TamaraMy name is Tamara, and I have Epilepsy. Most times when I talk about my Epilepsy or seizures, people get freaked out, they get scared in their own sense. Whether it’s them cringing for my disease, not wanting to drive with me, or asking excessive questions about how awful it is; I get it almost every day of my life.

Although I will agree that Epilepsy can be terrifying at times, it can also be a blessing in disguise depending on how you project it back to other lives. Two years ago when I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, I had so many crazy thoughts running through my head. I had no idea where to stand next. I was terrified of life, I was terrified of death, I didn’t know where or who to turn to. When going back to school, the downhill spiral refused to stop spinning.

First I was told to expect my grades to drop because of my new medication; then I was told I’d never get my license; I was also told to be careful at all times, in all situations. Two years later, here I am to speak out about Epilepsy and Epilepsy awareness. I’m here to tell you it’s not about fear and it’s not about giving your life away to a disease. It’s about coping and living your life to its very potential.

A year ago, my seizures were controlled by medication; six months ago I got my license; one month ago I was accepted into college with scholarships for my grades and hard work; and a year ago I began really living my dream. I began modeling and pageantry because Epilepsy showed me life is too short! Life is unexpected and special and you never know what will happen next. Therefore, we must live our dreams while we can and never look back.

Pageantry has always been a dream of mine, to become a beauty queen and a role model. Once I was diagnosed with this disease, I realized that I need to stand on my own two feet and live all of my dreams to their potential. Pageantry to me is a way that I can have a voice for Epilepsy. As my platform, I can speak out and inform people on what this disease is really about. I am still trying to find the perfect pageant for me, but I know once I find it and have my crown I will take that authority and run with it.

More than anything, Epilepsy needs national attention, a national platform to raise awareness and money for research. And someday I hope to represent our country as Miss America; and if that day comes, Epilepsy will have the recognition and funds it is now being deprived of. To me, life is journey. We are put on this Earth for some purpose, and life throws us surprises for certain reasons.

Epilepsy chose me because it needed someone to put a voice to it and give it everything it needs to eventually be dominated. No matter what disease you’re living with whether it is Epilepsy, Diabetes, or Cancer; you cannot let it stop your life in mid track. You need to keep living and reach as far as you possibly can to achieve your dreams. I don’t know what surprises this disease has in store for me, I don’t know if someday I’ll be cured, but I do know I’ll never give up, and I’ll never let Epilepsy go without the attention it needs.

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