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When I was 15, I fell in love with a boy who self-harmed. I spent countless nights staying up with him to make sure he was OK. I thought I was helping, but he attempted suicide. We broke up but remained friends. He got better. Flash forward six years, and he is a successful business man living in Hawaii.
Lesson learned: You can’t save people; they have to do it themselves.
When I was 17, I fell in love with the star athlete of my school. He was my everything. There wasn’t a minute in the day we weren’t talking or with each other. I thought I was going to marry him. Flash forward two years from then and he broke up with me while my mom was on her deathbed because “it was too hard for him.” He began to lie and spread rumors about me. I was heartbroken. I never wanted to fall in love again.
Lesson learned: When things get tough, only people who truly love you will stick around.
Other lesson learned: He was an ass.
When I was 19, my mom began to lose her four-year battle with cancer. I was her primary caregiver while she was in hospice, and I had to see things no child should ever have to see their parents go through. I spent the majority of my senior year of high school in the hospital with her. She had to go to my graduation in a hospital bed. I asked her if she cared what people thought about her in such a bad condition. To which she replied, “I do not give a f*** and neither should you.” Since then, I never have about irrelevant stuff. On July 30, 2015, she got called home. I lost my best friend.
One of the lessons I learned: Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you.
When I was 19, my best friend at the time was more concerned about telling me about her boyfriend than asking if I was okay about my mom passing away. When I started to distance myself from her, she began to play victim and told everyone I was a horrible person. I blocked every form of communication I had with her.
Lesson learned: It’s a necessity to remove toxic people, even close friends, from your life.
When I was 19, I began struggling with clinical depression. It affected my schoolwork and one semester I received at 1.0. I thought I was going to drop out of school because I thought I was never going to make it. During this time, I also developed a severe eating disorder. I would not eat for days and then I would binge. I got a gym membership and began eating healthy food. I am now at peace with my body. That next semester I received a 4.0.
Lesson learned: It’s surprising what can be done when you do not give up.
I am now almost 21 years old. I am engaged to a man who is my absolute best friend. I have an extended family within his and have received nothing but love and support from them. I have an amazing group of friends surrounding me. My immediate family and I are closer than ever. I have found my faith. My finances are good. School is almost over. Most importantly, I am finally at peace with myself and am happy.
I struggle sometimes. I have bad days. But when I do, I look back at how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go.
You should, too.
I remember that the bad times will only bring forth new lessons.
And that the good times will make everything worth while.
It gets better.