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以前看到过她的照片,还觉得怎么会有这样的人存在,直到知道了她的故事......
她叫Lizzie Velasquez,美国德克萨斯人,现年27岁,身高1.57米,体重不到30公斤。她早产了4周,出生时体重只有1.2公斤,还患上了马凡氏综合征和脂肪代谢障碍,这一罕见病症全球只有3例。
她拥有传说中“怎么吃都不会胖”的体质,天生“零脂肪”。但却不是众人羡慕的对象,她的同学们一看到她就害怕。在学校被欺负,在路上被盯着看...都是家常便饭。
她的体重一直只能维持在26公斤左右,相当于一个8岁女孩。尽管她一天要吃60顿饭,每隔15分钟一顿。她的右眼完全失明,还有其他许多生理缺陷,比如骨质密度疏松、免疫系统低下等等,频繁进出医院就是她的日常生活。“我讨厌它,因为它让我的生活充满痛苦。”
Lizzie在17岁那年,点开了一段名为“世界最丑女人”的视频,发现影片里的最丑女人就是她自己。这条才8秒的视频,在Youtube上被观看了400多万次,被踩了1万多次。
10多年过去了,如今的Lizzie再也不会被流言蜚语束缚,她活的非常自由。面对旁人的讥笑,和大街上的异样眼神,她开始走到对方面前,向对方赠送名片打招呼,“嗨,我是Lizzie,请你不要再盯着我看了”。
她也已经原谅了10年前在网上辱骂她的人,“我不知道他们经历了什么,虽然我的生活很辛苦,但他们可能经历更糟糕的事。”
面对先天的缺陷和人们的歧视,Lizzie说:“与其独自落泪,我选择乐观面对,将病痛视为祝福,去改变自己和他人。”
她成了一名出色的演讲师。建立了自己的YouTube频道,拥有超85万订户。但不同于她的攻击者,她却是用自身的经历去在激励别人。
世界上"最丑女人"的TED演讲
只有你可以定义你自己!
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I'm really, really, really excited to be here.I kind of want to tell you。a little bit more of the - I don't want to say basics -because we really don't know anything about my syndrome.I was born with this very rare syndrome,that only two other people in the world including myself, that we know of, 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.
今天能够站在这里,让我感到非常的雀跃。我想告诉你们关于我的病--我不想说一些基本的--因为所有人对这个综合症一无所知。我天生就患有一种很稀有的综合症,这世界上,只有另外两位,包括我在内,知道我们罹患这样的综合症。基本上,这个综合症使我无法增重。是的,它听起来的确很好。我可以在任何时候,任何地方,大吃大喝,并且不会长胖。
I'm going to be 25 in March,and I've never weighed over about 64 pounds in my entire life.When I was in college, I hid -well, I didn't 'hide' it, everyone knew it was there -
but it was a giant tub of Twinkies, donuts, chips, Skittles,and my roommate would say, "I could hear you at 12:30 am,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.
今年三月,我将会成为25岁,而我的整个人生里,从未有体重超过64磅的时刻。我在上大学的时候,我试图掩藏-好吧,我没有掩藏,所有人都知道它的存在--我所说的它是一大包的奶油夹心饼,甜甜圈,薯片以及彩虹糖。而我的室友会说:“凌晨12点半的时候,我能够听见你——伸手到床底下拿食物吃。”但是我说:“你知道吗?那有什么?我完全可以这样做!”因为这是这个综合症的好处之一。
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.A lot of people think,Lizzie, how in the world are you saying there are benefits when you can only see out of one eye?Well, let me tell you what the benefits are ,because they are great.I wear contacts--conTACT. Half-off conTACTS.
无法增重有它的好处。视力有缺陷有它的好处。身材娇小也有它的好处。很多人认为,丽兹,你怎么会说,只能用一只眼睛也有它的好处?好,让我告诉你那些好处是什么。因为它们真的很不错。我能够佩戴隐形眼镜。一个隐形眼镜。
When I wear my reading glasses: half-off 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 or to some gym, and say,Hi, I'm Lizzie. I will be your poster child.Put my face on whatever you need, and I will say,'Hi! I used this program. Look how well it worked.'
