Isabel Mercado | Self-Care Blog for myHealth by Morgan Hausback

Why I Care

By | Blog | No Comments

Guest Blog Post (get out and vote)

The morning after I graduated from high school, I received a congratulatory call from my grandparents. My grandpa spoke first. In his ever so endearing voice that only made my heart hurt more at the fact that he wasn’t celebrating with me in person, he relayed these words to me: “you are a lady of the world now”. He asked me if I felt any different. I did not. The only difference from the me now and the me 16 hours ago was the diploma laying on my desk.

A few days later, I was finishing up my second re-watch of “The West Wing” (more on that later) and suddenly, his words had some meaning. What does it mean to be a “lady of the world”? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows or ever will know. But as I let the words sit with me, I gathered and decided on this much: being a lady of the world, being of the world, means to be present, active and aware.

Present in the fact that I have been experiencing history through this pandemic and that one day when history is retold, I can say I remember where I was, what I heard and how I was changed. Active in my future as a college student because there is no time like now to take control over my own life and act on what I want to do with it. And finally, aware that the future is dependent on me and my ability to speak out, be passionate and be involved in the changing of the world.

That is a pretty big responsibility I realize. But this is a responsibility that I am so honored to take on. And I think you should be just as ecstatic as me.

In about a month, I get to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. Just typing that phrase makes me giddy because it is something I have thought and read about enough to the point where I can honestly admit to excitement. Now, without getting politically deep or specific, I mention the vote. It is a basic constitutional right, and that alone is why I am excited for this chance. Let me repeat that. The vote is a basic constitutional right. There are so many ways in which a young person’s voice can be silenced. Despite lack of experience, lack of a following and lack of the legitimate power to induce change, by the age of 18, there is a clear way to contribute to change. That way is through the vote.

A year and a half ago, I had little to no interest in politics. Political agenda was not on my radar. While the events happening in the political climate made me react, I felt like nothing more than a bystander to the United States government.

It was then that my mom suggested I watch the show “The West Wing. A year and a half later, I have watched “The West Wing” twice through. My heart is warmed at simply thinking about Aaron Sorkin’s captivating drama. Perhaps, it is dramatic to say that this show is a necessity for everyone to watch. Although, my suggestion is that you should watch “The West Wing” if you are interested in politics or you wish to be inspired. The drama is not about the big picture items (though they do come up) but is about the constant work and effort being put into the United States to make it a better nation.

Highlighting a variety of characters in the White House, doing mostly side jobs and still ignoring thousands of other individuals with equally important tasks in the United States government, Aaron Sorkin instills in viewers the belief that good is possible. Good can be and will be achieved. But the task alone is never one man’s job. It is the work of young people, of educated people, of passionate people and more.

“The West Wing” taught me that when you feel obsolete, there are people working to make you feel worthy. While results can be daunting and take time, I choose to trust that work is being done. I choose to believe that the world never truly does stop to improve the lives of people.

We are members of a world that makes hopelessness far too easily accomplished. Far too many days, I find myself waking up feeling powerless, as if the entire world spins just to be out of my control. As the generation that has been cited as apathetic, I am beginning to realize this apathy is in fact a great weight that we do not know how to conquer or carry.

But what does this mean for you individually? You can be present, active and aware in your own community. Be mindful. Be compassionate. Believe that you are a huge role in this nation’s future. It all starts with one thought.

Young adults everywhere have the privilege to represent something bigger than themselves. According to National Public Radio (NPR), “Millennials and some members of Gen Z comprise 37% of eligible voters,” perpetuating this importance of voting. Instead of feeling despondent or finding flaws in politics to become furious about, you can do something. Educate yourselves about the candidates, and when November 3 rolls around, make a conscious decision that may seem miniscule but can be one small step towards change.

In the pilot of “The West Wing”, President Josiah Bartlet asks: “What’s next?”

What is next for us as college students? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few steps to take as November comes at us full speed:

  1. Register to vote!
  2. Educate yourself on the election and all the platforms.
  3. Finally, make an educated decision.

No one can tell you what to believe. Now is the time to start figuring it out for yourself. This is our future, after all. Today and every day pushing forward, I am a lady of the world. I am a citizen who has a responsibility to care and to work towards something greater than myself.

What are you today and every day? But more importantly, what do you stand for?

Morgan Hausback, student at St. Louis University

An English major and certified coffee addict who just wants to write her heart out.

myHealth Blog | Pivot in Pandemic

Pandemic Pivot Reflections as a College Freshman

By | Blog | No Comments

Guest Blog Post

Hello!

