inspiring

‘Flesh was hanging off the roof of his mouth. ‘Your son has no immune system to fight this.’ We were trapped inside the house for months in total isolation.’: Mom to medically complex, autistic sons urges ‘find your village’

“His lesions were so severe he couldn’t eat. Rashes covered his entire body. We had to inject him with Pedialyte every 15 minutes just to keep him from passing out. In the midst of trying to be a normal family of 3, we suffered 3 miscarriages. Here we were, emotionally and physically exhausted, still yearning for hope. Little did we know, after 11 pregnancies, baby B would surprise us with blood in his diaper at just 2 months old. We knew something was terribly wrong.”

‘Congrats! It’s a boy…and a girl!’ I was constantly accused of being gay or demonic for having both male and female anatomy.’: Intersex woman shares journey to self-acceptance, ‘For the first time, I feel whole’

“I was adopted at 13. Before then, I’d grown up in a small town with a religiously close-minded family. I was constantly told to ‘man up’ and act masculine. Yet, I looked like a girl and struggled to put my voice into a deeper tone. I’d get frustrated and cry to God, ‘I promise to act manly if you make me a normal girl in my next life.’ I prayed I could be who my family wanted me to be. I had no idea I had both male genitalia and ovaries.”

‘I was typing on a friend’s Facebook, ‘You’re so P-R-E-T…’ when I realized I was part of the problem. When did ‘pretty’ become the best compliment I could give?’: Woman urges ‘remind your friend she’s bold, brave, and inspiring’

“At one point, we were little girls dreaming of the day when we would be smart, successful, bold, brave, and strong. We would become doctors and lawyers and presidents. Then, the world told us what really matters most for girls: how we look.”

‘Can’t you control him?’ People mistake his disabilities for a naughty child.’: Mom shares autistic son with global developmental delay, ‘ We celebrate every little milestone like it’s a lottery win’

“We waited for his buggy. We had to walk through passport control with him biting, hitting, and screaming as he does when he’s upset. On the plane, he was upset and screaming. We had comments like, ‘Should have brought my headphones.’ He is, in fact, disabled and not just being naughty.”

‘You’re born with it. There’s no way I have it.’ It spread like wildfire, right on my face.’ Woman with vitiligo learns to feel beautiful regardless, ‘Love yourself through your struggles’

“They used to say, ‘’Wow, your skin is so beautiful! What’s your skincare routine? Are you wearing makeup?’ In August of 2019, my skin would take a drastic turn. My face continued to get worse. I was becoming more and more self-conscious. I would wear makeup to hide it. I had no clue I would have to change my entire life up until that moment.”

‘You’ll never get out of this hole. Just go back to your old friend, heroin.’ I spent the night in jail, tying bedsheets around my neck.’: Man who battled addiction 9 years now owner of state’s largest recovery center

“I put the sheet around my neck and waited. I just couldn’t let go. I could hear the voices in my head saying, ‘You can’t even do this right.’ When I was released from prison, my family wouldn’t take me in. After too many broken promises, they were done with me. I owed $33,000 in child support and $100,000 for my crimes. ‘You’re going to be okay.’ My prisonmates saved my life. They took me in when I was too far gone.”

‘He was born looking like he’d been in a boxing match. His face was bruised, but no one seemed very concerned about it.’: Baby is born with microcephaly, ‘I truly see Grayson as the blessing he is’

“They have been unable to find a reason why this happened. I didn’t go out of the country while pregnant, I wasn’t exposed to Zika. He didn’t have a stroke in utero, and there is no gene to blame. We had no idea there was anything wrong before he was born. His whole life has been an emotional whirlwind. I wouldn’t have chosen this for him or for us, but I wouldn’t change it either.”

‘It was pizza day in school. ‘Your face looks like a pepperoni.’ My friend got up and slapped the guy.’: Woman born with port wine stain learns to embrace her beauty, ‘I needed to be myself’

“I was born with a big Port Wine Stain, covering half of my face. They would only laser a small part of my birthmark at a time because it was so painful. My mom recalls ‘the smell of burned skin getting in her nose.’ As I got older, I felt people staring more. Adults would stop in the middle of the sidewalk. ‘Wow.’ Kids would point. ‘Look at that.’ Imagine a little girl asking a grown woman, ‘Can I help you?’ That was me growing up.”

‘I screamed, thinking surely that would make him stop. He simply whispered in my ear, ‘Just another minute.’: Male sexual abuse survivor who murdered his abuser advocates for child abuse laws, ‘Break the silence’

“I was alone with pure evil. My abuser was a man I not only looked up to, but trusted completely. I began abusing drugs and alcohol to get me through my day. This was how I was living when I ran into my rapist in a deli. A young boy was by his side, calling him the same nickname he used to insist I call him. I was a completely broken man. I did the unthinkable. I murdered my abuser.”

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