by Lola M. ‘21
Waverly student Lola M. ’21 penned this essay during her junior year. She will be attending Sarah Lawrence College in the fall.
It’s weird to have the most story-worthy thing that has happened to you in your life be told to you by other people. I was not really present for the most dramatic moments of my own life. I don’t have much to share other than a story that has only been told to me second hand. I can’t say for certain if it’s my story to claim, but I do know it affected people around me, of which I have no recollection.
I was born on July 4, 2002, at the Cedars Sinai hospital. My mom was pregnant with me for just over 25 weeks, so I was born about 15 weeks early. My birth was initiated when my mom fell off the staircase of an airplane. In the few weeks between her fall and my birth, my parents were informed that my chance of survival was slim to none. If, in a miraculous circumstance, I were to survive, my parents were told that I had a strong chance of being blind, unable to breathe on my own, or would have serious brain damage, along with countless other complications such as being unlikely to talk, to read, or to live on my own.
After I was born, the doctors wanted to give me a tracheotomy which would have kept me bed-ridden for years. I was on oxygen until the age of four and was fed through a feeding tube in my stomach. I was three years old when I first ate solid food. I recount this story in part to remind myself that I can survive more than I believe I am capable of. I know that the circumstances surrounding my birth resulted in my struggling with specific things such as processing speed, ability to focus, and sensory issues. I have been thinking lately that these parts of myself are all small in comparison to the rest of who I am.
Self-love, or at the very least, self-acceptance is something I have been trying to work on lately, and I am honestly still in the process of learning what I need to do in order to earn my own respect. I know that it is so much easier to say that we should be kinder to ourselves than it is to actually do it. Why should I bother being my own worst enemy, when I worked so hard to be alive in the first place?
All of us struggle with identity or body image or feeling like we are not worthy or smart. I often work myself into a spiral of negativity and stress over incredibly small details that will not matter in the future. Lately, I have been trying to learn and accept more about myself. I hope you all will do the same.
Each of us, statistically, had such a miniscule chance existing. I think it is important to take time to appreciate this. We shouldn’t waste time worrying about the little things. We really don’t have that much time to be alive anyway. How crazy is it that we all somehow managed to exist, here, now? I believe in believing in myself, and I believe you should too.