Hey APC, my name is Tiffany Jacome and I am a senior at an all-girls school in NYC. I am Latina, born and raised in Ecuador, having come to America to pursue a future for myself. I am 18 and if my life could be described in one quote, it would be: what is said can be done. If you say you can’t do it, then you’re most likely right.
In this piece, I could talk about all the struggles I’ve gone through as a teenager. The heartbreaks, lost friends, insecurities, fears and more, however, if we went into that, I’d never stop writing. Instead, I’d rather share with you what I’ve learned from these experiences.
I have always been in love with soccer, having played for my school’s team for 4 straight years. This all came to an end when I was diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease, which means I have low levels of clotting protein in my blood. I thought my life would be over. My coach told me I could never play again and I was absolutely heartbroken. Not only did I feel that my life as I knew it was being torn apart, but I felt like a piece of my Hispanic culture had been lost for soccer and my roots had always been connected to me.
I thought of all the memories I built with my teammates, who at this point felt like family. I didn’t want to let them down.
I always have been one to consider the feelings of others over my own. Thinking back, I never really stopped to consider how I felt about the whole situation, just how my inability to play, would impact those that I loved.
During this time, I went through a period of deep self-reflection. It was then that I had to figure out who I was without soccer. Though my ethnicity tells a story about who I am to those around me, I realized that I am the one who truly writes the narrative. I can be who I want to be, free of labels or restrictions! And most importantly, my illness does not define me.
I am proud to say that my illness has not got the best of me, and instead had made me change for the better. Today, I am a rising high school senior, a writer, a soccer player, a YouTuber, and a speaker. I now see all my experiences, whether good or bad, as lessons to be learned and as opportunities to grow. Despite it all, I strong, courageous, and proud to be me.