2020 SDBIF Scholarship Recipient Ruby Melchior

Sometimes, my life feels like a train ride with my brain as the conductor and my body as the wheels, struggling to catch up with the engine. Anybody else? When I was 15, my life was… different. That is all I am going to say because I do not like to dwell on the past. If everyone could focus on the future, we would spend less time and energy reflecting on memories. Do not get me wrong; precious memories such as those treasured ones with stories to share are priceless.

We should not gloss over our or our loved ones pain. Although sorrowful, regretful, and painful memories that we all wish we could forget are present, we cannot and should not forget them. We live with the choices we make and do not make because we are humans.

When I was 15, I had my “path of life” planned out according to the high standards set by myself, my family, my friends and my teachers. I would attend a four year university, hopefully to study music or something undecided. After college, I would get married and begin a life wherever I chose. Now I am 17, and I have a more detailed, but still basic, “map” of my future: attend Miramar Community College, transfer to a four year university, obtain a job in the field I am interested in, live in a city with convenient access to transportation and medical services, and hopefully make friends and colleagues along the way by continuing to improve my goal of social interaction.

Before and a little while after my brain injury, I had many of the same friends throughout the years of school. However, many of the people I had the privilege of meeting and being friends with separated to different schools and moved on with their lives because they did not know how to hang out with me anymore. I have become a liability to be around because someone has to watch over me.

The reason my friends and I might not know what to do together is because I am constantly changing. Even though it has been almost three years since my brain injury, I am still working hard on improving my balance, coordination, and multitasking skills because I aim to be able to walk independently. I had a ruptured AVM in my cerebellum on July 24, 2017. An AVM is an arteriovenous malformation and it is caused by an abnormal cluster of blood vessels anywhere in the body is uncommon for an AVM to rupture in the brain, so I was lucky to survive. A few months of intense physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapy helped me relearn how to sit up, move my hands, talk, eat, and become more independent.

Recovering from the injury took up most of my sophomore year of high school. I caught up with the work from all the classes I missed with the help of my teachers, family, and friends because I was determined to remain with my peers as we traveled through the years of school. This year, I would have graduated, but I do not know how that will happen with the current situation.

People do not know what to expect of me anymore because of my injury. I know this is because they don’t know how I feel or are being nice. I am working on advocating for myself and, in doing so, I am trying to prove that I am still the same person and capable of achieving the successes I had formerly set as goals. Yes, nobody can be perfect, but I am still trying to be the best I know I can be. My end goal is to become a helpful, contributing member of our society.

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