Nine Life Events that Have Shaped Me into the Person I Am Today

“We shape ourself to fit this world and by this world are shaped again.”

-unknown

Nature vs. Nurture.

One can say that a person’s traits are predetermined by genetic inheritance and other biological factors. However, I feel experiences and events shape a person’s traits through learned behaviors. Each of us have experienced monumental life events that have provoked change of being. As I reflect on my life so far, I find myself reminiscing of each life event that has led me to this very moment. Here are nine (9) life events that have shaped me into the person I am today:

1. My mother suffering a stroke and becoming paralyzed on her left side. Age 8

This was the first traumatic event that I can remember experiencing. A lot of my inner child pain stems from this event. My mother was in the hospital for almost 2 months, bouncing from MRIs and CT scans to physical therapy sessions. She suffered from seizures. She could no longer walk without the assistance of a leg brace and cane. She could no longer move her fingers. She was left-handed and had to relearn how to write with her right hand. She even underwent brain surgery. It was hard being so young watching all of this unfold and not fully understanding what was taking place. I was watching my mother morph into someone I did not know. At the time, my mother was only 35 years old. At my current age of 32, I can only imagine how difficult this transition must have been on her, especially mentally.  

2. Moving from Bronx, NY to Blue Springs, MO. Age 9

Go to Google. Pull up a picture of Bronx, NY. Pull up another picture of Blue Springs, MO. Now put them side by side and compare them. It’s like comparing apples to pizza. They’re that different! Moving from a huge city to a quiet, suburban town was quite the culture shock, especially when I was the only Puerto Rican in my school and regularly took an hour car ride with my parents to Kansas City, just so we could get some Goya products and Adobo. But moving here also showed me that there was so much more than the Bronx and the rest of the boroughs. Missouri was beautiful through the seasons, especially autumn. Trees lined the streets with shades of orange, red, and yellow. I was surrounded by nature and at that young age of 9, I realized how much it brought me peace.

3. Meeting my ex-best friend. Age 10

We were both from NY and moved to Tampa, FL around the same time. We clicked from Day 1 and our friendship lasted 20 years, up until a year ago. She was my favorite person to laugh with. We spoke every single day. Most of my life events included her by my side. My friendship with her taught me that blood is not always thicker than water. That your friends can become your family too. And although we no longer speak, I am grateful to have so many memories, good and bad, with her.

4. My mother leaving my father and I. Age 13

I have not completely sorted out my feelings about this. Naturally, being a teenage girl and having my mother walk out on us, I was distraught. My abandonment issues originate from this very life event. I rather not delve too much into the details because my intent is not to speak poorly about my mother. But when she left, I lost my mother’s side of the family. Family that had been so involved in my life were just…gone. Poof. A whole magic trick. This life event conditioned me to be distrustful, resentful, and feeling unworthy for most of my adolescence and young adulthood…I’m working on it now.

5. Graduating from college with my Bachelor’s Degree. Age 25

I would consider this my greatest accomplishment because of how much it took to achieve this! When I started community college at the age of 18, I didn’t take my education seriously. I would skip class and blow my financial aid money on shopping and eating out at restaurants. I failed my first year of college, lost my financial aid, and was threatened to be expelled. Then as I began to recover by getting better grades, I made the decision that I wanted to move back to NY. That move halted college altogether. When I moved back to Tampa at age 20, I immediately enrolled myself back into college. I took every semester including summer and winter intermission. I rode two-hour bus rides back and forth to school and my job. I transferred to a university and took every semester there as well. Juggling school full-time with a full-time job was draining and at times, discouraging. Some days I couldn’t afford to eat because the rest of my school loan money was used to cover the remainder of my rent payment. Many nights I cried thinking I couldn’t do it anymore. However, my resilience was unmatched. I’m proud I pushed myself through.

6. Traveling to Spain and Morocco. Age 25

As a graduation present to myself, I booked a 14-day trip to Spain and Morocco. IT WAS AMAZING. I had wine and sangria with every lunch and dinner. I ate delicious paella and tapas. I witnessed history through the architecture. I watched a flamenco show. I rode a camel! I even got a tattoo that says, “Dream. Explore. Discover.” This life event created my (possibly) unhealthy obsession with traveling. My heart just feels at ease when I go someplace new. I am thrilled with the idea of seeking new experiences and viewing new surroundings, and I am constantly chasing that thrill.

