Hi! My name is Maria, and I am 15 years old and from New Orleans, Louisiana. I have three older brothers, so that means that I am the princess of my family. When I was in my mom’s womb, the doctors thought that I was only covering up my toes, so they did
not have any speculation as to why they were not there. When I was born, they realized that my toes were in fact not there, and my fingers were constricted. Many questions were flowing through my parents’ minds, and they were worried that their baby girl
would never have a normal life. Were they wrong!
My parents have never once told me that I cannot do something because they know I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. They raised me to never feel sorry for myself because there is nothing to feel sorry about! When I was a baby, my
parents were told that I would never be able to walk without braces. Well, that task was accomplished on Christmas Day (Can you imagine what a sight that must have been?! I must have had great timing as a baby!). One specific doctor also told my parents that I would not be able to wear shoes without braces. They tried the braces on my feet, and I took them off and threw them across the room! I was only 18 months old at the time. Although I have small fingers and no toes, I have never let anything get in my way. Fortunately, bullying has never been an issue in my life because I am completely comfortable with myself, so others are comfortable with me. When I was little, it would sometimes bother me when kids my age would stare. I much rather when they would ask me about it. When they did, I would simply answer, “Because this is how God made me.” I used to put holy water on my feet every night and ask, “God, if it is in your will, can you please let me grow toes?” I would wake up the next morning and check my progress. I could never understand why he would not let me grow toes. Finally, as I grew older, it all hit me: I do not want toes and normal sized fingers because that would make me just like everyone else! I have always been an active person. I love to dance, and I used to take classes when I was little. I also love to sing, but I am not the best. Acting is also one of my passions, along with making people laugh. I cheered for three years when I was little, and I took some gymnastics classes. I love anything that has to do with art and creativity.
Because of the differences God has blessed me with, I definitely have a lot of sympathy for those with physical or mental differences. I know what people who are different go through, and it saddens me that our world looks down on differences. I want
to make a difference in the world for this reason. I do not want to only speak for people with ABS but for all people everywhere who are self-conscience because they do not fit society’s standards of beauty. I feel that not every difference that you have is something to be insecure about but something to feel proud about. The world would be so boring without differences. I definitely love talking about my feet and fingers, and I enjoy people’s questions and curiosity. I hope to start some type of organization that focuses on the beauty of differences. I also want to talk to teens and children because I understand
about insecurities. I think it would be awesome to talk to schools because I can relate to kids because I still am one. One of my biggest dreams is to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and talk about the topics I believe in. Ellen is also from New Orleans, so it would be awesome to meet her!
The prosthesis that I wear on my feet are made by some of the sweetest people I know. Their company name is ARTECH, and they are located in Texas. I always have a great time when I go there, and I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for
prosthesis. They make the prosthesis look so life-like, and it’s truly mind blowing. I live my life by the sayings “Who needs toes?!” and “It’s okay to be different.” There will never be a day when I am not grateful for the blessings God has given me, and I hope to inspire people everywhere to take pride in their differences.