I knew talking about volleyball or being a girl wouldn't get me the title so I went with trials and tribulations. I truly think one of the hardest issues teenagers and young adults face is learning to define themselves. Every move we/they is scrutinized by friends or parents and nobody is 100% confident of who they are. We care about what others say and think about us..we want to all "fit in". So I decided that my platform needed to be about learning to define ourselves and not letting other people or certain situations do so.
When I had my accident, I realized early on that I had a choice to be upset about everything that happened and think "woe is me", or I could look at the positive aspects, put a smile on my face and move on with my life. It was an easy decision for me and I truly think that having this positive attitude has helped me to get where I am today. I was bound and determined to not let my chair or my injury define me as a person.
During my on-stage speech, I mentioned that with every situation we face in life, we have choices and it is those choices that can define who we are as people. Being a teenager and a young adult, these choices are often hard to make because of that constant desire to fit in as well as the influence of our peers. When someone is ridiculed for having blue hair, being overweight, their family dynamic, or skipping out on going to the club every night (just to name some random situations) - we begin to perhaps think that maybe we are exactly what our peers are saying.
The truth is..we're usually not that person. It is our own responsibility to choose how these people, their actions and words, or the situation, itself, affect us. We are the ones responsible our character and provide the facts of our lives, not Sally Jo down the street.
So now that you know a little bit about my platform, I must say whether you're 13 or 30, remember to always Define Yourself - Don't Let Others Do it for You!