I had a fairly good childhood. I was bullied a bit in elementary school, but as far as bullying goes it was pretty mild. In high school I became sort of a floater. I wasn’t really popular. I didn’t get invited to the “cool” parties and the in- crowd didn’t spend much time noticing I was alive. However, I wasn’t really unpopular or “weird” either. I mean I was weird, totally weird, but bullying wasn’t a huge issue in my school and I wasn’t that kind of weird. I had groups of friends from a few different cliques, but I never really felt like I fit in 100% to any of them. Although I was generally liked, I felt a bit like an outsider a lot of the time. This feeling intensified as I struggled with depression and grief. When I developed asthma I inched a bit further outside of that “normal” range. I thought I understood what it meant to be the one that didn’t fit in. That was until I moved to Mexico. Now fitting in has taken on a whole new meaning.
When we are kids it seems like most interactions with adults are just endless streams of questions focusing around what we want to be when we grow up. It’s around this time when we start to think about our personalities, what we like and what we don’t like, and what we are capable of. Over the years we develop a distinct personality and we learn what makes us happy; these things begin to define who we are. Most people manage to hang on to parts of their younger selves, but slowly lose their grip on other parts, leading to the dreaded midlife crisis. Most people trade in parts of themselves for a better job, being a good spouse, or to have children; they become the husband, mother, or boss. But what happens when you are forced to focus your energy on a chronic illness? It becomes a defining feature in your life, often taking over completely.
The news is filled with horrible stories and negative attitudes and sometimes it’s hard to stay positive. But then, every once and a while, a story comes along that restores your faith in humanity and warms your heart.
Anthony Smith of Salem, N.H. is hearing impaired due to a chromosomal disorder. He has no right ear, partial hearing in his left, and wears a blue hearing aid. One day Anthony, a huge superhero fan, decided he was no longer going to wear his aid because “superheros don’t wear blue ears.” His mother emailed Marvel Comics in New York City and they responded! Not only did they send him a picture of Hawkeye from the 80s (when he lost most of his hearing and wore hearing aids), but they created a character just for him called “The Blue Ear.” The new superhero is based on Anthony and says: “thanks to my listening device I hear someone in trouble!”
Always remember to cherish the good in the world and spread the joy!
Nick Santonastasso was born with no limbs due to a rare birth defect called Hanhart syndrome. Despite being told he would have limited mobility, he skateboards, wrestles, plays the drums, and drives a car. Not only did he learn how to do everyday things with only one arm, he excels at them!
If this is where Nick’s story ended, it would be inspirational enough. Luckily for us, Nick wasn’t satisfied with just being a musician, wrestler and motivational speaker. He’s taken his disability to a new level- an ability. He calls himself a prankster, and boy does he do just that. He creates the kind of realism with his pranks that only someone with a physical disability could, and that’s why I think he’s awesome. It’s not about what you can’t do it’s all about what you can. Happy Halloween!
**This video is not for the faint of heart!**