我佩戴眼镜时,也只需要一只眼睛的度数。当有人因不礼貌而惹怒我时,请站在我的右边。那就像你根本不存在一样。我不会知道你站在那里。现在,如果我这样站着,我不会知道,这个场地里还有这个角落。还有,因为身材娇小,我可以——到健身房说:“嗨,我是丽兹,我会当你广告的代言人。把我的脸放上去,而我会说,嗨,我使用了这个课程,看看它的效果多么惊人。
Even though there are 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% normally.I was my parents' first child.And when I was born, the doctors told my mom,Your daughter has 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 want to warn you: Expect your daughter to never be able to talk, walk, crawl, think, or do anything by herself.
虽然这个综合症能够带来很多很棒的事情,但是,其中也有非常困难的事情,正如你能想象的。在成长的过程中,我的父母一直将我像正常的小孩一样养育长大。我是家里的第一个孩子。我出生时,医生告诉我母亲,“你的女儿没有羊水的保护。”完全没有。所以我能够嚎啕大哭地来到这个世界,本身就是一种奇迹。医生告诉我父母,“我们想让你们做好心理准备, 你们的女儿可能永远无法自己走路,说话,爬行或者是做任何事情。
Now, as first-time parents, you would think that my parents would say,;Oh no. Why? Why are we getting our first child with all these unknown problems?But that's not what they did.The first thing they told the doctor was,We want to see her, and we are going to take her home and love her, and raise her to 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!
初为人父人母,你会认为我的父母会说:“为什么?为什么随着我们第一个孩子的到来的,是这些如此棘手的问题?”但是他们并没有这么说。他们告诉医生的第一件事,就是"我们想见她。我们会把她带回家。好好爱她,并尽所能抚养她长大。”他们真的这样对待我。我将我这一生的成就都归功于我的父母。我的父亲今天就在现场,而我的母亲在家里看着。嗨,妈妈!
She's recovering from surgery.She has been the glue that's held our family together,and she's given me the strength to see that she's going through so much,but she has this fighting spirit that she's instilled in me,so that I have proudly been able to stand in front of people and say,You know what? I've had a really difficult life.But that's okay.That's okay. Things have been scary, things have been tough.One of the biggest things that I had to deal with growing up was something I'm pretty sure every single one of us in this room has dealt with before.Can you guess what that is?It starts with a 'B'. Can you guys guess it?Audience: Boys! Lizzie: Boys?
她正从手术中恢复。我母亲一直是维系家庭的粘合剂。看见她经历这么多事情,给了我很多的力量,因为我继承了她那勇于奋斗的精神,所以今天我才能自豪地站在众人的面前,说:“你知道吗?我的日子过得很艰难。但是没关系。没关系。事情是很可怕,很煎熬。”其中一样事情在我的成长过程中,我必须面对——我确定——在这个房间里的每一个人都曾经经历过的——你们能猜出来那是什么吗?它是以'B'字母开头的。观众:“Boys(男孩)!” 丽兹:“Boys(男孩)?”
Bullying!I know what you all are thinking.Why can't I sit here with them? I had to deal with bullying a lot, but as I said, I was raised very normally,so when I started kindergarten,I had absolutely no idea that I looked different.No clue.I couldn't see that I looked different from other kids.I think of it as a big slap of reality for a five year-old,because I went in to school the first day, decked-out in Pocahontas gear.I was ready!
欺凌!我知道你们在想什么。为什么我不能和他们坐在一起?我常常会面对欺凌事件,但正如我所说的,我像正常人一样被抚养长大,所以当我开始上幼儿园时,我完全没有意识到,我长得和别人不一样。完全没有。我看不见,我和其他小孩有什么不同之处。对于一位五岁的小孩,我觉得那是来自现实的一巴掌。因为在入学的第一天,我穿着宝嘉康蒂风的服装。我已经准备好一切!
I went in with my backpack that looked like a turtle shell because it was bigger than me,and I walked up to a little girl and smiled at her,and she looked up at me like I was a monster,like I was the scariest thing she had ever seen in her life.My first reaction was,She is really rude.I am a fun kid, and she's the one missing out.So I'll just go over here and play with blocks. Or boys.I thought the day would get better, and unfortunately, it didn't.The day got worse and worse. 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 do anything to them!In my mind I was still a really cool kid.
