Sunday, February 15, 2015
You've most probably have heard of Miss Velasquez already - have you not? Lizzie was born with an extremely rare condition: a congenital disease that some believe to be a form of neonatal progeroid syndrome, the like of which has affected only a few human beings on this Earth thus far in the known medical history. To the naked eye and to the common man, it appears as though Lizzie suffers from anorexia nervosa, at the first glance of her fragility; it is not the case. For one of the major symptoms of her condition is exactly that she is unable to gain weight at all: her body has zero percent body fat and so it will be for all of her days. Lizzie's condition would not be so bad if it were only that: alas, such is not the case either. There are various symptoms related to this type of condition: an appearance that falsely implies accelerated aging, a very weak immune system, the possible complications for various organs and in this wide array of possible symptoms, there is the specter of a much reduced, much shorter lifespan, indeed. In Lizzie's case, only her right eye was affected and it has been the lone casualty: she began to lose sight in it at the age of four. But she has had no other complications stemming from her rare condition - if it wasn't for the unkind human nature, that is.
In 2008, she became aware of a video someone had uploaded on YouTube - a video about her. The commenters were the harshest, cruelest there could be: mockingly, one hopes, calling for her self-destruction or... burning at the stake, as is recalled in this French account of her story. The oddest thing about all this may be that all of these hecklers are probably Trekkies, to some degree: they completely missed out on the basic message of acceptance and tolerance that Gene Roddenberry was so evidently trying to get through. The saddest thing about it, though, is that most of these people are hypocrites who would never want to be branded as such douches of cruelty in public: yet, under the allowed cover of anonymity that the web gives them, they will be totally and completely merciless to the less meritorious of such treatment. The video's title branded Lizzie as ''the ugliest in the world'' - but, of course, such abysmal cyber-bullies were only proving themselves to be the truly unsightly, unthinking, unworthiest of this world; and they were, in effect, only the instruments of a Greater Plan in their wayward web folly, which manifested itself as the most heartless form of taunting in the most popular modern public place that we are all using on a daily basis now.
For there is one other thing about Lizzie Velasquez that is extremely important: she is beautiful, luminous, incandescent soul. She believes and she knows that there is a God - and she believes and knows that He Has A Plan for her, too... In falling victim to this most heinous form of cyber-bullying, Lizzie Velasquez was merely prepared for the fulfillment of that Plan - for her destiny and life-mission to unfold. And so it did.
It began in 2008 but truly got jumpstarted in 2013 - as her unwanted renown had grown through the world wide web, people became aware of her extremely rare condition and exceptional fate. In 2013, she received an invitation to speak at TEDx and everything fell into place from that point on.
Now, the young woman ''destroyed'' by YouTube haters has her own channel on the platform - with nearly 350,000 subscribers to date. She became the instant advocate against cyber-bullying, undue harassment, leading up to her campaigning now to make it officially unlawful as it is reprehensible, through the American Senate. For that is another thing about Lizzie Velasquez: she is American-born. She is an American citizen. People who first hear her name presume she might be Mexican, or a South American somewhere where such birth defects and conditions should arise - ''not in America'' as the average all-American brute says, right? Well, no: Lizzie Velasquez was born to this world in the heart of America , the beautiful: Austin, Texas, really, in 1989. And she is the most beautiful of the whole sorry lot, without question.
Listen to her speak on the most touching topic now, HOW TO DEFINE YOURSELF: