My sagging skin was my biggest insecurity, amongst other side effects. I would later learn this was due to the rarity of my disorder type. As I got older, my discrepancies started to show more and more. The majority of people who had noticed assumed I had gone through some type of weight flux, which resulted in my “stretchy skin.”
I’ll start out by saying I was not always comfortable or accepting of my disorder, Ehlers-Dalos syndrome.(a connective tissue disorder that inhibits the body’s ability to produce collagen) Growing up, my family did not think there was anything specifically wrong with me, especially with it being branded as an invisible illness. I was consistently pushed to the sidelines when trying to cope and learn about the effects of Ehlers and my future with it. I was diagnosed around the age of 10 but had noticed my skin as early as the age of 7.
When I started my journey I knew I was struggling and knew I needed someone to help me break through. Yasmin was with me. I stated how unhappy I was, how I wanted to try to love myself and learn about my disorder – I just didn’t know where to start. Her statement to me changed my attitude. She responded, “This is what I have been waiting to hear for a very long time. Your disorder is beautiful. It’s what makes you, you. Only you can change your mindset and love yourself.” I had heard statements like this before, but for the first time ever, I didn’t doubt her.
Upon serious self-evaluation, I realized my insecurities caused me to lack any confidence, which had an impact on all of my social and personal relationships. I observed that hating certain parts of myself and body triggered my unhealthy mindset, which others sensed as well. This outlook transferred into a majority of my friendships/relationships, which then made them incapable of reaching their full potential.
I promised myself from then on I was going to be true to myself, love my body, love my disorder and most importantly, love myself.
I believe the scars and discrepancies we have are reminders to the world of what we have been through as individuals. We should not be urged to “cover them up” or “remove them” but instead glorify them!
I aim to break society’s transparent barriers of perfection. Barriers that subliminally tell us all to be perfect in all aspects of life, work, social and personal interactions. “Be this skinny and you’ll be happy,” “Buy this and you’ll be happy,” “Look this way and you’ll be happy.” Really? It is the imperfection that makes us perfect and is where true beauty lies. A reminder we all need: love your body, love yourself, be gentle with your body, be gentle with yourself. We are our own real life warriors. Our bodies tell a story that no one else has, a literal vessel of the struggle we as individuals have gone through – a vessel to be praised, not shunned.
My mission is to show the world my own imperfections to aid others on the journey to self-love. Real beauty lies within ourselves. The beauty only seen on the outside doesn’t count, but what matters most is on the inside. By reinforcing the mindset that our imperfections are real and beautiful, I hope to lessen the journey and struggle of others on the road to self-love.
I can honestly say I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.
I believe deep down that God put me on this journey for a reason. I will not stop until my voice and the voices of the EDS community are heard, and I will continue in my efforts to change society’s visions of perfection within our fashion industries in the U.S. and around the world.
I aim to be one of the first recognized models with Ehlers-Danlos.
You’re different. People don’t know how to react or how to accept someone who doesn’t follow the crowd… They are not used to someone who doesn’t try to fit in — So instead of bolstering your uniqueness, they’ll try and make you feel like you’re weird or damaged. I’m here to offer some well earned advice : Screw them.
Wear your stripes with pride, my loves.