I was born with complex craniosynostosis, which affects my skull, jaw, fingers, toes and my speech. I had operations at two months and 15 months old at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Growing up I had to go for regular speech therapy, and the craniosynostosis meant I had to have various braces and jaw braces.
I was very badly bullied at school and college due to my visible difference. I was called so many names every single day, laughed at, stared at, and told that I would never get a boyfriend due to how I looked.
As you can imagine, this really damaged my self-confidence. When it came to finishing college and finding employment I was so scared that I would be bullied – it took me a long while to have the confidence to apply for a job.
After a few years I finally had the courage to apply, thanks to my family and a company which helps people with learning difficulties get into work. During those years I built up my confidence and felt more positive about myself. A few years later I finally got a wonderful job which I’m still in now.
I am very happy in this job, and have met so many awesome people. Through my job I have made a lot of friends, and met my boyfriend. My self-confidence has grown, but sadly I do still get stared at, and there are still some very unkind people around. That can be a massive challenge for me — even more so when I do get a cruel comment or laughed at.
The comments still really hurt but I have learned to remember never to let anyone bring me down; how far I have come; how I’m wonderful the way I am; and to never let anyone dampen my sparkle.
If you’re reading this and recognise some of the experiences I’ve had, remember you are a wonderful person, you are unique, and being unique is awesome!