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Who Has Had the Greatest Influence on My Life?

Who Has Had the Greatest Influence on My Life?


Editor Note: Megan’s article was written as an assignment for her high school English class when she was 16. 

 Who has had the greatest impact on my life? It is a question that I have asked myself time and time again. I have come to realize the person who has most affected me is someone very special. She is not an ordinary girl; she is crazy and fun. She is neither my best friend nor my sister, but then again she knows everything about me. Her life experiences and struggles weakened her at one point, but she got back up, dusted herself off and tried again. The person who has had the greatest influence on me is Megan Regina Gallagher; age sixteen and five foot one, with brown eyes and brown hair.

 On the outside, I look like many other teenage girls. The extraordinary circumstances that make up my life have had a profound influence on me. My journey as Megan Regina Gallagher has helped me develop into the woman I am.
 Being a child who always seemed to fall and hurt her knees never rectified my wild, rambunctious side. Of course, I would run to my mother and cry like most kids do when they get a boo-boo. My mother always had special way of making my boo-boos feel better, as most mothers do. However, there was one wound that my mother could not fix, and that came from within my body. It is a wound that will remain with me for the rest of my life; it is a disease called alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly treats its hair follicles as foreign tissue and suppresses or stops the hair growth. When I was old enough to realize that I was not like everyone else, alopecia areata took a big toll on my emotional state.

 In my grade school years, my hair was very thin and I worried constantly. I was obsessed about the way I looked, making sure that every bald spot on my head was covered. After spending hours concentrating on what my hair looked like, I was still not content with my appearance. In school, I concentrated on others, looking around to see if anyone was starring at me, rather that focusing on my schoolwork. Deep down inside, I knew I was the only one who understood the disease that lived inside of me. There were times when I could not disguise my bald spots, and I found myself being starred at by fellow classmates. I thought my shattered soul would never be healed. Although this time in my life damaged my self-esteem, my mother always seemed to be there.

 The relationship my mother and I have is genuine. It hurt my mother to see me unhappy and lifeless. And I could relate to her because she felt my pain. My mother encouraged me by always telling me how beautiful I was, by hugging me when I needed it most, and most of all by loving me for who I was.

 My mother always advised me to be more open about my situation to others, thinking it would boost my confidence. I took on her challenge and soon realized she was right. During one stressful situation, my mom encouraged me to come out and let my soccer team know about my illness. I agreed to be honest and open about it. After that day, I started to feel more and more self-assured. Talking about and acknowledging my disease to people relieved me of my burden. I was able to concentrate on my game, my schoolwork, and the important things I once valued.

 Oftentimes I wonder, why do I have alopecia areata? As I travel through this life, I am learning that this disease has helped me. As time passes, I learn that this illness is not meant to destroy me but to shape me into a stronger, more compassionate woman. I am aware that I will have highs and lows surrounding my disorder, but I know I will surpass the negativism and I will flourish. I will use my past experiences as a guide to help me overcome hurdles.

 The person who has had the greatest influence on me is me, Megan Regina Gallagher, age sixteen and five foot one, with brown eyes and brown hair.


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