People become who they are by simply living; indeed, a person could not be who they are without the experiences that they have gone through. In many cases, certain individuals are able to pinpoint the exact moment in time, the specific event, that changed something about them. They can explain how each little detail makes up each new detail of who they are now; others, however, feel that their entire being is comprised of only a few major events that changed things for them.
The biggest change for me, the event that altered my life entirely, was when my birth mother abandoned me. While this was the most devastating time of my life, bringing with it numerous negative impacts and pain and confusion that simply would not go away, there was still the positive aspects that enabled me to keep on trekking life. The most positive of these was when my biological grandparents adopted me and continued to raise me. My mother may have left me, but I still had family that was eager and more than willing to keep me as if I were their own child.
I could not have been blessed with a more wonderful family, even if I had picked them out myself. My grandparents have been my backbone, keeping me strong and continuously reminding me of how loved I was; they loved me unconditionally, protected me, and have supported me in everything that I have wanted to do. It amazes me how something so negative - my mother's abandonment - could have produced something that is beyond wonderful, which is my having my grandparents.
One of the major things in my life that has allowed me to realize how fortunate I am to have my grandparents is also a hobby of mine that I have had since I was five. Since I was really young, I have been riding and competing Paso Fino horses. The first and foremost reason why I have been doing this were because I was, and still am, very passionate about horses and every aspect to them, such as riding, raising, and competing them.
I first started riding and competing because my parents thought it would be best in helping me to develop self-discipline and self-confidence. It was through this that I became a stronger, more positive person, which spread into every aspect of my life, not just with my involvement with horses. In everything I do, I have learned to do my best, and to my all into it. I stopped doubting my abilities and spent time improving myself, making myself a better, more positive person.
My parents also felt that my racing and competing would help me learn to deal with people of different ethnic groups, which would later come in handy when I began to travel to different countries to compete. It was because of this that I became more culturally aware and more tolerable towards other ethnic groups; I also began to appreciate the diversity that this world had to offer, and how many of us could be brought together by something that we shared in common, something that we loved - in my case, it was competing for horses. Suddenly, people that had remarkable differences from me weren't as different as I had thought.
Competing horses helped to take my mind off of the devastation that my mother's abandonment had left me in. This is how I am able to compare my passion and love of horses with the love that my grandparents have for me - it is because of both of them that I am a strong, positive, and passionate person. My grandparents' love for me has allowed me to become more loving and open towards the things that I do love and appreciate.
It is these experiences in my life that have made me the person that I am today. I could not be who I am without the hardships and heartbreak, the lessons and trials.
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