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Wildway Crew Stories: Parisa Oviedo (Boxing)

November 21, 2017

Wildway Crew Stories: Parisa Oviedo (Boxing)

Our Wildway Crew highlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things.


Within each of us lies the potential to live life to the fullest. We have the ability to choose our own destiny, live without fear or limits, challenge ourselves and grow, do and be whatever makes us happy. We have the ability to be free. It's how you live a Wildway of life and there are people all around us inspiring others with their actions. We want to celebrate that by highlighting and honoring those who #LiveWild.


Meet this week's featured Wildway Crew member:


Parisa Oviedo

Boston, Massachusetts
Wildway of Life = Boxing. I’m hooked on boxing; it makes me feel strong, powerful, and unstoppable.
Outlook = "Take a sad song and make it better" -The Beatles

Wildway of Choice = Vanilla Bean Espresso Granola

Meet Parisa. For several months she suffered from Bell's Palsy that distorted one side of her face and left her feeling helpless and out of control of her body. As she recovered, Parisa was able to turn that into a learning experience that taught her about the importance of nutrition, fitness, sleep, and how to harness the power of positivity in life.

Here is Parisa's story in her own words:

"I love to smile. Friends and family know that my smile, like my name, identifies me. My smile is so broad that it raises my cheeks and squeezes my eyes shut to make more room for it.

While visiting my former home—Dubai—, I woke up one morning excited to exchange smiles with old classmates but instead found myself shamefully hiding mine. My face was distorted and paralyzed: the left side drooped in a stiff hold while the right side overcompensated for my facial expressions. I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.

On the first morning that I had Bell’s, before it got bad enough that I finally went to the emergency room, I was at my old high school visiting friends; I’ll never forget how this one girl looked at me like she was scared and she didn’t know what to say—like she was so distracted by the fact that something was wrong with how my face looked. Because of that instance and others, I got in the habit of covering my smile with my hands, so people wouldn’t see, and for a while tried to train myself not to smile at all and to restrain my happiness if I laughed. Can you imagine? Having to convince yourself not to be happy because you’re ashamed of how you look?  Even more distressing was not knowing how, when, or if I would recover.

Physically, the paralysis worsened dramatically over the course of the first three weeks. Every time I thought it couldn’t get worse, I’d lose even more function—for example, I had to tape my eye shut at night to close it. After about three weeks it slowly started to improve, and then dramatically improved. I’ll never forget when, about a month into having Bell’s, I realized I could whistle again because my lip muscles were strong enough… and when my mom and I heard me whistle we both broke down in tears of happiness, because it was the first sign of progress we had seen since my diagnosis.

I coped with my situation by waking up at sunrise every morning and either journaling, going on a run, or going to the gym. In those early morning hours, I found time to self-reflect and establish a pattern of eating well and exercising. I altered my outlook on life and how I react to adversity: with resilience, discipline, and unwavering determination. I made a conscious effort to be optimistic, found a new study method that worked better for me, and wrote in my journal or went on a run whenever I sought a solution to a personal problem. I learned to accept that I could not control the cards that life dealt me, but I could control how I reacted to them.

Overall, it took me between 3-4 months to look completely normal again. For years after, however, I would still get sharp headaches and residual tension in the left side of my face. Every year, they become less and less frequent. I used to get them every few days, then every few weeks, and now it’ll be once every few months. The tension is like a blessing and a curse—it’s my body’s way of telling me when I am physically exhausted and need to slow down. I know this because it only ever happens when I am not taking care of myself as best as I should be, whether its that I’m not sleeping enough for days on end or working too hard at school. It keeps me accountable and reminds me to do the things that make me feel physically whole like exercising or sleeping more.

Being afflicted with Bell’s palsy was one of the most difficult challenges of my life, and even today the residual effects of facial tension are still unnerving; however, I learned to value good health and to use the lessons from this experience as a catalyst for growth and discovery. To me, living a Wildway of Life means two things: The first is the understanding that we only have one body, and we have to cherish it and constantly work to make it function at its best. I do that through boxing and through eating clean. One year ago today I was working so hard in school that I forgot to take care of myself, and was physically falling apart and mentally exhausted. Eight months after discovering boxing, and I’m clear-eyed, recharged, confident, energized, and in the best shape of my life. I’m hooked on boxing; it makes me feel strong, powerful, and unstoppable. I found a workout that I love and it has taken care of not only my body, but my mind and soul.

My second definition of a ‘Wildway of Life’ is understanding human limitations— that while we have the ability to push ourselves, we must accept that sometimes life will push us harder. Life is wild and, despite our best efforts to plan, very unpredictable. The question is not only, then, ‘what actions will we take?’, but also ‘how will we choose to react?’"

Live Wild. Box Wild.

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