我带着我的背包,因为它的体积比我还大,所以看起来像乌龟壳——我走到一个小女孩的面前,向她微笑,她抬头看了看我,仿佛看见了魔鬼——好像我是她在生命里看过最可怕的东西一样。当下,我的反应是——她真没礼貌。我是一个非常有趣的小孩, 没能和我成为朋友,是她的损失。所以,我干脆到另一边玩积木,或者和男生一起玩。我以为,日子会变得更好,但是不幸地,并没有。日子越来越难过。很多人只想和我没有任何关系, 而我无法理解当中的原因。为什么?我做了什么? 我什么也没对他们做过!在我心里,我依旧是一个很酷的小孩。
I had to go home and ask my parents,What's wrong with me?What did I do? Why don't they like me?They sat me down and said,;Lizzie, the only thing different about you is that you're smaller than the other kids.You have this syndrome, but it's not going to define who you are.They said,Go to school, pick your head up, smile,continue to be yourself, and people will 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 person?It's taken me a very long time to figure out what defines me.
我只好回家问我的父母,“我身上有什么不对劲的吗?”“我做了什么?为什么他们都不喜欢我?”他们让我坐下,然后说:“丽兹,你和他们唯一不同的地方,只是你比其他的小孩娇小。你的确罹患了一种综合症,但它无法定义你是谁。他们说:“到学校去,抬起头,微笑。继续当一个真正的自己,人们就会看见你和他们其实是一样的。”所以,我真的这么做。我想在座的各位想想,然后自己问自己:“什么能够定义你自己?”你是谁?是你出生的地方吗?是你的背景吗?是你的朋友吗?到底是什么?作为一个独立的人,是什么能够定义你自己?我花了很长的时间,才找到我的定义。
For so long I thought what defined me was my outer appearance. I thought that my little tiny legs,and my little arms, and my little face were ugly.I thought I was disgusting.I hated when I'd wake up in the morning when I was going to middle school,and would be looking in the mirror getting ready, and 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 other kids; I wouldn't have to buy clothes that had Dora the Explorer on them. I wouldn't have to buy stuffthat was 'Bedazzled', when I was trying to be like the cool kids.
有很长一段时间,我一直认为,能够定义我的是我的外表,我以为是我那弱小的双脚,弱小的胳膊,和我丑陋的面孔。我觉得自己令人厌恶。每天醒来,我非常讨厌准备上学的时刻。我会看着镜子,想着:“我可以将这个综合症除掉吗?如果能够将它除掉,我的生活会轻松很多。我可以长得像其他小孩一样。我不需要购买印着‘征服者朵拉’的衣服,我不需要为了成为很酷的小孩而买一些能取悦别人的物品。
I would wish, and pray, and hope, and do whatever I could so I would wake up in the morning and be different,and I wouldn't have to deal with these struggles.It's what I wanted every single day,and every single day I was disappointed.I have an amazing support system around me,who never pity me, who are 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 can't let that define 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 who decides what defines you.
我会祈祷,希望有一天,当我早上醒来的时候,我会变得有所不同,那我就不必为这些困难所烦恼。每一天,我都如此祈求。而每一天,我所拥有的,只有失望。我的身边,有着很强大的,支持我的力量他们从来不会同情我,但是当我难过时,他们会在我身边。会和我一同欢笑,他们教会我,即使患有这个综合症,即使日子很难过,我也不能让这些事物定义我。如何生活下去是由我掌控的, 就像你们才是掌控自己如何生活的人。坐在前座驾驶汽车的是你,只有你自己才能决定车子到底往对或是错的方向行走。只有你,才能决定是什么能够定义你自己。
Now let me tell you: it could be really hard to figure out what defines you, because there were times when I'd get so annoyed and frustrated, and say: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 over four million views to this video; eight 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,if strangers told you this.I cried my eyes out of course, and I was ready to fight back and something kind of clicked in my head,and I thought,I'm just going to leave it alone.
要找到什么能够定义你自己,真的很难.因为,有时候当我真的很愤怒时,我会说:我不在乎到底什么能够定义我自己!高中的时候,我发现了一个视频,很不幸的,那是关于我的视频,视频上对我的定义是‘世界上最丑的女人’。这个8分钟的无声视频有超过4万的点击量,上千的留言,其中有的网民说:
丽兹,请你,请求你,为这个世界做一件好事,请你把枪放在你的太阳穴,然后一枪崩了自己。”你们想想,如果有人告诉你们这一番话,是陌生人告诉你们的一番话。当然,我哭红了双眼,我也准备好如何反击,忽然,我的脑海里闪过一个念头,我想:“我不会执着在这件事上。”
I started realizing that my life is in my hands.I could either choose to make this really good,or I could choose to make this really bad.I could 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, but I can see out of the other.I might get sick a lot, but I have really nice hair. You do, you do!Thanks.You guys are like the best little section right here.
