Growing up and having such a rare condition I didn’t see much of anyone who looked like me. Because my difference was so obvious it made me feel self-conscious I constantly felt like I didn’t fit in. I always compared myself to other girls I would see in school, magazines, and TV shows and because my beauty didn’t look like theirs I felt ashamed of mine. Instead of embracing my difference, I did everything in my power to hide it. In my mind I just wanted to be normal.
Nevertheless, I came to a point in my life where I grew tired of rejecting and hiding my difference. I was sick of trying to fit into the norm when I knew I wasn’t ever going to be normal. I knew that deep down inside even though I didn’t have a face like everyone else there was something beautiful about me. I just needed to figure out a way to find it; and that’s exactly what I did. I began to change the outlook that I had of myself no longer seeing myself as the girl with no ear or a crooked face but a girl with something unique. I then started a blog series entitled Beauty with a Twist. I came to the realization that although my face isn’t’ typical, it is beautiful and my beauty is worth sharing with the world. In making the conscious decision in accepting who I am I began to find purpose in my difference.
In accepting my difference and disability, I now make it my mission to become and advocate and voice in my community. It is my desire to create platforms that voice the stories of disabled persons and their families. In creating these platforms such as digital magazines, blog communities, television networks etc. that cater to disabled persons, we can progress more in advocacy and gain more acknowledgement from the non-disabled communities. This will positively help the disabled community because it will bring in more publicity and awareness for disabled persons. I not only have a passion to share my experiences with other children and families who have conditions similar to mine but I strive to educate others around me on the importance of diversity and inclusion. That despite my apparent limitations, I want the world to know that people with disabilities can use their difference to positively impact the world in a greater way.
Rasheera Dopson is the founder of Beauty with a Twist organization. Our mission is to provide a community that Esteem, Empowers and Educates individuals and their families who are affected by facial differences and disabilities. As the founder, I believe it my purpose to share my experiences in living with a craniofacial condition. I aspire to motivate and encourage persons of the disabled and non-disabled community to use their differences to change the world. You can read more from Rasheera on her blog.