I’m 24 years old and I am finishing my second year of college in a couple months. I also just found out that I got accepted to university in the fall.
Did I ever think that I would get this far? Absolutely not.
As many of you know, I have a rare neurological condition called Moebius syndrome. It causes facial paralysis, speech problems and has many other manifestations.
When I was in high school, I did the bare minimum to pass my classes. I skipped a lot of classes, and whole days of school. I was a terrible student. The reason for this was that I never thought that I would amount to anything and I didn’t think that there was anything out there for me. Because of Moebius, I never thought I could be anyone or do anything meaningful with my life. I really saw no future for myself.
Then, after a few years out of high school, I got my first job. Yes, my first job. It was not a fun job, but it was a confidence booster if nothing else. I thought to myself, wow, I can do this and I did get a job when I never thought that I would be able to.
I then found out that I had been accepted to SAIT into the journalism program. My first day at SAIT was when my life changed forever. I saw it change before my eyes. I had no one at SAIT. I knew not one soul on my first day of classes. I hadn’t even met my roommate yet. I was completely on my own and that had never happened to me before.
Fast forward to a year and a half later and I have to say that SAIT has been the best thing that has happened to me, ever. It has been the best change that I could have made in my life. It wasn’t an overnight success, that’s for sure. It took weeks and months to get to a point where I could say wow, I am really happy here. But that’s where I am right now. I’ve never been happier, more optimistic about the future.
SAIT’s been nothing but good. From my amazing, supportive teachers who have never been anything but the best, to the friends that I have made here along the way. Not only are the people in my life here amazing, but I really love what I’m doing. Some things like interviewing are still hard for me but, as one of my teachers even said to me a few days ago, I have grown as a person so much in the last year and a half. Now I have university and that chapter of my life to look forward to.
My point is this, and I can’t stress it enough: Never let having Moebius (or anything) hold you back. I know that a lot of my Moebius friends absolutely don’t and are pursuing their dreams, passions and goals as I am now. My message is for those of you who were where I have been in the past. Never doubt your potential and never, never doubt that there is something is this world for you because there absolutely is. Whatever your dreams and passions are, follow them! Don’t waste years of your life like I did. Don’t spend your life in fear, sadness or despair. You have one life to live and whatever it throws at you, always make the best of it. I’m not trying to sound like a preacher here but if I can use my life experiences to help even one other person see their self-worth, then that is what I want to do. I’ve learned that if you follow your passion and find a group of supporters, you can always live a full and accomplished life. Having Moebius doesn’t bar you from having a life. It might make things a little more difficult sometimes but without struggle there is no progress. Never feel like less because Moebius syndrome is not who you are, it’s what you have. You are so much more than that.
This is all true even if you don’t have Moebius but something else is holding you back. My message is to find something that you are passionate about and pursue it! For me, it is journalism and raising awareness of disabilities. Everyone deserves to know that they matter and that they are so capable of being great and doing great things in this world.