Tamara Mena, a survivor, positivist, enthusiast and optimistic at heart. This is my story:

I was born and raised in Mexico, an only child raised by a single mother. I lived a fairly “normal” childhood full of joyous moments, occasional luxuries, and wonderful adventures. I was an active child, and I enjoyed exploring the world around me. When I was thirteen, my mother, in search of a better life for me, realized I would have greater educational opportunities by moving to the U.S. and joined her extended family in Northern California.

Six years ago, I was involved in a car accident that changed my life. I  was on top of the world. I had just moved down to the city of my dreams, San Diego; I was working, going to school full-time, and pursuing my passion of modeling.

On a dark Saturday night, my boyfriend, some of our friends and I, took a taxi to Rosarito Beach, Mexico. We had hoped for a fun night, but we never made it t our destination. We struck a horse standing in the middle of the road. The horse fell on top of the car and crushed the left side of the roof all the way down to seat level, leaving me paralyzed from mid-chest down. My boyfriend, Patrick, and the taxi driver were killed instantly. Patrick pushed me down to protect me, and thanks to God and life, I have a second chance.

The horse fell on top of my back, crushed my spine and severed my spinal cord, fractured my ribs, facial bones, clavicle, scapula, and collapsed my lungs.

The tracheotomy, which helped me breathe and survive, prevented me from speaking for two months. I did not have a voice- I could only move my mouth. I went from being fully independent and on top of the world to feeling as dependant as a baby.

Today I have a voice. That is the reason why I now cherish any opportunity to express myself, share my story, and help others believe in themselves. I always viewed myself as a survivor not a victim of circumstance. I am grateful for everything I had before my accident. I have decided to move forward in life, and I am determined to make it count!

When we face tragedies, as it’s part of life, we have the ability to see ourselves either as survivors or victims. Regardless of whether we face something horrific or less so, we all can come to this realization and decide how to view ourselves. However, when we face a challenge or a hardship, this decision is crucial. Whether life is “fair” or not or regardless of how tragic or negative a situation might be, we have the power to heal.

Life is what we make of it, and we have the power to do ANYTHING. Yes, anything we desire in life. Years ago, before my accident, I wish I had in fact believed this. I wish someone had helped me to truly believe in myself and in the great opportunities that we can all achieve. This is why today, I want YOU to know and believe with ME that possibilities are endless, truly endless… We just have to BELIEVE IT! More to come.