My name is Maya Chadda. I was chairwomen of myHealth’s Youth Advisory Board in 2019 and am currently a student at Boston University. At BU, I’m studying advertising and journalism. I am a member of the school’s improv team (Liquid Fun), the newspaper’s Layout Editor, and a radio DJ. With classes, clubs, new friends, old friends, roommates, and a new city, first semester was a constant juggling act. Come second semester and online classes, I had to quickly adapt to a loss of independence, minimal social contact, and a general lack of control as I now live with my parents back in Minnesota. Come summer, I lost my job as a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Warren. I’ve been at Warren for probably ten or more years either as a camper or counselor. This was a hard adjustment, but I threw myself into a job at Target and volunteering efforts related to the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis. 

So that’s a little on me, but what I really want to talk to you about is what it’s like for young people at this truly unique period and how to best act as a support system. 

Before I lost my job at Camp Warren, I remember my boss using the word “pivot” over Zoom calls, talking about how camp could operate this summer. At first, I was a little bothered by this term as it seemed like a desperate corporate attempt to promote optimism by the YMCA. However, as summer continued, I realized there is no better term to describe the day to day life of being a young person right now. We are constantly pivoting. Living with my parents has presented a lot of challenges for me personally. When I first moved in, I was of the mentality that my parents were my roommates. This, for obvious reasons, ended poorly. It’s hard to adjust and revert back to old dynamics. As I was pivoting, my parents allowed me the grace to mess up. We fought a lot and still do. They know that my overreactions are not a result of their actions but something completely different. They have faith that I will take back my words and apologize. I needed that and still do. Additionally, my parents and I made space to talk about what we are missing and mourning as a result of COVID-19, be it independence, hanging out with friends, or small things like high fives. Making space to talk about what we are or were missing made it easier for me, as a young person, to see my parents as equals and people experiencing the same things as me. I worked hard at setting boundaries. I told them sometimes after work or online classes, I’ll have my headphones on. That’s me signaling to them that I need some alone time. I’ve found that in all the pivoting, the two most important things for both a young person and adults (or parental units) are communication and grace. These past three months have been a huge adjustment for me, and as a result, my mental health has suffered. Through open communication and my parents’ acknowledgment of how hard this time has been for me, I’ve found ways to take care of myself, be it with daily affirmation cards, working out, routine, or having some assemblance of control through taking on small projects, like a garden. Part of my morning routine is reading an affirmation card from Louise Hay’s Powerful Thought Cards. The science is that by saying a positive affirmation out loud you reinforce the ideas through thought patterns. Speaking it into existence, if you will. My affirmation card for today read, “I am flexible and flowing. I am open to the new and changing. Every moment presents a wonderful new opportunity to become more of who I am. I flow with life easily and effortlessly.” I feel that this is more true now than ever. 

Maya, former Youth Advisory Board (YAB) member

Pride is a light in the dark | myHealth blog

Every Month is Pride Month

By | Blog | No Comments

Guest Blog Post

As pride month comes to an end, it is important to remember that pride does not stop here. As a queer nonbinary POC, pride is more than a month of commercialized orientation, it embodies the queer community’s solidarity. Especially in a time like this, having pride over one’s identity, supported and celebrated is needed more now, than ever.

No words can express how proud I am to be a Latine queer and how deeply the stories of other queer POC touch me. I strive to be a good example and uphold the values I hold dear. Being nonbinary can be difficult, particularly when trying to teach others to respect my identity. It is more than an identity, it is who I am. I am proud to be everything I am as it has made me who I am today. I am proud of who I have grown to be and look forward to who I will become.

Pride is not only for white people, something I have struggled with for the majority of my life. There is a tragic lack of representation for POC like me, one of the reasons I am writing this. I wish I had had someone like myself in the past to support and guide me through difficult times and insecurity, someone I could turn to for advice when I needed it. For this reason, I try to be accessible to anyone questioning their gender and/or orientation.

Pride is the light in the dark for many at this point in history, it is a time to make history. Look out for your queer guy, gals, and nonbinary pals; we could all use the love.

