I am the biggest fan of you Ronda. I own almost every magazine you have graced the cover of, all of your action figures, and I never missed any of your fights. You are such an inspiration to me because you NEVER quit, you are a fighter in every sense of the word, and it would mean the world to me if you would read my story.
Very few people know this story about me because it hasn’t always been the easiest thing for me to talk about, but I can talk about it now. I’m telling my story with the hopes that it will inspire, motivate, and help others feel better about themselves.
When I came into this world, I was born with an eye condition called Nystagmus. Basically it is a condition that causes my eyes to move involuntarily. Because of that condition my retinas could not fully develop. As a result, I have very poor vision and I am color blind. Because of my eye sight I will never be able to drive. I’ve lost count of how many times in my life that I’ve been pointed at, made fun of, ridiculed, bullied, and underestimated all because I can’t see as well as others, especially in my school days. I dealt with it in elementary, middle school, and high school, but I’ve never let haters get to me because I know they always try to pick apart someone who is different.
I have always been someone that stands up to bullies and I refused to be pushed around just because I was different. I’ve also stood up to bullies when I see them picking on someone who was weaker than them. I’m a firm believer that EVERYONE should have the freedom to be who they are without having someone in their face telling them they’re not good enough.
Even dealing with all of that, I went on to become one of the first in my family to ever graduate high school. I had to go through a lot to get to that point, I didn’t have the easiest life as a child, nor did I have the most difficult by any means. Growing up I dealt with an abusive mother. I use the term “mother” very loosely when referring to her because I know that my siblings and I didn’t mean anything to her. She was the type of mom that would always choose which ever drunk or drugged out boyfriend she was dating at the time over her own kids. I’ve lost count of how many times I was hit or beaten by her in some form or fashion for no reason. Now I’m not saying I was an angel as a child, and I’m sure I did my fair share of being bad or getting into trouble as any normal young child would, but I did not deserve the punishment that she would give; no child does. A few years after I graduated high school I kicked her out of my life for good and I have not seen her in years. It was the greatest decision I’ve ever made.
From an extremely young age I only had one dream, I wanted to be a professional wrestler; I lived it, I breathed it, it’s all I could think about. After I graduated high school I went to a wrestling school and about 3 months into it I tore a muscle in my chest which put me out for quite a while. I had so many people tell me because of my eyesight I will never make it in the wrestling business. I’ve always been judged or underestimated in some form simply because of my eye condition, so I knew that when I got in the ring I had to prove everyone wrong. I knew I was going to have to work twice as hard to get people to see me in a different light, and that’s exactly what I did- in and out of the ring.
After I finally healed from my torn chest muscle, I was ready to wrestle again, but as luck would have it the school I was attending before was closing up shop. Over the next few years my wrestling training was slowed down because I was in and out of a couple different wrestling organizations that turned out to be shams or second rate training. Finally in 2011 I found a wrestling company not too far from where I live that I was going to train with and I trained with them until I was ready to have my first battle royal.
Not long after I began training at the new gym, I was ready for my first one on one match. As I walked through the curtain before my very first match I was thinking that finally my dream was starting to take shape… or so I thought. About a week later after my very first match, I was in the middle of a training drill in practice when I was accidentally punched in my left eye. At the time it hurt but I thought I would be okay. Two days later, however, the vision in my left eye began fading and I had no idea what was wrong. About 24 hours later, the vision in my left eye was almost completely gone so I went to the hospital to have it checked out and I was referred to a Retina specialist. I was told that I would need major surgery to repair the problem. By the time the day rolled around for me to have surgery I had 0% Vision remaining in my left eye. The day after my surgery my surgeon explained to me that I would never wrestle again, nor could I do physical activities such as theme park rides.
To make a long story short, over the next year after my first surgery, I had 3 additional surgeries to keep trying to repair my problem and in the end it was not a success. I pretty much have no vision in my left eye. On top of that my right eye has something that is called eye floaters in my field of vision, and as I had poor vision to begin,this just made it even worse.
When I got punched in the eye while wrestling, all in one quick moment, all of the hopes and dreams that I had of becoming a professional wrestler disappeared. There were times after that I thought I had been defeated, I thought I had been close to being broken, I thought there was no hope. But let me be the first one to tell you that the human spirit can be unbreakable if you refuse to be defeated.
After my very first surgery I decided that even if I can never wrestle again, I would just have to make a new dream for myself, set new goals for my future, and I made a choice; that no matter what roadblocks were thrown in my way, I was going to run right over them. My will is going to be strong, my spirit will never be broken, my heart will not stop beating, and nothing or no one will ever make me feel like I can’t achieve my dreams.
In the past 3 years I have gotten into the best shape I have ever been in my life, and I’m not done yet. In fact, I am just getting started. I don’t know where I’m going yet, but I promise you that I will get there. My eyesight will not hold me back and my disabilities will not be my downfall. Before my book is closed I will achieve greatness, I want to be the absolute best I can be. If I can come back from everything that I’ve been through and still have a positive attitude, and still be motivated to reach my goals, then I feel that I’m capable of achieving anything no matter what disability I have.
I know I will never wrestle again, I accepted that fact long ago, and I am okay with it because I have a whole new dream that I’m reaching for. I will achieve that dream before it’s all said and done, you can count on it!
So to all the bullies and the haters that laugh at me, you can just keep on laughing, because it does not affect me either way. You laugh at me because I’m different, well I laugh at you because you’re all the same. I have not taken any shortcuts or cheap ways out, and I have worked my ass off to get where I’m at. Everything that I’ve achieved in my life I had to work twice as hard to get it as everyone else. Wherever I end up in life you can bet I will work hard to get there!
In closing I just want to say thank you for reading my story. Always follow your heart and dreams, and don’t ever let ANYONE tell you you’re not good enough or you can’t do something. Let nothing stand in your way because you can rise above anything if your heart is in it.
I’m still standing here and I’ll always keep moving forward and I know in my heart that the best has yet to come! If you want something bad enough you can achieve it. Never let your limitations hold you back.
Thank you so much for reading this Ronda, I will always be your biggest fan and support you no matter what. Much love and respect from your biggest fan Harold. @HaroldBurgher