我开始发现,我的生命掌控在我自己的手里。我可以选择,让我的生活变得很好,或是让它变得很糟糕。我可以心怀感恩的张开眼睛,珍惜我所拥有的,然后让那些我拥有的定义我自己。或许我的一只眼睛无法看见这世界。那又怎样? 我还有另一只。我或许常常生病, 但是我拥有很健康的头发。观众:你的确有!丽兹:谢谢!你们是这个房间里最好,最贴心的一群。
You made me lose my train of thought!Okay... where was I?Audience: Your hair!Hair! Hair. Ok, ok, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.So I could either choose to be happy or I could choose to be upset with what I have and still kind of complain about it,but then I started realizing:Am I going to let the people who called me a monster define me?Am I going to let the people who said, "Kill it with fire!" define me?No; I'm going to let my goals, and my success, and my accomplishments be the things that define me - Not my outer appearance,not the fact that I'm visually impaired,not the fact that I have this syndrome that nobody knows what it is.
你们甚至让我忘了下一句要说什么!好的。。。我刚刚说到哪了?观众:你的头发!头发!对,对,对,谢谢。所以,我可以自己选择要很快乐,还是为我所拥有的感到难过,并且抱怨。但是,我想:“我要让那些喊我是魔鬼的人定义我吗?我要让那些喊着“用火把她烧掉”的人定义我吗?不,我会让我的目标,我的成就,成为定义我的事物——不是外形,不是我的视力问题,不是这个根本没人知道的综合症。
So I told myself I'm going to 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 teased me,who called me ugly, who called me a monster was to make myself better, and to show them:You know what?Tell me those negative things,I'm going to turn them around,and I'm going to use them as a ladder to climb up to my goals.That's what I did.
所以我告诉自己,我会拼了命的努力,做任何我能够做的,让自己变得更好,因为对我而言,能够报复那些取笑我的,嘲讽我的,说我长得很丑的,说我是魔鬼的人的最佳方法,就是让我自己变得更好,从而证明给他们看,你知道吗?你们对我的那些负面想法,我会反过来利用他们,把它们当阶梯一样使用,好让我能够更接近我的目标。我是这么做的。
I told myself that I wanted to be a motivational speaker,I wanted to write a book,graduate college, have my own family, and have my own career.Eight years later, I’m standing in front of you,still doing motivational speaking.First thing, I accomplished it.I wanted to write a book; in a couple of weeks I will be submitting the manuscript 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 San Marcos,and I have a minor in English.
我告诉自己,我想成为一个激励别人的讲师,我想写一本书,我想从学院毕业,拥有自己的家庭,拥有自己的事业。八年后,我站在你们的面前,依然到处举办讲座。第一件事,我做到了。我想写一本书的目标,几个星期后,我将会交上我的第三本书的手稿。我说过我想从学院毕业。不久前,我毕业了。我将从圣马科斯的德克萨斯州立大学获得传播学的学士学位,我将从圣马科斯的德克萨斯州立大学获得传播学的学士学位,而我副修的专业是英文。
I really, really tried to use real-life experience while I was getting my degree, and my professors were not having it.I wanted to have, lastly, my own family and my own career.The family part is kind of down the line, and my career part,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 sat in front of my  laptop, went to Google, and typed in:How to be a motivational speaker.
我尝试用我真实生活的经历,来拿到学位,但是我的教授没有因此而让我轻松过关。最后,我想拥有自己的家庭和事业,家庭是我的计划中的最后一部分,但是关于我的事业,我认为我做得还不错,因为当我决定我想当一位讲师后,我回到家,坐在电脑面前,在谷歌的网页搜寻了:“如何成为一个励志讲师。”
I'm not even joking.I worked my butt off. I used the people who were telling me that I couldn't do this to motivate me.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.Now 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.