-Elli Ayala, myHealth Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Member

Happy Pride

By | Blog | No Comments

Pride is a time to celebrate the resilience, joy, love, and strength of LGBTQIA+ folx and community. The month’s festivities and bright colors give a bold identity to a proud community that has prospered even in the face of adversity. We celebrate pride in June to honor and commemorate the Stonewall Riots and the Black and Brown trans folks who fought back against oppression. This June we continue to witness the strength and resilience of communities coming together against racism, police brutality, transphobia, and harmful systems of oppression. There is a lot of work still to be done and we all must commit to intersectional, anti-racism work. Although this year may be different due to COVID-19, we hope you were able to find ways to celebrate, heal, learn, support and connect. 

Ways to Celebrate Pride During COVID (and anytime!)  

  • Take time to learn about LGBTQIA+ history, and leaders especially Black, Indigenous and other POC leaders
  • Plan a social distance picnic or outing with friends or family (following CDC recommendations)
  • Host a virtual dance party 
  • Express yourself in ways that feels best (baking, painting, dressing up, writing…)
  • Donate and/or find ways to support to LGBTQIA+ organizations
  • Virtual Pride Events
  • Practicing self-care (click here for tips)

We are resilient!

Resiliency has always been a defining trait of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States. New York City (and the rest of the country) had many laws discriminating against the LGBTQ+ community leading up to the Stonewall Riots. In the early 1960’s it was illegal to sell liquor to LGBTQ+ people. Inspired by Black civil rights sit-in protests, the community organized protests called ‘sip-ins’, and fought this discriminatory law and won. However, there were still many other laws that discriminated against the LGBTQ+ community. For example, Folx were arrested for violating the gender-appropriate clothing statute or showing affection towards someone of the same gender. The Stonewall Riots  were the result of the LGBTQ+ community coming together and protesting police raids on bars. Through work at community, state, and national levels there have been monumental changes to society and laws. Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled it is against federal law to fire an individual for being gay or transgender as it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As a society, we have made huge strides since Stonewall but still have significant work to do.

Looking for more? Check out these awesome organization and educators!

A few amazing BIPOC sexuality educators 

  • Ericka Hart
  • Jimanekia Eborn
  • Dalychia Saah & Rafaella Fiallo
  • Sonya Renee Taylor
  • Bianca Laureano
  • Tanya M Bass
  • Dr. Lexx Brown-James
  • Melissa Pintor Carnagey
My Senior Year During COVID | MyHealth Youth Advisory Board Member

My Senior Year During COVID

By | Blog | No Comments

Guest Blog Post

Senior Year Reflections

It’s so crazy to think how quickly this year turned out for the class of 2020. I never would have imagined that this would be how my senior year ends. Although the Coronavirus had been headlining news for a few months before schools shut down, it was impossible to believe that there would actually be a shut down. I just kept thinking, “stuff like this doesn’t happen”. And then, once we got the calls that school was off for an indefinite amount of time, I stayed positive and was sure we’d be back in a few weeks.

At first, it was kind of nice, especially since online school didn’t start for me until a few weeks after school shutdown. Although it was a little boring, it was nice to have so much time to myself. I still was positive and had high hopes that the school year would eventually be back on.

Once it became clear the school year, including graduation and prom, were off, I began to cycle through feelings of disappointment, anxiety and dread. Some days aren’t so bad, but it gets hard to not overthink everything when I’m stuck at home all day. All the news articles and stories of how people are being affected by the pandemic has me more worried about my future, jobs, healthcare and money more than ever.

In the beginning of school shutdowns, my biggest worries were about missing prom and graduation. Now, I don’t care about either of those as much. Sure, it would be nice to have them, but now that I know I’m never going back to my high school as a student, I just don’t feel like a high schooler anymore. My school, along with many others, are trying to plan to see if we could move our prom and graduation to dates later in the summer, but honestly, that seems a little far-fetched. Even if the events are able to be held later on, I doubt many of my classmates are even going to go. It would just be too weird, and most of us have already put high school behind us and have started to embrace being a college kid (and hoping that our college freshmen year doesn’t get delayed).

Mostly, I miss seeing my favorite teachers every day. I miss seeing the cafeteria staff and having small conversations while they grabbed by food. I miss seeing the murals students painted on our walls. I know I would have missed all these things regardless of my year being cut short or not, but the fact that I never really got to say goodbye makes everything worse. As a freshman, I always thought about how sad it must be as a senior to be attending your last pep-fest, or even the last test you take as a high schooler. Now, as a senior, I didn’t even get to know my last was my last.

Honestly, I still don’t think I’ve fully processed that my year is done. I know that there are a lot worse things that are happening to people and senior year getting cut short isn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly isn’t how I wanted high school to end.

Srihita, Youth Advisory Board member

 

Online appointment scheduling availableBook now