This I Believe – I Believe in Myself

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.