How Do You Define Yourself?

23 Jan 2014 by Carlie Ranno, 3 Comments »
Lizzie FINAL picture

Photo of Lizzie Velasquez from www.aboutlizzie.com

24 year old, Lizzie Velasquez, is labeled the “World’s Ugliest Woman”.  Lizzie was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS) which keeps her from gaining any weight! For her whole life, she has never weighed more than 64 pounds! Lizzie is required to eat every 15 minutes; otherwise, she might die. She is blind in her left eye and has a very poor immune system.  Lizzie has to consume 5,000 to 8,000 calories per day.  Currently, there are only 3 people in the world known with this syndrome including Lizzie.

The following link give a more detailed description to Lizzie’s possible syndrome:  http://www.biobt.com/?article=15

When Lizzie was born, the doctors’ said she would not be able to walk, talk, or crawl. She would be able to do absolutely nothing. Luckily for Lizzie, her parents decided to take her home anyways, love her, and raise her to the best of their abilities. Lizzie was so tiny that her parents could hold her in the palms of their hands and they had to go to Toys R Us to buy her doll clothes to wear.

All of Lizzie’s life she was bullied severely and rejected. Lizzie had no idea that she was different from any other child when she started kindergarden.  When Lizzie tried to make friends with a little girl that was reading, she looked at her and smiled, but instead of the little girl smiling back, she looked at Lizzie like she was a monster, the scariest thing she had ever seen.  Worst of all, during Lizzie’s high school years, she discovered an 8 second long Youtube video naming her the “World’s Ugliest Woman” which received more than 4 million views and over 1,000 comments. She read such comments as, “Lizzie please, please, please just put a gun to your head and shoot yourself”.  This is an extreme level of bullying, and  just reflected on how she looked on the outside, not how sweet, caring, and amazing she actually was on the inside.

This Youtube video drove her to make 4 main goals in her life which include:

1. To become a motivational speaker

2. To write a book

3. Graduate college

4. Have her own family

2013 will mark the 8th year of motivational speaking for Lizzie (check off goal #1).  To date, Lizzie has published not one, but two books and she just received a release date for her third soon-to-be published book.  The first book is titled, “Lizzie Beautiful”, the second book is titled “Be Beautiful, Be You”, and the third book is coming soon (check off goal #2).  Lizzie will be graduating from Texas State University in May, 2014 (check off goal #3).  Lizzie is currently working on goal #4, she is only 24 years old.

Below are the following links which give more information on each of Lizzie’s books:

1: Lizzie Beautiful-  http://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Beautiful-Velásquez-Story/dp/0982519001/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390436701&sr=1-1&keywords=Lizzie+Beautiful

2: Be Beautiful, Be You-    http://www.amazon.com/Be-Beautiful-You-Lizzie-Velasquez/dp/0764820796

Lizzie is a huge inspiration to me. She has overcome so much and always tries to look at the positive side of things. Lizzie says to always hold your head up high and never give up. She is totally right. She took adversity and used it as ammunition to better her life through her accomplishments.  That is the best revenge!  For those of us who are bullied, we should listen to Lizzie and her wonderful advice.

How would you respond to Lizzie?  What would you do if she were to approach you, would you accept and embrace her, or reject and laugh at her?

Today, Lizzie is a motivational speaker and author, and speaks about her experiences. She asks, “What defines you?  What makes you, you?”

Her most important message is that we have choices in how we react to anything that is perceived as negative or hurtful.  We can choose to be happy or we can choose to give up.  We shouldn’t allow other people to define us and the best anecdote to bullying is through our accomplishments, that is what should define us, our accomplishments.

To see Lizzie’s Ted talk, check out video below:

To see Lizzie’s Ted talk geared to teens, check out video link below:

▶ I Choose To Be Happy: Lizzie Valasquez at TEDxY… by TEDxYouth    

 

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3 Comments

  1. Renea Herold says:

    Carlie – Great article – Lizzie is amazing.
    I do not think kids always think about how hurtful their words can be. I really liked how you posed some questions at the end your article for reflection.. I also hope that kids who read your article and feel picked on know they are not alone. There are kids and adults at Hillcrest who care and want to help make Hillcrest a place where all kids are happy to come to school and learn. Nice work:)

  2. Ann-Marie Champion says:

    Carlie,

    Nice job showcasing the importance of determination and inner strength.

    Mrs. Champion

  3. Shilo Smith says:

    That is so mean!Why would anyone even think about even labeling people like that?!?

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