You’re a 17-year-old girl, and like lots of people that age, you check out the Internet. For Lizzie Velasquez the search for music one day turned up an unexpected discovery, a YouTube video labelling her ‘The worlds ugliest woman’, complete with shocking comments, telling her to kill herself and calling her a ‘monster’.
Lizzie, was born with a rare congenital condition that means she has no body fat. She weighs just 64 pounds, and her skin has aged beyond her 26 years. She is blind in one eye and has diminished visibility in the other, but she doesn’t let this limit her ambition or her life.
Lizzie could have retreated into her shell and let the bullies win, but instead she decided to take on her taunters, and today she is a successful author, motivational speaker, and has the kind of confidence most of us, including myself, would love. What shines through especially is her positivity, her refusal to let those who think she is ‘ugly’ to win.
But there are no ugly people, as I wrote in a recent post, just ugly minds. By being intolerant of those who look different; by taunting, calling them names, or otherwise bullying us, bullies only show their own limitations as human beings.
Lizzie has now teamed up with Tumblr to support their Post It Forward campaign, a forum for sharing personal stories. “Post It Forward” will weave together a wide range of issues and campaigns related to young people’s mental and emotional health – like bullying, self-harm, depression, and sexual assault – and shine a light on the ways online connection and community can provide support, according to the site.
This month a documentary about Lizzie called A Brave Heart will be released in the US. It has already won several awards, and hopefully will be shown on this side of the world. I wish her well.
Here are some useful links to find out more about Lizzie Velasquez and her amazing story.
Here’s her YouTube channel
To find out more about her documentary click here