我不是在说笑。我非常的努力往我的目标前进。我将别人对我的否定,转换成激励我的动力。我利用他们对我的负面评语来鞭策自己继续前进。利用它!利用那些在你生命中的负面能量,来让你自己过得更好,因为我向你保证,我保证,你一定会战胜他们。今天结束以前, 我想让你们做一件事,我要你们在离开时,问问自己,到底什么能够定义你自己。但是切记:勇气从这里开始。谢谢。
前段时间,Tik Tok流行过一个#FaceTimePrank的恶搞活动。
一些父母从网上下载了被认定“相貌不正常”的人的照片,假装告诉孩子是新学期的老师,来观察他们的反应。
发现小朋友一副或惊讶或手足无措的表情,整蛊成功的大人竟然开怀大笑,而反应越是激烈的,播放量和点赞数则越多。
美国著名演说家Lizzie Velasquez的照片,也被家长们拿来吓唬孩子了。
患有先天性罕见疾病的她,骨瘦如柴,毛发稀疏,右眼失明,龅牙,冷不丁地看到,确实会被她的相貌吓到。
当Lizzie发现自己还有其他人的照片被当成恶作剧作弄孩子时,她马上发布了视频呼吁:“我希望所有成年人都能教导孩子,对于‘长得比较不一样’的人,不应感到害怕,而是保持同理心。因为长相去嘲笑别人是不对的,这一点都不好笑。
Lizzie之所以声嘶力竭地强调千万遍,不要以貌取人,是因为她从懂事开始,就无时无刻不在承受精神和语言上的霸凌。
刚出生,Lizzie就吓到了妇产科的医生,她降临到人世间的第一秒,就已经被嫌弃了。
但好在父母从未对她有过任何偏见,给她铸造了一个温暖的避风港,告诉她,长成这样,不是她的错,只是不幸生了一种怪病
Lizzie患的是极其罕见的“新生儿型类早衰症”,这个病导致她的衰老速度比别人快。
她每天几乎隔15分钟就得进食,一天要消耗掉5000—8000卡路里的热量。然而,她不能吸收营养,体内脂肪基本为0%。到四岁,她的右眼就看不见了,左眼的视力也受损。
可即使如此,被父母保护得很好的Lizzie,度过了还算开心的童年。
直到17岁那年,她的视频被陌生人传上了YouTube。
那支标题为“世界上最丑陋的女人”的影片,播放量超过了400万,成千上万的留言,都在若无其事地嘲笑她的长相。
甚至有人轻飘飘地开玩笑:“Lizzie,拜托你为这个世界做一件好事,请你把枪对准你的太阳穴,然后一枪毙了自己。”
原本Lizzie受到的伤害,只限于一个小圈子,但通过互联网放大之后,无数的谩骂从四面八方涌过来,无缘无故地被推上了风口浪尖。
一开始,她想逃避,可躲起来根本解决不了任何问题,只要一想到那些污言秽语,就抑制不住的难受。
既然无法当缩头乌龟,她选择了站出来勇敢面对。
Lizzie开始到处做演讲,亲自撕开伤疤,向所有人坦诚相待:无论美还是丑,都不是攻击别人的理由
而她也发现,越是坦坦荡荡地说出自己的想法,嘲讽讥笑的声音就越小。
也正是在一次次的演讲中,她给许多有相似经历的人,找回了自信,自己也变得愈加开朗乐观。
Lizzie从来没有想过,自己瘦小脆弱的身体能迸发出这么大的能量,影响到那么多的人。
假若一开始,她选择沉默,或许不到一个星期,骂她的人早已忘记骂过谁,唯独自己耿耿于怀。
面对网络霸凌,软弱只会让无知者变本加厉的猖狂,继续下一次无意识地作恶。而站出来,虽然反复在伤口上撒盐会很痛,却是一次次涅槃重生的经历。
如今,已经有超过1100万的听众,收听了Lizzie发表TED演讲,她拍摄的记录片《勇敢的心》,订阅人数高达86.5万人,她的经历曾鼓励了无数濒临崩溃的人。
有趣的是,当初让她痛不欲生的,是键盘侠肆无忌惮的诋毁中伤,而现在,她也通过互联网的方式,姿态高昂地重新出现在他们面前。
正应了那句话:凡是不能击倒我的,终使我更加强大
如今,被骂是“全世界最丑的女人”的Lizzie,也收获了幸福美满的爱情。那些骂她是丑八怪的人一定不知道,她其实谈过好多次恋爱,众多的追求者中,不发大帅哥。
寻寻觅觅后,她最终找到了约定要厮守终生的那个人,对方不在乎她长成什么样,只关心彼此是否相爱。
“当我们白天靠着穿衣打扮武装自己,回到家卸妆后,脱下外套躺在床上,那时的你还剩下什么呢?只剩内在、真实的个性,还有你的价值观,这些才是对我们而言最重要的事。
Lizzie的这句话,望大家共勉,提醒自己千万别做那种,人前光鲜亮丽,背后却刻薄恶毒的人,善良、正直、勇敢等等一切美好的品德,永比虚有其表更重要。
她被称为世界上最丑女人
却比所有人都美丽!
