Marley Kae Antone was born with a congenital birth defect in her left hand. After 32 years of trying to hide it, she finally embraced it. Here is her story.
When I was in grade school I didn’t notice that I was different and none of my friends did either. We lived carefree as children do. One day a classmate who had been teased a lot decided to make fun of me because of my hand. It hurt my feelings and it was a catalyst for my future insecurities. Looking back on it now, I realize that he did that because he was hurting from being bullied.
From then on, I was so insecure about my hand. I felt like everyone would judge me based on that alone. It damaged my self-esteem. I bet that kid would never guess that his one comment changed my life. That one mean comment when I was so young, affected me very deeply. I can only imagine how damaging bullying is. I would hide my hand any way possible after that incident. After several years it was so natural to hide it, I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
I tried to convince myself that there were so many other people dealing with more serious issues. Who was I to feel inferior just because of a few measly fingers? As time went on I found friends who accepted me for who I am. So many kids don’t understand that what they say and how they treat each other matters. I moved on and I embraced my differences.
As an Adult, I can be thankful for that day he made fun of me because it made me the powerful, strong, emotionally in tune, helpful, humble, sensitive, good friend and person that I am today. If I saw that kid today I would thank him.
I would tell them there is a reason why everyone is born just the way they are. I used to ask “why me?”. We have a distinct purpose to shine a light and help others realize that we are all perfectly imperfect in our own way. We all have some insecurities but we need to overcome those. Our differences can bring us together. Our uniqueness can be also used as a tool to navigate around people that don’t appreciate you for who you are. It is a real test of character in of others around you.
The interview took place on 7/23/18
Let’s inspire the world – Wasilly