7. Losing my first child. Age 29

I wrote about this experience in my 2019 blog post here so no need to rehash the details. This experience is why Ang Meets Soul exists. As I have written in some of my other posts, writing became my outlet for the pain and loneliness. I began sharing my experiences through my site in hope of spreading awareness and kindness to others. I wanted to connect with people. I wanted to shield others from unnecessary heartache. So, I bared my skin and exposed my deepest thoughts with a vulnerability that even I was uncomfortable with. This experience transformed my very being and sparked healing.

8. Getting married. Age 30

I’ve said this many times and I will say it again, you CANNOT pay me to plan another wedding. This was the most stressful planning process I have ever experienced, and in the middle of a pandemic. The number of obstacles that were thrown at my husband and I was borderline debilitating. And despite it all, we still managed to make it down that aisle. It only foreshadowed of the lengths we are willing to go to be with one another. I won’t sugarcoat this- marriage is hard. It’s beautiful but hard. Takes a lot of compromise and sacrifice from both ends. It takes constant reinventing, of yourself and the relationship, to keep up with the changes. Because nothing can ever stay the same, including the person you are. You will evolve and you must be willing to evolve with your partner and the relationship as well. Marriage teaches me commitment, consistency, and dedication.

9. Giving birth to my daughter. Age 31

When I found out I was having a daughter, I felt a wave of emotions. It felt as if I was given a second chance to build the mother-daughter relationship I always yearned for. I was also terrified because I did not want to be like my own mother. I did not want to unintentionally damage my daughter with my emotional baggage. Pregnancy is beautiful. You witness the miracle of life grow inside of you. Every sound of the heartbeat and gentle kick inside of your stomach reconfirms this repeatedly. And then you get to the end of your pregnancy, and you can’t wait until your child is in your arms. I had a traumatic birth experience and was in bad shape after my daughter was born. Luckily, I recovered but looking back at it, there is something powerful (and terrifying) about the ability of women to hang by a thread of life and on the brink of what feels like death, while bringing a new life into this world. It is the ultimate act of selflessness. Motherhood keeps teaching me this. I am a better person because I want to be a better person for my daughter.

So there you have it. These life events have brought forth the person you see today. And I am sure more future life events to follow will force me to shift and pivot. That’s the beauty of life. A new day presents a new opportunity to grow and evolve.

What are some life events that have shaped you into the person you are today? I would love to hear from you. Sending all my love! ❤

Posted by

Like a lotus flower, I emerge from dark, murky waters to reveal my beauty. Feeling and healing on this journey of life; glowing and flowing. I have always loved writing, but it has taken me 29 trips around the sun before I had to confidence to share publicly. I hope my writing, which is near and dear to my heart, sparks light and love in all of you. Make yourself at home and enjoy the ride!

40 thoughts on “Nine Life Events that Have Shaped Me into the Person I Am Today

  1. I know what it’s like to be the only person of an ethnic group at school, accept I was one of two non white people in the entire school, so that came with a huge amount of issues. I hope your school experience wasn’t as bad as mine.

    Sorry to hear about your mum leaving and losing contact with the while side of her family. How come they rest of your mum’s side of the family stopped talking to you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The experience wasn’t terrible overall. I made a lot of friends but at first, it was rough because of the ignorance of the children at that school. In regards to my mom’s side of the family, I really don’t know that answer. My mother wasn’t mentally stable after her stroke and she pushed a lot of people away including her family. I feel I was just collateral damage in this situation. I’ve been able to reconnect with a few members of that side, which I’m grateful for but overall, haven’t heard much from that side since my teenage years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve certainly experienced a lot of trauma – even moving so frequently during your formative years would be difficult. I hope you’re now at a place where you’re feeling healthy and looking forward to the future. Take Care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have but the trauma doesn’t define me. It has only shaped me to be more empathetic and compassionate and for that, I’m grateful. I’m extremely resilient and I pride myself on overcoming so much. I still have more healing to do but I’d say I’m in a pretty good place. Thank you for the well wishes, and for reading and commenting!

