Not an Olympian

I always imagined my aspirations as tangible. I always imagined the people I socialized with as my “friends”. I always imagined that I had a stronger support system. Yet, I soon realized that life is not simple; dreams are either impossible or difficult to achieve; people, regardless of your relationship, only support you when life is easy, and the place I called home was not welcoming.

Since I was six years old, I wanted to be an Olympic foil fencer. I practiced at the Olympic fencing club in San Francisco four days a week and I also traveled
internationally competing for the U.S. Team. This dream, however, was set back by an ankle injury I incurred at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. I went through physically therapy immediately and I began fencing. At the beginning of the season I was ranked number one in the nation but at the end I was no longer on the U.S. team and my dream was just joke.

Just like my dream, the people I surrounded myself, other athletes on the U.S. team, began to disappear; I considered these people my friends but I eventually realized that these “friends” were just competitors; as soon as I dropped from first place, my “friends” vanished because they no longer saw me as a threat and they believed that I could not help them further their skills any longer. I felt betrayed; I felt lost; I was devastated.

While my fencing “friends” left me and my career as future Olympian stagnated, I tried to strive and continue but my quality of life deteriorated and continued to worsen. My mother no longer continued to support me in my fencing or studies; vocally she would express her disappointment: threatening to leave me and return to her country; she even told me, “She did not see me as her son.” Her words dehumanized me; I no longer longed for success; I accepted my mother’s pessimistic view of me.

Reality seemed bleak and depression overwhelmed me.

My father meanwhile, who I kept at a distance, was viewing my self-destruction and could not bare it. One day after an argument with my mother he approached me and said, “your situation may be difficult but there are always people enduring harder problems than you, yet, they still manage further themselves because they find prosperity within their disparity.” He helped me regain my confidence, discover a solution to my problems, and fix my relationship with my mother with this key statement. I realized that I needed to re-invent myself and approach life with a different outlook. Soon after, during summer, my dad sent me to a program abroad where I was able to re-establish my passions in life.

While traveling, I met others with similar interests, problems, and concerns. I discovered true friendship by learning that a friend is a person who takes care of you when you are sick, happy, or even difficult to be around.

Upon returning a new flame was ignited within me that helped me to improve my work ethic in fencing; I worked on my weakness and improved, yet again, with time; however the greatest improvement in my life did not involve friendship or fencing but my relationship with my mother.

I first approached my mother with a menial conversation that led to her expressing her disappointment but upon further investigation and conversation I realized the true reason for her despair; she was disappointed in the fact that I was capable of so much but I did not achieve; she felt responsible for my follies during the year; she believed that I was squandering my opportunities. All of my mother’s concerns stemmed from her love for me and her life as native of underdeveloped country. These trials expressed through my difficulties as well as others taught me how to cope with my problems.