Lizzie started by talking about her rare syndrome
Lizzie said that she was born with a very rare syndrome that only two people in the world (including herself) have. Basically, what this syndrome causes is the inability to gain weight. She explained that she was almost 25 and she has never weighed over 64 pounds in her entire life.
Lizzie said that she eats too much
Lizzie said that in college, she was known by her giant tub of Twinkies, donuts, chips, and skittles. Her roommate would say that she could hear her at 12:30 reaching under her bed to get food.
Lizzie explained how she took advantage of not gaining weight
‘But I’m like you know what, it’s all right, I can do these things, because there are benefits to this syndrome, there are benefits to not being able to gain weight, there are benefits to being visually impaired, there are benefits to being kind of really small,’ explained Lizzie.
Lizzie spoke about the advantages of seeing with only one eye
She explained that she doesn’t see what’s on her right side, so when someone annoys her or acts rude while standing on her right side, it’s as if he is not even there.
Lizzie talked about what the doctors said when she was just born
Lizzie was her parents’ first child. When she was born, the doctors said that she had no amniotic fluid around her at all, so it was a miracle that she came out screaming. Afterwards, the doctors warned her parents that she might never talk, walk, crawl, think or do anything by herself.
Lizzie credited everything that she has done in her life to her parents
Lizzie explained that her parents never gave up on her. They loved her and did their best to raise her in the best way. She thanked her dad and mom, who is recovering from a surgery, ‘She has been the glue that’s held our family together, she has this fighting spirit that she has instilled in me’.
Lizzie found it very hard to deal with bullying
She had no clue that she looked different than the other kids at kindergarten. At the age of 5, during her first day of school, she started to realize it. All the kids were rude to her, ignored her and looked at her as if she was a monster. (See Video Summary: What explains the rise of humans? By Yuval Noah Harari)
Lizzie explained how her parents told her about her syndrome
Her parents told her that the only difference between her and the other kids was that she is smaller than them. ‘You have this syndrome, but it’s not going to define who you are.’ They told her to pick her head up, smile and to continue to be herself, and people will see that she is just like them.
Lizzie said that she always thought that her outer appearance is what defines her
She always looked at herself and thought that she was ugly. She always wished to just scrub this syndrome off to be as cool as the other kids. ‘I would wish, and pray, and hope that I would wake up in the morning and I would be different and I wouldn’t have to deal with these struggles.’
Lizzie explained that we are the ones in charge of our lives
‘You are the person in the front seat of your car. You are the one who decides whether your car goes down a bad path or a good path. You are the one that decides what defines you,’ said Lizzie.
Lizzie was shocked that she was labeled on a video on the internet as the ‘World’s ugliest woman’
The video had 4 million views and she found comments like ‘please just a do the world a favor, put a gun to your head and kill yourself.’ She cried her eyes out and was ready to fight back, but then she chose to be grateful and open her eyes to the things she does have, the things that define her.
Lizzie believed that the best revenge is to show the world what she is capable of doing
‘I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments be the things that define me, not my outer appearance’. She said that she is going to use her haters as a ladder to climb up her goals.
Lizzie talked about what she wanted to do in life
Lizzie wanted to be a motivational speaker, to write a book, graduate college, have her own family and her own career. Eight years later, she almost accomplished the list. ‘I wanted to have lastly my own family and my own career,’ said Lizzie, and she is working on it.
Lizzie said that she worked so hard to succeed
Lizzie used the people who were telling her that she couldn’t do anything as her motivation. ‘I used their negativity to light my fire to keep going, use that, use that, use that negativity that you have in your life to make yourself better, because I guarantee you, guarantee you, you will win.’ (See Video Summary: Overcoming Hopelessness by Nick Vujicic l TEDx Novi Sad)
Video summary: How do you define yourself by Lizzie Velasquez | TEDxAustinWomen
Lizzie Velasquez: How do you define yourself Summary | TED Talk