      Like

      1. Yes I agree with you that our life experiences shape who we are. Grief is the price we pay for love. Very interesting post.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. And I bet you are the best momma to your little one! One thing I’ve learned is that my trauma involving my mother taught me exactly what I do not want to do with my daughter. It truly feels like a second chance and I love learning and growing with my little one. Thank you for sharing. Xx and thank you for reading and commenting!

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  3. So sorry you had to go through that in your younger years. You’ve grown into such a beautiful and amazing woman inside and out and you’re a great mother, don’t ever doubt that! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤️ and yeah, it’s unfortunate having to go through so much as a child but it has taught me to be resilient and a fighter. I’m just happy that I’m in a better place now. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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  4. You are one of the strongest females I know! you’ve been through hell and back, and look at you now ♥️ I love you!
    Damn, this blog got me thinking about all the events in my life that helped shape me into the woman I am today. Lol I’ll tell you when I write them down, soon since I’ve been trying to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have to say that you are an inspiration and one of the strongest women after everything that you have experienced.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Ang! I am sorry to read you had to go through all this traumas during your childhood, but so glad that you found so many great things after and all these shaped you in the woman you are x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very touching journey through the highs and lows of your life. You have LIVED. You have so much of life, the good and bad, to help shape who you are as a mother. Because you excavated the layers of your life, your child will be getting the best of you. You are in it with eyes and arms wide open. Good for you for focusing on taking care of yourself. You paved the way to allow the love of your husband and baby into your life.

    By the way, I had to smile at the mention of Goya and adobo. I’m not Puerto Rican, but I know them both well.

    ~ Cassie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lived, I have! I truly believe that my lessons led me to my purpose and for that, I am grateful. And yes, Goya products and Adobo is a MUST lol. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Like

  8. I can feel the pain emitting from your words and I want to congratulate you on being brave enough to share these experiences with us. I majored in Psychology for my brief education before I left to focus on raising my first daughter. In class, we learned all about Nature vs Nurture, and although both are important, I always was leaning more towards Nurture and your post reconfirms this.

    I really resonated with numbers 3, 4, 8, and 9. Especially with number nine as my daughters changed my entire outlook on my identity and healthy relationships. Being a better mother for them, and the fear of ruining them is a constant worry for me. I also had a traumatic birth experience with my first and second birth. Those traumas were really hard to navigate through the difficult feelings and emotions.

    I’m honestly not sure if that makes sense as I have been trying to read and comment on this post since yesterday. I apologize if I missed something or my comment seems odd, it has been a long time since I was a part of the blogging community!

    Again, thank you for sharing this interesting (and painful) post! I absolutely love your blog!

    Best wishes,
    Christina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would like to thank you for your genuine and thoughtful comment. Thank you so much! It was comforting to read your comment. These experiences have deeply impacted me and although I do not let my trauma define me, it is difficult writing about them at times.

      You hit it right on the head when you mention the fear of ruining our children being a constant worry. I’m constantly questioning if I am doing enough for her. As for the birth experience, those emotions were very hard to maneuver through and I am still not able to fully speak in detail about that experience without shedding some tears.

      Thank you so much for your kind words, and for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You said it best… The trauma doesn’t define you! But it’s definitely a story that can impact lives! After reading this, I didn’t feel sorry for you, I felt extremely proud of you! You’re doing the damn thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What an experience you have gone through! I think it is beautiful that you can look back at your experiences to see how it has affected you and whether or not you wish to make the decision to make any changes to your life today. I have also seen some reflection in my own experiences as well in a few of them. It also stuck out to me when you brough up Nature vs Nurture as it was the inspiration for my thesis in college. Thank you for sharing. I wish you well on your continued journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This was very beautiful, I think because it’s so authentic and real. I really enjoyed it. My mom worked in neurosurgery and literally fell dead when I was about 4. They pronounced her dead, called time of death and practiced CPR (it’s a teaching hospital) until the morgue came up. While practicing, they revived her. After being dead for minutes, there was loss of blood to the brain and a long road of recovery. This deeply impacted my life. She passed when I was 23 and this has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced. Sending love and prayers your way 🤎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your own vulnerability! I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I can only imagine the impact. Sending lots of love your way too! Thank you so much for your kind words, and for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a really open and honest post about what experiences you have had. I am sorry to hear about some of the negative situations you have experienced, however sharing these will help others relate to similar experiences and feelings. Thank you for sharing this really personal post.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

    Liked by 1 person

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