In Their Shoes – Tatyana Ortiz

Dan Altomare: In Their Shoes, My Story

“ It is foolish to fear what we have yet to see and know. “ – Itachi Uchiha

My name is Tatyana Ortiz, and I am a Beat the Streets female wrestler competing at 106 lbs for Mariana Bracetti Academy.

Before I get to telling you about myself, I want to brag a bit about the people that inspire me most in life; my siblings. One of five kids, I have two brothers and two sisters. Julio is 13, Julissa is 10, Julius is 9, & Taylinn is 6. Aside from Taylinn, the youngest, we are all wrestlers. After seeing them follow in my footsteps and become wrestlers, I realize that I am a role model to them. Knowing this,  I’ve always done as much as possible to be the role model they deserve. I’ve witnessed my siblings grow up and overcome all the hardships of coming from a broken family and being bounced around in the foster care system. They always stayed positive during the rough transitions of moving around with different families, and I really admire that. My siblings mean the world to me; they give me the strength to face life’s worst hardships,  and they inspire me every day to be the best person I can possibly be.

Unfortunately life has been far from easy for my siblings and I. From the time I was a little kid up until I was 16 my life was a wreck; and I didn’t know what to do. Our home was an unstable living environment to put it lightly. Neglect, drugs, and abuse were prevalent in my home, and we were pressured to keep it a secret so that we wouldn’t end up in the foster care system. I constantly feared for the safety of my siblings, and that fear outweighed anything else.

When case workers came to look at our home a few years ago, they took us away right then and there. Finding someone to stay with was very difficult. Seemingly everyone either didn’t have space for us, or didn’t even answer the phone. The ‘resolution’ DHS came up with was barely a  resolution at all. Julius & Julissa were sent to my friend John’s house, Taylinn stayed with her father (we don’t have the same father), and I went with Julio to a strangers house. I sat there and cried with my siblings that night because all we wanted was to be together and live happily. I had felt depression before, but at this point I felt it worse than ever.

You might be wondering what the silver lining is in all of this? For me, wrestling in Beat the Streets has been the only thing that has helped me through these tough times, and gave me something positive to focus on. At practice, I could finally feel happy and be worry free of all my actual problems. Along with that, wrestling made me feel normal because I was able to interact with people who had similar interests and make friends. Wrestling has truly been an incredible outlet. It has taught me so many things such as discipline, self confidence, self accountability and trusting in my teammates (just to name a few). Believing and trusting in others was very important to me because I’ve never had people I could trust before I started wrestling. Above all else, wrestling has taught me fearlessness.

With my senior year still ahead of me, I’ve already become the 1st ever female wrestler to qualify for the District XII Tournament & Northeast Regional Tournament. I am extremely focused on achievement both on the mat and in the classroom so that my siblings can see how chase their own goals and dreams. I plan on wrestling in college, studying art, and pursuing a career in art and theatre. I apply all of the lessons I’ve learned in the sport in accomplishing every one of my goals. While the individual challenges I face may differ, the motive stays the same; to be the best role model I can be for my siblings and to show them that no matter what hardships life throws your way, you can rise up.

When life is painful, it helps me  to remember how to be grateful. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to compete all over the country and to meet amazing people. I am grateful for the support I have received from Beat the Streets in achieving my athletic and academic goals. I’m grateful for my school, Mariana Bracetti Academy for helping us put our home back together. I am grateful for my coach Matt McConnell for understanding what I went through and has always been there as someone to talk to. I am grateful for my very caring mentor, Marya Robinson, who has been like an older sister to me ever since she has entered my life.  I am grateful for everyone that has helped me get through my difficult journey. Lastly, I am grateful to everyone reading this, for giving me this opportunity to share my story. Without everyone I’ve met through the sport, through school, and through BTSP, I do not know where I would be in life.

Wrestling in Beat the Streets is something that will forever be in my heart. I will forever love the sport and the sport will forever love me.

 

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