This I Believe

Megan - Oakwood, Illinois
Entered on September 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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A Hidden Path of My Own

I was seven years old when my family got some news that would soon change our lives forever. My siblings were diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease called, Muscular Dystrophy. Somehow I got “lucky” that it skipped me. Today I say lucky; however, back then I was “jealous” because I thought my mom paid more attention to the others and left me out. I remember one day in particular that I walked up to my mom and I cried, “Why can’t I have MD, why not me?” My mom told me that I was her special helper. Since I did not have the disease, I could help her with all the obstacles that were sure to come.

When school started so did my “wild child” lifestyle. I got bad grades and I never had any friends. I remained jealous of my siblings, because it seemed as if they could do no wrong and I got blamed for everything. For example, I understand now that I acted out because I wanted the attention that I thought I was not getting. I had no friends, my grades were slipping, and I was an unhappy child. My world was slowly falling apart and I had no control over it.

During my eighth grade year everything fell apart. I was frustrated that I could not achieve the success that my brothers and sister both had in school and in their personal lives. They were getting good grades and they never had many problems with friends. I so desperately wanted my mom’s praise, but I went about it in the wrong way. To get some attention I began dating a boy that everybody hated. He did drugs, smoked, drank, and was on the verge of going to jail. My plan did not work. I realized that the boy pushed me farther away from my friends and family. Eventually I lost my friends, my family, and more importantly myself.

To make things worse my stepfather took a job during my eighth grade year in a small town called Oakwood. My feelings of anger and isolation followed me to my new school, which made my freshman year a struggle for me. I became depressed and isolated. I see now that I never gave my new home a chance.

Slowly life began to change. Two boys befriended me during that summer following my freshman year. They made me realize that the only person who was stopping me from change was me. With their help and sheer determination I turned my life around by, working harder in my school work, making more friends, and changing the way I look at my life.

Now that I am a young adult, I realize the burdens my mother faced. I understand that my siblings needed care. Along the way, I learned that the victims of this atrocious disease, MD, are not the only members of a family it strikes. It strikes us all!