By Wanda Loreto Andrea Stuardo, Guest Blogger
“I told myself I would work my ass off do whatever I could to make myself better cause in my mind, the best way I can get back to all those people who made fun of me, who tease me, who called me ugly, who call me a monster, was to make myself better and to show them, you know what? Tell me those negative things, I'm gonna turn them around and I'm gonna use them as a ladder to climb up to my goals.” -Lizzie Velasquez
On December 5th 2013. Lizzie Velasquez gave a Ted Talk about defining yourself. If you don't know her, Lizzie is a very successful motivational speaker, Youtuber, and author. She lives with an undiagnosed syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight. Recently, the documentary A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Valasquez Story was released. She is one of the most inspiring people you'll ever see; she sets her goals and doesn't give up.
The moment I saw her talk I realized that people need to support her motivational speaking career because she really does have a message to give to the world, a message that screams: NEVER GIVE UP. She was bullied at school and someone posted a video of her, titled “The World's Ugliest Woman,” followed by many unkind messages, including dangerous messages that could have lead her to end her own life. And I say 'could have' because she didn't. Whether or not she was tempted, I don't know. But she didn't give up, and that's what counts.
In this talk she speaks about how her mother has given her strength, how this woman who didn't give up on her has been through health issues but still manages to fight and go on with her life no matter what. Lizzie has the same effect on millions of people around the world. She's been against bullies, against people who thought she couldn't do anything, even against that doctor that told her parents they had to be prepared because maybe that baby wouldn't be able to speak, walk, or even think by herself. How wrong they all were.
I've met people that have been forced to leave their schools because of bullies, I've seen people surrender because everyone discourages them, and I used to be a person that cared too much about what others people thought about me and my abilities. I think most of us, at least once in our lives, have been a victim of negativity, including our own. Let's face it, sometimes we can be our own bullies, tearing ourselves apart even when everyone else believes in us. We just need to follow Lizzie’s example when she says, “I started realizing that my life was in my hands, I could either chose to make this really good or I could choose to make this really bad.”
I don't know how many times I've said this but, everything is in our hands. It is in our hands to feel good with who we are, it is in our hands to let other people's negativity affect us, it is in our hands to find our happiness. What defines us, is in our hands. It took me years to realize that, but it took me less than five minutes and a talk by Lizzie to make the decision to make myself better and stronger.
All that’s left to say is: Thank you Lizzie.
Let's Chat! Who or what motivates you to push past the negativity and to pursue your goals the way YOU want to?
Wanda is a high school student. Theater and writing have helped her the last few years to discover her own voice and not be afraid to share it. Reading, musical theater, and TV shows are her guilty pleasure. Her biggest goal in life is to become the best version of herself she can be and help other people to achieve theirs. She is passionate about gender equality and women's rights.