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  • I'm really really really excited to be here

  • I kinda wanna tell you a little bit more the, I don't wanna say basics

  • cause we don't really know anything about my syndrome. I was born with this very

  • very rare syndrome

  • that only two other people in the world including myself that we know of , have

  • have basically what this syndrome causes is that I cannot gain weight

  • yes it does sound as good as it is

  • I could eat absolutely whatever I want whenever I want

  • and I won't really gain any weight. I'm gonna be 25 in March

  • and I never weighed over about 64 pounds my entire life

  • when I was in college

  • I hid, oh I didn't hide, I really new it was there

  • but is the giant tube of twinkies

  • doughnuts chips skittles and my roommate

  • would say I could hear you at 12:30 reaching under your bed

  • to get food. But I'm like "you know what it's alright, I can do these things"

  • because there are benefits to this syndrome. there are benefits

  • to not being able to gain weight their benefits to being visually impaired

  • there are benefits to being kinda really small. A lot of people think, Lizzie

  • how in the world are you saying there's benefits when you can only see out of

  • one eye let me tell you what the benefits are cuz they're

  • great

  • I wear contacts - 'contact'

  • Half of contacts

  • When I wear my reading glasses - half of prescription

  • if somebody is annoying me

  • being rude, stand on my right side

  • It's like you're not even there. I don't even know you're standing there

  • right now, If I stand like this, I have no clue

  • that there's this whole side of the room

  • Also, being small I am very willing to

  • volunteer myself to go to

  • Weight Watchers, go to

  • some gym and say: hi, I'm Lizzie

  • I will be your poster child

  • put my face on whatever you need it will say

  • hi I used this program - look how well it worked!

  • Even though there are really amazing things that have come from this syndrome, there are also things that

  • have been very very difficult, as you can imagine

  • Growing up, I was raised 150 percent normally

  • I was my parents first child

  • and when I was born the doctors told my mom

  • your daughter has a no amniotic fluid around her, at all.

  • So when I was born it was a miracle that I came out screaming

  • the doctors told my parents, we just wanna warn you

  • expect your daughter to never be able to talk, walk

  • crawl, think or do anything by herself.

  • now its first time parents you could think that my parents would say

  • Oh, no

  • why why are we getting our first child to have

  • all these unknown problems.

  • the first thing they told the doctor was we want to see her and we're going to

  • take her home

  • and love her in researching the best of our abilities

  • and that's what they did.

  • I credit pretty much everything that I've done in my life to my parents. My dad is here

  • with me today, and my mom is at home watching "Hi, mom!"

  • she is recovering from a surgery. She has been the glue that held her

  • family together giving me the strength to see that she's going through so much

  • but she has this fighting spirit that

  • she's instilled in me I

  • That I had still proudly been able to stand in front of people and say you know what

  • I had a really difficult life but that's okay

  • that's okay things have been scary

  • things have been taught. One of the biggest things that I had to deal with

  • growing up was something that I'm pretty sure every single one of us in this room

  • has dealt with before

  • can you guess what that is ?

  • Starts with a 'B'. Can you guys guess it? - Boys!

  • Boys??

  • Bullies!

  • I know what you all are thinking

  • I should have come....why can't I sit here with them?

  • I have to deal with bulling a lot but as I said I was raised very normally

  • so when I started kindergarten I had absolutely no idea that I look different

  • no clue I couldn't see that I look different from other kids

  • I think of it kind of as a big slap of reality for a five year old

  • because I went on to school first day, decked out with pocahontas gear

  • I was ready! I went in with my backpack that look like a turtle shell

  • cause it was bigger than me and I walked up to a little girl

  • smiled at her, she look up at me like I was a monster

  • like I was the scary thing she'd ever seen in her life

  • my first reaction was - she is really rude

  • I am fun kid and she is the one missing out so I'll just go over here

  • and play with blocks ... or boys

  • I thought the day was gonna get better and unfortunately it didn't

  • The day kind of got worse and worse and a lot of people just wanted to have absolutely nothing

  • to do with me and I couldn't understand why.

  • why, what did I do?

  • I didn't to anything to them. In my mind I was still a really cool kid.

  • So I had to go home and ask my parents: what's wrong with me? what did I do? why don't they like me?

