Chase your dreams and Follow your heart

Slidell, United States

I am an 18 year old sophomore at SELU whose dream is to pursue medical school and work in pediatrics. My favorite color is purple, and I love animals:)


An Alliance of Strength

Feb 24, 2019 5 years ago

“Wake up. Come on wake up,” the voice pleaded, sounding desperate and afraid, as if something was terribly wrong but what? I peeled my eyes open and blinked a few times, only to realize I was staring at the sterile, white walls of Children's Hospital, and no one was calling me at all. It was only a dream, one I have become quite familiar with since I fainted on the softball field, and my life was transformed forever. “Come on Mariah, get up” insisted my mom. “Let's go see what activities are happening downstairs.” At that moment, I needed to tell her everything, yet with one glance into her hopeful eyes, everything I longed to admit refused to spill out from my tightly pursed lips. How was I supposed to reveal to my mother, the one person capable of overlooking my many flaws, that my only desire was to stare at my reflection and ask myself “why?” Why was my skin subject to being used as a pin cushion, and why was I poked and prodded like a lab rat? Why did no one know why my once thick locks were becoming thinner by the day, or why my clothes were beginning to hang off of my skeleton like frame? Why were the lights once present in my eyes now overshadowed by dark circles, leaving me blind- blind to life before I was given a colonoscopy at the age of just fourteen and forced to accept what my diagnosis of Crohn's Disease might mean. Possibilities of future surgeries and a colostomy bag plagued my dreams. I knew these circumstances did not make me inadequate or unworthy; however, when I thought of myself, happiness no longer seemed to be in the realm of possibility. I looked up at my mom as her eyes scanned my face, her facial features softened into a small smile. “Come on, you can use a distraction.” As defeat set in, I sighed, slid from beneath the pristine, white sheets, and followed my mom to the elevator and into the conference room, where I lifted my gaze from the floor. My eyes began to glisten with tears as my heart broke in two at the sight of children barely four feet tall with amputated limbs and oxygen masks over their faces. I.V posts were stationed by their sides, needles protruding from their delicate arms and hands. Their bodies appeared to be crying for help, yet their laughter rang out as a beacon of hope I had yet to discover within myself. Amazed, I sat next to a little girl who I assumed to be as young as six years old. Her pale, fragile frame was being consumed by a wheelchair, and her bandaged head hung to the side weakly, while her smile radiated the light of a hundred suns. I was told her name was Laney, and she had cancer. More importantly, however, I was told she loved to sing and draw. She loved animals and playing with Barbie dolls. I was told that she had a family who adored her, and although she may have had cancer, cancer did not define her. Due to this, I learned that a person's happiness is not dictated by his/her circumstances or surroundings; it is dictated by one's perception of life as well as how he/she views him/herself. A person's happiness is dictated by whether he/she has the strength to accept the circumstances he/she has been given. Laney, as well as every other miracle in that room, gave me the strength to recognize I am me; I am not a disease but a person with the right to be happy. With that knowledge, I had to smile. I soon realized, however, that this was only the beginning of an alliance of strength formed from a line of individuals prospering off of the courage of those before them. My grandmother, who has always been a strong, vibrant, and independent person, slowly began to waste away. Her physique became more fragile every passing day, and the pain she was in became more evident upon her face. We should not have been surprised when the results came back, diagnosing her with stage four rectal cancer. For a while the monster appeared to be winning the fight, so I held my grandmother in my arms, and for the first time in ages, I prayed. She held me even tighter then, and with tears streaming down her face, she said “give me some of your strength sweetheart. Because of you, I know what strength looks like, and that is the kind of strength I want to continue to fight with.” Needless to say, I was stunned by her admission. I never imagined I could have this sort of impact on anyone, especially on someone as strong-willed as my grandmother. This, I believe, is no coincidence. Coincidences only reside in the minds of those who believe their life is out of their control. My struggles in the dark placed me in the midst of those who forced me to see the light, allowing me to become a source of strength to those who have temporarily lost their way. There are an endless amount of people in which I can impact; although this thought is overwhelming, I realize my life is no longer solely my own. Now, my life belongs to those who influence me and those I wish to someday influence as well.

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