“Bravery is the audacity to be unhindered by failures and to walk with freedom, strength, and hope in the face of things unknown.
-Morgan Harper Nichols
I’m Aston Martinez. I just turned 26 in July, and I’m a writer for Habit Nest! I started with the team in June 2020 and I have loved every second of it already!
“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” You might recognize this quote often used in reference to the Butterfly Effect. So many things in life had to align to lead me to this moment.
It has been a wild ride, but I’m so thankful for it! Where to begin?!
Childhood - High School
I spent the majority of my childhood living in Conroe, Texas! I knew from early on that I had an obsession with WORDS. It all started with my Dad. I used to sit in his home office while he worked and listened to music. I loved the way the words could bring out different emotions, the ambiguity of some songs, and the inspiration behind it all.
When I wasn’t listening to music, I was reading books of all types. It wasn’t long before I started experimenting with words by writing short stories of my own. One year, I even got to attend a writing workshop with Caroline B. Cooney for winning a district-wide writing competition!
Right after finishing 9th grade, I got the news that we were moving to a tiny town 5 hours away. I went from a high school with 4,000 students to a place so small that it housed all grades K-12, with a graduating class only consisting of around 20 students. It was a culture shock, to say the least! BUT that’s where I met my husband, so I can’t complain!
Once I turned 18 and took charge of my health, I started seeking answers for a ton of unexplained issues with my body. It took years upon years, tests upon tests, but I finally got my answers. Here’s a quick breakdown of my diagnosed conditions:
- Narcolepsy, a severe sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness due to REM sleep intruding constantly, not allowing for restorative deep sleep. Being narcoleptic is said to be the equivalent of always being 24-72 hours sleep-deprived!
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes joint hypermobility and frequent dislocations. Since connective tissue is involved in every part of your body, EDS also often comes with numerous co-morbidities. At 26 years old, I already have osteoarthritis, bulging vertebral disks, and scoliosis.
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) occurs when your body fails to push blood from your lower body to your brain when standing. This makes the heart work extra hard! As a result, my heart rate is typically in the 120-200 range within seconds of standing up! I had to have a port implanted in my chest to get saline infusions so my heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
- Epilepsy was diagnosed only around a year ago and was the final push that got me to pursue writing. After having a seizure at my old job, I was carted off to the hospital and admitted. Tons of tests were done before an EEG confirmed epileptic brain waves. At the time, I worked an hour away from home with no public transportation available. Spending 2 hours a day commuting wasn’t safe anymore. I went through a couple of very rough months feeling as though my hopes at a normal life had evaporated.
Despite the struggles, I wouldn’t change it because I became part of something much bigger that desperately needed illuminated. Many people had no clue about these conditions, even to the extent that I’ve had doctors leave the room to look them up! After realizing that I wouldn’t have the diagnoses and care that I have if I hadn’t advocated for myself, I started writing as a contributor on The Mighty. I was determined to be a voice for others with rare chronic illnesses.
Becoming A Writer
Once I had lost my job and ability to drive, I honestly moped for a while. I had no clue what direction to go. I couldn’t drive and medical appointments demanded so much of my time. My passion for writing was still there, but I kept thinking, “I’m nowhere NEAR good enough to make a living by writing!”
One night, while having trouble falling asleep, I got this weird urge to look back at one of my most popular articles on The Mighty. I scrolled down to the comments and started reading. It wasn’t long before I had burst into tears from all the comments from people telling me how understood they finally felt. By the time the sun was peeking in, I had carved out a workspace and jumped on some freelance writing platforms.
I spent a huge amount of time on writing jobs making very little, or sometimes nothing at all. I pulled countless all-nighters. I wrote about nearly every subject out there. If I didn’t know anything about the topic, I spent a ton of time learning until I did. There were days I felt like giving up because it seemed pointless, but my husband refused to let me give up (and for that, I am so very lucky!)
When I applied at Habit Nest, I was feeling really down but determined to keep trying. I almost didn’t even finish the application because I was worried that I wasn’t going to make it further as a writer than I already had. But there was that same weird urge again, pushing me to continue. What could it hurt? I heard from one of the co-founders, Ari, later that same day! And the rest, as they say, is history!
- I have 3 kids! My son, Aiden, is almost 8. My daughters Audrey and Allison are 5 and 4, respectively.
- I met my husband, Paul, on the school bus when I was 15 and he was 17!
- My absolute favorite band is Starset (seriously, go check them out if you like rock music!)
- My favorite book is Prox Transmissions by Dustin Bates
- Horror movies are the BEST
- I’m a former personal trainer!
- I’m also a dog mom to Loki, who is the biggest baby and has mastered the art of puppy dog eyes.
- I’m also a huge gamer and have an addiction to platinum trophies.