Athlete Spotlight: Ariona Zappaunbulso
OCB Fam, we have a special athlete spotlight today, this was written while Ariona was in the hospital and was unable to speak. Very powerful and moving first hand account of her fitness journey and her drive to succeed. Check her page out and send some love! @its_zapp
Let’s go back to high school. The land of hormones, trials of teenage relationships and arguing over who the coolest teacher was. Throw me in the mix. I am a 17-year-old average band kid. yeah you could say I hung out with the cool kids but when you feel like an outcast why does that matter. I needed direction however for some reason I couldn’t find it. I did however find the military. yes a 17-year-old female getting ready to sign away her life to the Air Force upon graduation at 18 years old. That was me. I made it through high school unseen, but stick me in Boot Camp everyone knew my name. I was a role model.I was an outcast that once given direction learned how to lead the pack. I was taken out of my comfort zone and was ultimately given the opportunity to rise up from the ground. I never thought leading individuals that lacked discipline like that high school me would instill so much pride and confidence in my once big-ego, low intellectual self.
However let’s leave the Active-duty Air Force life of roaring F-16s and reveille at 6 AM.Go ahead and throw an 18-year-old military leader back into the civilian world. What do you get? You get someone that surpasses expectations. You get an individual that applies for a management position at UPS at 19. Did I mention I got the job. You get someone devoted to their family, A supervisor devoted to learning a new craft, a female that once faded in to the crowd. Not anymore.
Now let’s place me at what I thought was the top of my game. I have a stable job, a reserve position in the military, I’m in school and my life seems to be going perfectly. Now enters the driver of a brand-new Jeep grand Cherokee 4 x 4. The owner of the same 4 x 4 that pushed me through a red light and took away everything that I had. When someone says everything that’s a strong word. Maybe you’re unclear what I lost. Head injuries left me speechless. Imagine taking away communication skills from a leader or from a motivational speaker what are you left with? I had Back injuries that left me partially paralyzed limping with a cane. Take a top-level athlete and cut off his legs what do you have? You have someone torn of the skills they acquired. You have an individual left with no more drive. You have a 20-year-old female whose world came crashing down from the top of the Empire State building.
Now that’s what you have when you throw an individual that isn’t me into that situation. I’m going to tell you what you have when you put me in that situation. You have a doctor that tells me to use a cane that I throw back at him as I walk away. You have a nueropsychologist that tells me I cannot return to school because of head injuries as I loginto an online class. You have a now 21-year-old strong woman devoted to showing the world that being your own hero is something you surpass not reach. The negativity became my driving force, the reason I woke up out of bed every morning and drug my partially paralyzed legs on the ground until I could stand correction, wobble on my feet.
You put me in the face of adversity. I spit on adversity as I started my own company sponsoring athletes and individuals on a journey to better themselves. Life built walls in front of me as I tried to rebuild myself. I knocked them down with the legs I’m not supposed to be able to walk on. Fate handed me a chance. I wasn’t knocked down for it to be my end or my downfall. I was just getting started. I hope you saw my fall because my rise is going to be so much greater. I want every individual 16 years old to 50 years old to be faced with adversity and tell me that something is not possible. I don’t believe in fear. I don’t believe in settling. I don’t believe in anything other then my own thoughts, leading and continuing to build my own legacy. I am the voice. I started the movement. I am my own hero.