Ever since she can remember, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Velasquez has dealt with cruel bullies. But her life did not only get difficult when she entered the school system and had to contend with hateful, spiteful bullies. Her life started with a struggle. She was born in 1989 with a weight of just 2 pounds and 11 ounces. Doctors were so worried that her parents would reject her, they brought a Polaroid photo of the newborn baby to the parents first, so they could be mentally prepared when they met little Lizzie for the first time, which the parents rejected, demanding to see their baby.
Since then, Lizzie has dealt with all sorts of contempt from people who don’t like her because of the way she looks. Some have called her the “Ugliest Woman in the World,” which is cruel beyond measure. Others scoff at her when they look at her. Others still cross the road when they see her coming, so they don’t have to be near her. People are cruel, and Lizzie understands what it is like to be the object of this cruelty.
Lizzie was diagnosed with a rare congenital disease called Marfanoid-progeroid-lipodystrophy syndrome. This condition prevents Lizzie from accumulating body fat, along with other ailments. Since she has nearly 0 percent body fat, Lizzie needs to consume a lot of food to keep her body fueled. On an average day, depending on her level of physical exertion, Lizzie consumes about 5,000 to 8,000 calories.
Besides struggling with the body fat issue, Lizzie is also blind in her right eye and visually impaired in her left. Her condition is incurable and is something she has learned to live with. Not only has she lived with the effects of it, but she’s turned her life lessons into a career motivating others.
Lizzie grew up with no one around her looking like her. This was a difficult thing for her to endure. However, Lizzie seemed to be born with a sense of optimism that has helped her cope with the struggles she’s faced all her life – not to mention the unthinkable cruelty her bullies have repeatedly inflicted upon her.
However, Lizzie’s life took a dark turn when she was seventeen. She found a short YouTube video calling her the ugliest woman in the world. When she clicked to watch the hateful video, she could not believe the comments people wrote about her.
One comment said, “Why would her parents keep her?!”
“Kill it with fire!” another person wrote.
She read the comments and cried.
“I cried for many nights. As a teenager, I thought my life was over. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anybody about it. I didn’t tell any of my friends. I was just so shocked that it had happened.”
But it did not keep her down forever. In 2013, she decided to do something to fight back against her bullies. She delivered a motivation TED talk at TEDxAustinWomen titled “How Do YOU Define Yourself.” It was her personal revolt against her bullies, and she came out the winner.
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