Tricia O’Hara: Mental Toughness From Her Perspective
Today Tricia O’Hara and Stephen discussed mental toughness from two different angles. The first viewpoint was one of having lived it out in real life being an orphan as a child, passed from home to home and having to pick herself up mentally every day. The second as a person who has accomplished some of her goals in life and what young people of today need to hear.
For the complete apperance, click here
Tricia O’Hara’s Detail Bio Information:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
- Robert Frost
Tricia knows a thing or two about Adversity. Having to overcome the death of her parents as an infant and finding herself in foster care w/ numerous families till age 7, she learned through relentless pursuit of not giving up, not giving in, to rise above it all. At this time she along with her biological brother and sister were adopted by a family that was unable to have children of their own. Though it seemed to Tricia their reasoning for adopting was for all the wrong reasons, she would remain here for the next 7 years. She believed it wasn’t so much to provide a loving, stable environment, rather to replicate the “Perfect Children” they could never have.” “When they found that we weren’t amenable to this, they would use control tactics such as grounding, whipping, locking us out so we had to sleep in the garage, verbal, physical and psychological abuse.”
Although Tricia excelled at academics, with straight A’s and advanced studies,and was a high level athlete, “Good” was not good enough.
In their eyes she still was not the perfect child and was constantly reminded she would never amount to anything and not make anything of her Life.” yet with Tricia’s Iron Will, she would not fall prey to these negative words, instead, this was the “fuel to the fire” that instilled in her -
“Your words will not Define Me…You will not Break Me”
Tricia made up her mind at a young age that she would not except these “Jaws of Defeat” She knew somewhere there was a door to a better life, a more positive, supportive environment. “I WILL find a way”
As a way to rise above it all, Tricia turned to sports as a coping mechanism. “Sports,namely running was something no one could take from me. It was my way of temporarily escaping the constant chaos I was living in” Also at this time Tricia was told frequently, “I don’t care what you think, it doesn’t matter!” So she learned to be silent and keep her thoughts and feelings to herself. “My only release was to transform these thoughts into writing, poems mainly, as well as drawing.
~ which years later, I won awards for my writing and at age 15 was awarded a certificate from the House of Representatives
for my artistic talent and was given the honor to display a piece of my artwork in the Bellevue Art Museum.” Tricia wrote this when she was 13, along with a hundred others.
“What are you thinking
and how are you feeling,
for your mask cover up is un-revealing
Why, when I look into your eyes
you’re close by yet far away…
Just that, I try to mold and shape,
Only blank expressions, I observe
fly free from escape”
Finally,when it was apparent that Tricia would never be the child they could manipulate into being the person they wanted, she was kicked out. Tricia was 14. “Being homeless, living with friends, living on the streets, on a park bench and at one point, my girlfriend’s horse barn, I had a choice to go left or right, I chose to go right.” “Fast forward to years later, Tricia felt this compelling need to give back, and to share her story. To help others to find their path of greatness through academics and sports.” Not having a family to spend holidays with, she began to volunteer feeding the homeless; delivering food.
It was then she realized how much these people needed love and attention too and having experienced a version of their lives in her formative years,she felt her presence was needed more than just the holidays. “Its easy to do a grand gesture like this when it’s publicized, but what about the 363 other days of the year?” She would continue to help serve food and also volunteer doing odd jobs at a Convalescent home. “I would always love to hear their stories…and when you’re 98, you have a lot of stories!”
Last winter Tricia spent the holidays back home in San Francisco where she volunteered feeding the homeless in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, one of the worst Ghetto’s in America. It was here she was inspired to volunteer and work with the low-income kids, tutoring and involving them in sports. “It was so rewarding for me that I continued to volunteer the duration of my stay. …and the hardest part was, leaving. They had become a part of me.
As I was leaving, one little girl said to me with a tear in her eye, “You can’t leave, you’re my mommy.” “I know in my heart, this is one facet in my Life I must continue to pursue. There’s too many children out there that are not provided with the right role model, peer group or motivation to push beyond their current limits.”
Recently, Tricia was asked to appear as a Guest Speaker on The McCarthy Project, Sports Talk Radio. The Producer had come across her story and felt it needed to be heard. The listeners and staff were so moved, she was asked to come on air weekly. “I am truly flattered that someone would want to hear my story. If I can help inspire, motivate and encourage people that with a lot hard work, anything is possible then I will do whatever it takes to get the message across.”