  • and they sat me down and said: Lizzie the only thing that's different about you

  • is that your smaller than the other kids you have a syndrome

  • but it's not gonna define who you are. they said go to school

  • pick your head up smile continue to be yourself and people see that you're just like them.

  • And so that's what I did.

  • I want you to think and

  • ask yourself this in your head right now what defines you?

  • who are you? Is it where you come from

  • Is it your background, is it your friends? what is it? what defines who you are as a parson?

  • it's taking me a very long time to figure out

  • what defines me. For so long I thought that what defined me was

  • my outer appearance. I thought that

  • my little tiny legs and my little arms and my little face was ugly

  • I thought I was disgusting. I hated when I would wake up in the morning and I was

  • going to middle school and looking in the mirror getting ready thinking

  • can I just scrub this syndrome off? it would make my life

  • so much easier if I could just scrub it off! I could look like the other kids I

  • wouldn't have to buy clothes that had Dora the Explorer on it. I wouldn't have to

  • buy stuff that are of dazzled when I was trying to be like the cool kid

  • I would wish and pray and

  • hope and do whatever I could to pray that I would wake up in the morning I would be

  • different and wouldn't have to deal with these struggles. it's what I wanted every

  • single day

  • and every single day I was disappointed. I had an amazing amazing support system

  • around me. who never

  • pitty me, who are in there to pick me up if I'm sad

  • who are there to laugh with me during the good times and they taught me

  • that even though I have this syndrome, even though things are hard

  • i cant that defined me. My life was put into my hands

  • just like your lives are put into yours. 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

  • let me tell you it could be really easy

  • I mean really hard to figure out what what defines you. Cause there are times

  • when I would get so annoyed and frustrated and I don't care what defines me.

  • When I was in high school I found a video

  • unfortunately, that somebody posted of me, labeling me the world's ugliest woman

  • There were four million views for this video, 8 seconds long,

  • no sound, thousands of comments. People saying Lizzie

  • please please just do the

  • world a favor put a gun to your head and kill yourself.

  • Think about that. If people told you that

  • strangers told you this. I cried my eyes out of course and I was ready to kinda fight back and

  • something kinda clicked in my head and I thought I'm was gonna leave it alone

  • 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

  • I can see out of the other. I might get sick a lot

  • I have really nice hair.

  • You guys are like the best little section right here

  • Oh I loose my train of thought!

  • okay where was I?

  • Hair! okay thank you thank you thank you

  • So I could either choose to be happy or I could choose to kind of

  • be upset with what I have and still kind of complain about it

  • but then I started realizing: Am I gonna let the people who call me a monster define me?

  • am I gonna let the people who said kill it with fire define me?

  • No I'm gonna let

  • my goals and my success and my accomplishments be the things that define me.

  • not 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 gonna 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 peesed me

  • to call me ugly and 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

  • that's what I did! I told myself I wanted to be motivational speaker

  • I wanna write a book, graduate college have my own family, my own career

  • eight years later, I'm sitting in front of you still doing motivational speaking

  • first thing

  • I accomplished it. I wanted to write a book, in a couple weeks

  • I will be submitting the manuscripts for my third book

  • I wanted to graduate college and I just finished

  • College!

  • I'm getting a degree in Communication Studies from Texas State University

  • in StMarcus and I have a minor in English I

  • really try to use real life experience while I was getting my degree

  • and my professes were not having it

  • But, I wanted to have lastly with my own family and my own career

  • and family part kinda down the line. In my career

  • I feel like I'm really doing well with it

  • considering the fact that when I decided I wanted to be a motivational speaker

  • I went home, I stand in front of my laptop went to Google

  • typed in: how to be a motivational speaker

  • I'm not even joking. I worked my butt off

  • I used the people who are telling me that I couldn't do this

  • to motivate me I use 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

  • I want to end with asking you again

  • I want you to leave here and ask yourself

  • what defines you? but remember

  • Brave starts here!! thank you

I'm really really really excited to be here

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A2 US syndrome defines lizzie define motivational told

How Do YOU Define Yourself Lizzie Velasquez (Romanian subtitle)

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    Emily posted on 2015/03/18
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