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What defines you??...


We all have gone through one thing in life, especially in school of "mocking" or "bullying". We remember being the butt end of a joke, being laughed at and at times laughing at someone. May it be because the other person is stupid, clumsy, victim of practical joke or ugly. 

But today am going to tell you a story of a girl, a woman who was bullied her whole life. And how it changed her life. The first time you see her personally or in video you will avert your eyes fearing you might stare at her. But after you hear her speak, smile and laugh about herself, you cant take your eyes away from her. 

Elizabeth Ann "Lizzie" Velasquez, who was born on 13th March 1989 in Austin, Texas, America. Lizzie suffered from a rarest of rare medical condition, because of which she can never gain weight.  She was born 4 weeks premature and weighed 1.2 kg at the time of her birth. 

Lizzie with her mom
Today she is 24 years old, a published writer and accomplished motivational speaker. She draws from her life experience to inspire people. 

When her mother Rita Velasquez was pregnant with Lizzie, the doctor had said that "Your daughter doesnt have any amniotic fluid around her, so be prepared to expect a child, who cant walk, talk, see or basically do anything on her own." Her mother said "I just want to see her, take her home, love her and bring her up to the best of my ability". And she did just that. Lizzie exclaims that she was brought up 150% in a normal way and that her family is her biggest support system.

Lizzie with her parents and siblings
Lizzie has a condition that is so rare that only two other people are known to have it. She has zero percent body fat and has never weighed more than 29 kg her whole life. She is not anorexic but she is unable to gain weight. Her daily energy intake of about 5000 calories. She is blind in her right eye and has limited vision in the other. She has weak immune system and gets sick often.

When she first joined school, little Lizzie attended the first day of school without any notion that she looked different than other kids. That day was the worse to her remembrance where she had to face the reality of her condition. But the days after that were getting worse and worse. 

When she was in high school, someone posted a 8 sec video of her on the internet labeling her "the world's most ugliest woman". It was viewed around 4 million times all over the world and comments poured in from every part of the world where people commented like "Lizzie do a favour to the world and put a gun to your head and shoot yourself". Imagine some stranger telling you to kill yourself just because you are not pleasing to their eyes. And she didnt get just one comment like this, she got hundreds of comments like this. Mocking her, bullying her, the writer sat on some remote corner of world and judged her based on how she looks.

Lizzie expresses that even though she cried her eyes out and got ready to fight back. She let it go thinking "Will i let all these people define me who I am?". That day she decided that she is not going to let others decide what she is, how she is and what she has to do. She decided that she will go to college and graduate, she is going to write a book and she is going to be a motivational speaker. She has this amazing ability to channel her negativity into strengthening her. And that's what made her today as strong as she is. She is the most beautiful soul with a brilliant mind and an amazing smile, which inspires people to look at all the positive things they have in life. She didnt let the world define her, she didnt let the world bully her into a cowering, mewling, self pitying person. She fought for herself and she fought hard. 

And today she is an accomplished motivational speaker. She is the author of "Be Beautiful, Be you (2012) and co-author of her autobiography "Lizzie Beautiful". She is a graduate from Texas State University majoring in Communication studies. And she makes you think "What defines You?"

Check out the website about her here

Here is an video of her motivational speech. 

Me.. who is very lazy to watch any kind of motivational speech, sat glued to my computer for 13 min and 11 secs watching this woman speak. And at the end of it, I clapped. I thought for myself that "Now this is the person whose courage will give inspiration, because she is not someone with a million doller smile in fancy clothes telling us to take life positive.  She is the person who is suffering physically, mentally and emotionally and showing us to see positive in life." 

From now on I wont stand in front of mirror and crib that am fat or not, am dark or fair, am tall or short. But rather am going to stand in front of the mirror and think, today is going to be a good day and smile at myself for believing it. 

And for Lizzie to achieve this kind of confidence in herself, her mom played a great part. When I write anything about Lizzie I have to write about her mother, admire her patience and courage. Not many people can see their child suffer and still bring them up in normal way instilling so much courage and confidence. I see her and I think "This is the kind of mother I want to be. This is the kind of support system I want to provide to my son, my family and my friends."

After listening to Lizzie, I sat back and thought "What defines me????"......."What the world around me thinks about me or What I think about myself. Should the world decide that I am a loser or a leaper? Should I let the world decide that am a failure or front runner?". She made me stop for moment and think who is around me, who is influencing my thoughts, who has control over my opinions. Can I really stand in front of the mirror and say I am 100% me, fully free of any prejudice and influences?. Maybe not yet, but I am going to try, I am going to try everyday to remember what I am, which is not based on the opinions of others. When that day comes, that is day I can say "Yes am fair and just". That is the day I can say that "I can take negative and positive in the same stride". And that is the day I can say "I am free"


  1. (Deep apologies Nivi....for not taking about few minutes to take it from my wrist watch, and read this superb stuff...)

    Always the person in the well knows the depth of it, rather than the person perching on the wall, and gives a lecture how deep the well would be. Inspiration is a rare fragrance can not be found everywhere..but surely it makes its presence in this kind of bundle of positives.

    Yes it is true, I am I, as long as I see myself in the mirror, the moment i turn my eye balls beyond the mirror, the slow poison of negativeness creeps in.

    Mother is a rare word, where it stand a"m" for "others". The mother of such a beautiful soul, one second negative thought, could have chopped this great soul slowly turning towards Silver Jubilee.

    I salute to the great soul and its owner. Yes i believe in positive energy wipes out negative tumbler from our head.

    Great stuff Nivi...and once nivi at her extraordinary special stuff.

  2. Your words, and you bringing her life in to your writeup..mixing your thoughts with her superb inspirational words....commendable efforts nivi. You not only justified what you wanted to convey...but you blended it very nicely, so that it touches our heart and puts an indelible impression...Nivi at her special again


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