“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the person you were intended to be-Oprah Winfrey
Have you ever noticed how your taste buds change overtime? The other day, I had a sudden craving for a bagel, toasted and warm, smothered in cream cheese. (yum!) Probably super unhealthy but I don’t care. So the next morning, I gave into my craving and enjoyed every second of it. But the funny thing is, growing up, bagels were a food I avoided. There was just something about them that was odd. My first memory of bagels was being sick in the hospital and having breakfast delivered to me everyday. And everyday, there would be a bagel on the tray, to which I would point at the bagel, telling my mom she could eat it. Now, I think back on that memory and wonder why I did that. Instead, I chose to eat Rice Krispies which somehow always ended up in the bed.
As I ate my delicious bagel, it made me think, it’s interesting how we all evolve and when we step outside of our comfort zone, we learn things about ourselves that we didn’t know before.
With the Olympics approaching, I’ve been trying to catch up on gymnastics lately. Ever since I can remember, gymnastics has been one of my favorite sports and a passion of mine. At a young age, I fell in love with the beauty of the sport and immediately talked my mom into enrolling me into classes. I loved every second of gymnastics and the constant dedication and hardwork the sport demands. But shortly after I started, my doctors discovered brain cancer and I had to quit gymnastics because the constant tumbling wasn’t good for my head.
So fast-forward a couple years later, I had undergone two brain surgeries, was overdosed with radiation, becoming physically disabled to the point where I could barely do anything on my own, and was told by doctors I would die at 8 years old. So it was at that point, when I literally couldn’t stand, that I decided to fight back. With the help of therapy, I retaught myself to walk and slowly regained the motor functions that had been taken from me. I still had a love for gymnastics but returning to the sport seemed like a ridiculous and distant idea.
By the time I was 11 years old, therapy had become repetitive and although it was helpful, it wasn’t producing many results. That ridiculous thought started to become a reality and next thing you know, I was signing up for private lessons through my old gym. To everyone around me, it seemed like a crazy idea but it was something I wanted to prove to myself that I could do despite barely being able to walk and all the other disabilities I dealt with. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
At first, it was pretty difficult. I was used to doing physical therapy with those similar to me, so working around able-bodied gymnasts was pretty intimidating, They would stare at me and often I wished I wasn’t disabled. But my coaches never allowed me to feel sorry for myself or as though I was any different from their other gymnasts. They modified certain skills based on my disabilities and focused on strengthening muscles that physical therapy had not been able to do.My coaches and I also worked on everyday things, such as learning how to fall without getting hurt or better yet, not falling at all.
And gymnastics did not only improve me physically but it also gave me confidence, that I could be an athlete despite my disabilities; that I could step outside of my box and succeed. During the time I did gymnastics, not only did my walking and balance improve but I also became more comfortable in who I am as a person.
Now eating bagels and gymnastics seem like they have no relation at all but my point is that sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zone or try something new in order to continue to grow as a person. In the case of bagels, I’m so glad my taste buds evolved and that I mustered up the courage to give bagels a try. I am also thankful that I never let negative opinions get to me or my own fears and instead followed my heart, returning to the sport I love. Gymnastics helped shape me into the person I am today.
Stepping outside of your box can be scary but you never know what you’ll discover or what you’ll learn about yourself if you dont try.
“Change can be scary but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving, and progressing”-Mandy Hale