Finding My Craniofacial Tribe

I was born different. There’s no denying that. Maybe it’s not as noticeable now, but the truth is I wasn’t like all of my peers. Not completely anyways. I had appointments with reconstructive surgeons. I received copious amounts of stares out in public. And I knew the ins and outs of my local children’s hospital. It was all thanks to my craniofacial abnormality.  But I didn’t mind being different then and I certainly don’t mind it now either. It’s who I am and I’ve learned to embrace it. In high school, a teacher posed a question to my class of predominantly Caucasian students. How many of us had ever been the minority? No one raised a hand. It wasn’t until a while later that I realized I ...

I am in Control

I often wish I were quick-witted. I wish I knew what to say the very moment it needed to be said. For instance, the other night in an elevator a preteen was standing across from me, noticed something weird about my face, and ran over to her friend to whisper in her ear. Her friend then ran over to stand across from me to stare. I thought to myself: are you serious right now? I need to say something. But all I could blurt out was a very quick "I know you're looking at me!" I wish I had said something stronger. Not spiteful nor malicious, just more impactful. Why say anything you ask? Because if someone is going to be that obvious about my face, I'm going ...

Confronting My Reality – Part 2

If you haven’t already, read Part 1 of this essay for a little bit of background.   A few months ago, I found myself in another predicament of choosing whether to confront my reality or to ignore it. A friend suggested I read a best-selling book about a boy with an extreme craniofacial abnormality. She had been reading it with her students and thought I would appreciate the message, as it is similar to my own. I once again skirted around the idea of celebrating someone else’s uniqueness because I didn’t want to be reminded of mine. Was I worried I would have nothing in common with the main character? Or was I afraid of the similarities?   I finally decided to concede. The book is Wonder written by ...

Confronting My Reality – Part 1

I’ve never been one to confront my uneasiness with a head-on crash; I’d rather cautiously navigate around my feelings without leaving an emotional wreck in my wake. Believe me when I say my stoicism runs deeper than just the mask you see. With a heavy dose of irony I tell you that as vocal as I am about celebrating one’s uniqueness, there are times I avoid mine at all cost. If I’m urged to share the stage with others who hold similar life experiences, I momentarily lose interest in being a gladiator for self-acceptance. It becomes both a reminder that far too many of us share similar struggles and a realization that my hardships pale in comparison to others in paralleled circumstances. For example, the severity ...

An Open Letter to Valentine’s Day from a Perpetually Single Female

Dear Valentine’s Day, We don’t know each other well – strike that – we don’t know each other at all. Aside from the few brief times in elementary school we were forced to converge for the sake of the class, I’ve been nothing more than a bystander to you for 32 years. I watched everyone else partake in your love-induced debauchery while I stood alone all that time. In case you missed the memo, I’ve been single since day one and have had no chance to celebrate you properly (read more about that here). You heighten my awareness of that annually on February 14th. I question my value when you come to town because it seems like time after time I fail to prove that I ...

‘Cause it makes me that much stronger, makes me work a little bit harder

I finally understand the anxiety behind releasing a second album or a movie sequel. Expectations soar and you’re left wondering how you’re going to compete with your initial success, not that my last blog post was “initial.” I posted 57 essays prior to that one game-changing post. The others were meaningless compared to the brutal honesty I shared a couple weeks ago, and since I wrote that, I don’t want to return to writing fluff. I enjoyed baring my soul, but I wonder how much soul is left to bare? How can I top it? There’s my issue: I’m entirely too competitive for my own good. I always search for ways to improve. I can’t face that life isn’t a steady climb upwards. It’s a rollercoaster ...

Caught in the in-between, a Beautiful Disaster

This will be the most raw and vulnerable you’ll ever find me. It is also one of the hardest truths I will ever write. I don’t speak of it often but it controls my life more than I care to admit. I’ve tried many times to express this but I guess I wasn’t quite ready to let the world know the deepest part of me. It only makes me a sliver of who I am yet sometimes I feel it controls the reins. Many would call me hard or stoic. I would concur. I’ve worked tirelessly over the years to learn how not to cry, to build a wall around my emotions, and to never expose my heart. It comes with the territory. I’m my own ...

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