↓↓↓ 上下滑动,查看演讲稿 ↓↓↓
Hello, everybody.I want you to do something with me really quick.
I want you to all think in your head, remember the time -- because I know every single one of you in here have done this -- when you're procrastinating doing homework and you're procrastinating by listening to music on YouTube.
Now, you know, when you're looking at YouTube, and you are watching a video, there's "related videos" on the right-hand side of the screen.
I want you to imagine that you are listening to some random song and you see a little picture on the right-hand side that looks pretty familiar.
So, you click on it.
And what you see is something that will change your entire life.
Now imagine if you clicked on the video, and you realized that somebody posted a video of you, and labelled it "The World's Ugliest Woman," or "Man." Think for a second.
How would you feel? How do you think somebody would feel if they found that? I will tell you, because it happened to me.
And the moment I found this video, I was given two options.
I could either choose happiness, or I could choose to give up.
Now being in this situation isn't something that's new to me, because I was born with a very, very rare syndrome.
There are only 3 people, including myself, that we know of that have this syndrome.
I am 24 years old.
I've never weighed over 62 pounds in my entire life.
I literally could eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and not gain weight.
Now it might sound pretty amazing.
It is.
Let's just be honest.
(Laughter) But I am so small and I look very different from other people.
So as you can imagine, when people see me and they have never heard my story, they don't know who I am they know nothing about me, they see me and they think, "What's wrong with that girl?" "What eating disorder does she have?" "Why is she so skinny?" From the second I was born, the doctors prepared my parents to expect absolutely nothing out of me.
They said I wouldn't come out crying.
They said I'd never talk, I'd never walk, I'd never crawl, I would literally accomplish nothing in my life.
And my parents said, "You know what? We're going to take her home, we're going to love her, and we're going to raise her as best as we can." (Applause ) So, that's exactly what they did.
They raised me completely normally.
I was a cute kid, I'm not gonna lie.
(Laughter) I was so small that my parents had to go to Toys “R” Us to buy me doll clothes, because regular baby clothes were way too big on me.
If you go like this, that's the size I was when I was a baby.
I personally don't remember, but that's what my parents told me.
I grew up completely normally, so normally to the point that, when I started kindergarten, I had no clue that I was different.
I couldn't physically see that I looked different from the other kids.
I unfortunately had to find out in a way that I like to think of as a big slap of reality for a 5-year-old.
I am sure you guys know the feeling, the night before the first day of school, when you are super excited, you have that like anxious feeling in your stomach, because you don't know who's going to be in your class, if you're going to make friends.
That's what I felt.
I had my full lunchbox, my matching bow, my ruffled socks, ready to go.
I walked in on the first day, and I saw a little girl reading a book.
I walked up to her, and I smiled at her, and she looked up at me like I was the scariest thing she'd ever seen.
And my first thought was, "She's rude.
I'm a fun kid.
She is missing out." (Laughter) So I let it go, and the rest of the day, unfortunately, didn't get any better.
No one wanted to play with me, no one wanted to stand by me.
No one wanted to have a single thing to do with me, because I was different.
And again, I couldn't understand, because I was raised so normally.
So, going to the playground was hard.
I remember climbing up to the top of the playscape, wanting to go down the slide, but there was a long line.
And, as soon as I got up there, everybody moved.
And you would think, “Yeah, VIP to the slide." (Laughter) But they were moving because they were scared of me.
So that's when I had to go home and ask my parents, "What is wrong with me? Why doesn't anyone like me? I'm just like them." And my parents encouraged me to go back to school, be myself and eventually they'll see that I am just like them.
And that's exactly what I did.
So again, at such a young age, I was forced to be in a situation of, I can either chose to be happy, or I could choose to give up.
