Embracing unique qualities about ourselves is an easy concept when they come with a positive connotation…being tall, having a special talent, coming from a unique heritage, etc. but when those unique qualities come with an obstacle to overcome and a lack of understanding from others, they can make us feel embarrassed, overwhelmed, and even isolated. Maybe it’s a disease, maybe it’s a traumatic experience, maybe it’s a physical disability…no matter what, it is something you have chosen to fight, overcome, and become stronger for. It is something that you can use to teach and inspire others. Your differences can make a difference.
One of my freshman hall mates Kristy, especially personifies this message. Kristy is affected by Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which affects less than one percent of people worldwide. Not only is this condition rare, it can be extremely difficult for others to understand. On the outside, Kristy is a beautiful, enthusiastic, and healthy girl…she makes good grades, is a killer make-up artist, and is a standout on the dance team (not to mention a star on the dance floor). What people do not know about Kristy is that her blood pressure makes getting out of bed a daily battle and she often continues to be sick throughout the day. Although some days are especially difficult for her, she never complains. When she speaks about her illness, she always does it in an effort to help others understand, not to gain sympathy. Most importantly, she never tries to hide the fact that she is affected by this illness from anyone.
Recently, Kristy made a YouTube video to promote awareness, understanding, and a sense of camaraderie for people facing similar obstacles. This video is truly inspiring and informative and sets an amazing example of how we should handle the unique differences in our lives that have not been so easy to embrace, yet define who we are. By embracing these challenging differences, we inspire others to do the same…Kristy certainly has (you go girl!).