‘You are the one that decides what defines you’.
– Lizzie Velasquez.
This particular TED talk touched me in a very personal way. So I decided to share it and hopefully bring a sense of comfort to someone else who is grappling this often cruel world.
The reason it stayed with me is because I too was often labelled ‘skinny’ and people would ask me if I ‘even eat’.
This to me, was an insult.
I ate three meals (and often more) a day and was very athletic. I never skipped breakfast and was an advocate for healthy eating in life and as part of my secondary school’s sports committee. We even hosted ‘Active Girls’ breakfast’ events to promote healthy living.
Furthermore, my ‘skinniness’ lessened as I grew older and I realised that something I had been so insecure about was just a part of growing up. I was a skinny child as most children were and as I approached adolescence my body did change. But what I learnt about the world stayed with me. I knew now how it felt to be judged for something that is beyond your control.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with admiring and appreciating a person’s physical beauty, but when we start denigrating others based on how they look, something that is beyond their control, it truly does show the darker side of human nature.
Lizzie’s TED talk, although indirectly, sheds light on the way humans have begun to perceive the world. Most young people are obsessed with looks. They would go under the knife to get the physical appearance they feel they need to have to succeed in today’s world. Why? Because the world rewards beauty now more than ever before.
Our so called ‘progressive’ society, certainly has progressed in terms of taking bullying to whole new levels and failing to instil in children the sense of self worth they should have from things other than appearance.
I find Lizzie’s talk so inspiring because she touches on all these issues just through telling us her own story. She offers hope, and shows us that through our courage and strength we can define ourselves and not let the world decide that for us.
To me, this makes Lizzie one of the most beautiful people with a truly beautiful heart.