write, as well as the love to love. This poem is just a longer way to say I love you.

  • Body Image, Bullying, Dating, Depression, Relationships

    It’s Toxic Girls!: 3 ways to deal with and get over with toxic relationships

    “Boys, boys, boys!”, every girl has the same problem nowadays, and if I’m not wrong each one of those girls out there, want an amazingly charming partner for themselves. But, let’s face it, not every single guy is worth your precious time and that expensive makeup you’re wearing right now, girls. I know every girl wants a perfect, loving and caring one, and every time you look at a cute couple making out in the hallways, just one thing crosses your mind, “Dear God, grant me one”, but unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold. Maybe the guy you recently found loves you enough and maybe he loves you quite “a lot”.

    But sometimes it doesn’t always turn out to be what we wish for. Toxic relationships are one of the greatest yet, uncontrollable contentions in our society. Maybe you, yourself are bounded and imprisoned in a toxic relationship. It could be anyone. Life’s unfair sometimes, a lot of times. But, it’s our choice to make that life worth living for. There is just a little line between love and hate, but there’s far more thinner line between love and obsession. Love is something you live for, you dream of, it can make your life easier, perfect and magical at the same time. If, you don’t feel these things and your life is getting harder and harder, and more of a mess then, you need to get out of that relationship. Toxic relationships are just like drugs- can’t get rid of them easily, folks! Here are 3 uniquely amazing ways of identifying a toxic relationship and getting rid of it.


      Infatuation, the first stage of a toxic relationship. Mostly the person you love is more likely to fall in love with you, but sometimes it’s just your looks or those crazy, stupid hormones, which tend to be the cause of this passionate attraction. He might love you for your countless perfections, your external beauty, or maybe your physical appearance. Yet, love is something a lot more complicated than that. It is not merely a bond with your perfections or your beauty, it’s a lot about your imperfections, and mostly your flaws. You love someone not because of their immaculate personality but because of those little flaws, which you find cute enough to make you go crazy about them. Infatuation is just immaturity, a mere attraction towards someone for their physical appearance. For instance, if your boyfriend tells you that you are beautiful then, the first question to ask him is that will he be by your side even if you get ugly, fat, old, repugnant, or hideous? Will his “proclaimed love” be the same for you? And trust me, if he thinks even slightly longer on that one then it’s time for you to let go and move on, and it’ll be far easier to get rid of a person like that at an earlier stage than crying about him the rest of your lives.

    • CONTROL:

      Control is a major issue of toxic relationships. Your partner will surely want you to isolate yourself from your closer ones and spend all of the time with him, which is absolutely not a acceptable. A true relationship is something which will make you shine your inner self and will force you into doing and achieving greater things in life rather than wasting your whole entire life. If your boyfriend is not okay with what you love to do, who you truly are, and most of all, refuses to see your true self then trust me, this is surely not the one you’re looking for.


      A jealous boyfriend can look cute and maybe you like your boyfriend being extremely over possessive, extra impulsive and highly over-protective about you, making you think that they love you so much that they can’t even control themselves. After all, it’s all love’s about or……is it? not quite. Jealousy’s good but not when your ‘bae’ gets extra jealous with someone you are just friends with. Has it ever happened, that your partner suspects you of having relationships with other guys? Or has he ever tried to look up for things against you, which will eventually make you look guilty, even when you’re totally fine with them? If yes, then this is something you should start to worry about. Because, without trust a relation is baseless and extremely irrelevant. It’s possible that maybe your boyfriend has dealt with some serious problems in the past that he’s afraid to trust someone or fall in love with someone again, just due to their previous experience. If that’s that, then go right away and talk it out with your partner. Communicating frequently and interacting with each other about personal and private issues can surely save your relationship. Maybe, you can fix your loved one back to normal, once again. But, on the other hand if you are unable to do so, then maybe it’s time for you to part your ways as quickly as possible, because jealousy can cause root problems and then a person can act impulsive towards you.