Luckily, I chose to be happy.
As I grew up, I started making a lot of friends.
I am pretty funny.
So I made a lot of friends really easily.
And once I started making friends, my friends started becoming my body guards, per se.
When people would come up to me and kind of tease me and make fun of me, which happened often, they would come up and say, "This is my friend Lizzie, you know.
Be nice to her, she is pretty cool." And luckily, it worked.
As I got older, I, of course, had to deal with a lot of bullying.
Luckily no physical bullying, but a lot of name calling and stares.
And so I felt self-conscious, a lot, even though I was so young, because I didn't look like the popular girls.
But I again continued to be myself.
During middle school, I did cheerleading.
I was a flyer.
You could've seen how high I went up in the air.
(Laughter) I'd realized that I was the people person.
I loved being around people, I loved talking to people, meeting new people.
So I joined every organization that I could think of: high school cheerleading, yearbook staff, newspapers, theater.
I hate acting.
I won an award in a play.
I was doing all of these things, and, once I got to high school, I was at a very high point, and I felt really good about myself, until the day I found the YouTube video.
This video is 8 seconds long.
It had no sound.
It had over 4 million views, to this one video, that was 8 seconds long.
I scrolled down, and there were thousands of comments on it, telling me I should kill myself; If people see my face, they will go blind.
So I thought, "Those people...
How could they? They don't know me.
They know absolutely nothing about me." So again, I was put in the position: choosing happiness, or to choose to give up.
And in that moment, I didn't want those people to define who I was as a person.
I wanted to tell them off, I did, but I told myself, "Lizzie, you are going to prove to these people that they're not going to win, and they're not going to hold you down.
So, at this point, I am deciding, "How am I going to get my 'revenge'? What am I going to do?" I am a very goal-oriented person.
So I decided to set four goals for myself.
I decided I was going to be a motivational speaker.
I was going to write a book, I was going to graduate college and I was going to have my own family and my own career.
I made these goals when I was probably a sophomore, beginning of junior year.
2013 will be my eighth year of motivational speaking.
I told myself I wanted to write a book.
I never thought I would be like, on Harry Potter, or Twillight level, but I knew I want to write a book.
My first year of college, I published my first book, called "Lizzie Beautiful," in English and Spanish.
I never thought it would happen, but I ended up writing my second book, and it came out this past October, called “Be Beautiful, Be You." A couple days ago, I got an e-mail from my publishing house with a release date for my third book.
I told myself I wanted to graduate college.
And this May, I will be getting my degree from Texas State University.
My fourth goal was to have my own family and my own career.
The family part, down the line.
I am only 24.
The career part, I feel like I have got in a good jump on it.
So now, I am faced with: "What's next? What am I going to do?" One of the biggest motivations for me to accomplish all those things was that YouTube video.
Every time I was sad, every time I doubted myself -- you may think this sounds kind of crazy, and you're thinking, "Why?" -- I would go back to that video and I would look at every comment, every hateful comment, and it was fuel to my fire to keep going.
Every nasty comment made me want to work even harder, even harder.
It's kind of funny timing, because my mom said, "Well, your goals are pretty much going to be all done.
What are you going to do now? Are you going to take a rest?" And I said, "No, are you kidding? Why would I waste my time? My next goals are going to be even bigger." But that bad video was finally taken down.
So I thought, "Great! Things are looking up.
Life is pretty good." This past Sunday, as I was preparing for this speech, I started getting a lot of Tweeter notifications.
And when that happens, my heart sinks, because I never know if it's something bad.
Unfortunately, it was something bad.
Somebody else posted another bad video of me.
This person had over a million subscribers to his channel.
He googled my name in his video, had horrifying music playing when the search came up, and all his subscribers started googling me, and sending me really hateful things.
My dad's always told us you could have your one good cry, and then you have to pick your chin up, smile, and move onto the positive.
I had my one good cry, I smiled, and I said, "What great accomplishment is this video going to lead to?" I told myself, "Lizzie, you are going to show these people that they're not going to define you." I am not going to let the people who stared at me, the people who called my ugly, the doctors who said I would never accomplish a thing...
They're not going to define me, and they're not going to win.
I kind of looked at this whole battle of “The World's Ugliest Women” versus me, and I realized the best revenge is with your accomplishments.
So yes, I won. Thank you.
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