I have always held a special fondness for the month of April, aside from enjoying the beautiful weather and the blossoming of the flowers I am honored to introduce Tamara Mena. April’s I am BOLD I RISE ambassador. I was immediately moved by Tamara’s tenacity to turn her pain into her purpose. I wanted to know her story and had no doubt in my mind that her path and mine were crossed for a purpose greater than either of us could have imagined. As we got to know each other I realized that despite having walked different paths our victories were undeniably similar; we are both survivors and believers that nothing happens “just because,” God has a divine plan for each of us.
Tamara has an amazing soul and is always willing to help anyone in any way she can. She is as beautiful inside as she is outside, making her talents as a motivational speaker, model, and brand ambassador a gem in the industry. A survivor of a spinal cord injury from a tragic car accident in which her then boyfriend passed away in; she is one of the strongest women I have ever met.
I admire her transparency and her straight- forwardness in not sugar coating any part of her story. She shared her feelings of fear and doubts about never being able to recover from the loss and heartbreak. Her only comfort came through reading letters he had written to her and through looking at photographs they had taken together. She went on saying, “I felt so useless because my family had to do everything for me. I was just recovering and couldn't bathe or do anything on my own.”
Three months prior to the accident she and her boyfriend had moved to San Diego to begin their new phase in life together. They had many hopes and aspirations, never once thinking that death would change her life forever. Tamara's life changed in an instant and she simply did not prepare herself for the new life that awaited. Her road to recovering was not easy as she was left immobile and unable to speak. In that moment, she had no idea how her story would give hope to many and impact many lives.
Tamara saw this as her second chance in life. Although this was not the life she had envisioned she understood there was a deeper purpose. She knows that without a doubt she pulled through because of her faith in God and the love and support of her family and friends. She began to understand “that you decide what to make of your circumstances, regardless of what's happened to you.” She encourages everyone to not allow whatever they have faced to define them. Today she chooses to be a survivor and live her life as a victor rather that a victim.
The biggest takeaway that I got from her courageous story is that "you must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you" -John Campbell. So many times things don't happen when and how we expect. It is important to understand that God is in control, his plan is always much bigger than what our little minds can conceive. You don't have to know exactly what your journey will be or the steps that will bring you to your dream, just be open to the process, be open to the path. Seize the opportunities God presents to you, even if they don't seem directly related to your dream.