t one point or another, every single one of us will be made to feel small by someone else’s hurtful comments. Most of us can shrug it off and move on; however, for those who deal with persistent bullying, the negativity can be overwhelming, diminishing, and depressing.
Lizzie Velasquez isn’t one of those people. Lizzie has a conditional that makes her unable to gain any weight. She has 0 percent body fat and weighs 64 pounds. Her condition is not terminal, although she has a weak immune system and is blind in one eye.
The rare condition makes her appear different than most people, which caused her to be bullied relentlessly. People who look different often become the targets of ruthless bullies; another woman who comes to mind is Ciera Swaringen. She was bullied her entire life due to birthmarks that cover her entire body; after years, she finally embraced her unique look and is now inspiring thousands.
When Lizzie was in high school she found a video of herself on Youtube posted by a stranger. The video was eight seconds long and titled “World’s Ugliest Woman.” There was nothing else. The video had over 4 million views and hundreds of negative comments.
One of the commenters said her parents should have aborted her, another said she should just kill herself.
In 2014, Lizzie gave a viral speech in front of hundreds of people. It was her response to bullies, to that video, to the people who told her she was better off dead.
I kind of started realizing that my life is in my hands. I could either choose to make this really good or I can choose to make this really bad. I could either be grateful and open my eyes and realize the things that I do have and make those the things that define me. I can’t see out of one eye, but I can see out of the other. I might get sick a lot, but I have really nice hair.”
“I started realizing, am I going to let the people who called me a monster, define me. Am I going to let the people who said, kill it with fire, define me. No. I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments be the things that define me, not my outer appearance, not the fact that I’m visually impaired, not the fact that I have this syndrome that nobody knows what it is.
So I told myself I’m going work my butt off and do whatever I could to make myself better, because in my mind, the best way that I could get back at all those people who made fun of me, who teased me, who called me ugly, who called me a monster, was to make myself better and to show them you know what, tell me those negative things, I’m going to turn them around and I’m going to use them as a ladder to climb up to my goals. That’s what I did.”