OTHERS

I Am More Than A Statistic

Other

Kristen DeAndrade

Height is just a measurement

I’m more than a statistic, 1 in 40,000. I’m a daughter and a sister. A woman living with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.  A condition that some see as a basis for ridicule. There’s more to me than people know. I’m a lover. A fighter. A rule breaker. A woman determined to change how the world views differently. Don’t judge my story (or anyone else's) by the chapter you walk in on. Some days I’m strong. On others, I throw my hands up and sit in my valley of lows. I have been through some serious shit and I don’t always let it show. I take on the world one day at a time with sass in my stride, glitter in my veins and love in my heart. I am rather dramatic, often talking with my hands. I am bold and don't mind standing out; this is coming from a woman who’s been kicked out of a bar for glitter-bombing the dance floor. Bubbles are one way to my heart; in a bath or a glass of champagne, please. Explosive, peeing your pants, I can barely breathe, laughter, fuels my confidence. When I laugh there are no boundaries; I am unapologetically myself, the boundaries separating me from society — erased.

Height is just a measurement

I don’t care how long your legs are, you can only take one step at a time. My steps are small, thoughtful and backed by purpose. They constantly lead me further and further outside of my comfort zone. The result can be messy. And there is always magic within that mess. My scars tell a story. Superficial proof of perseverance. When I’m feeling rebellious – an extravagant tale of how I was attacked by a Great White might become my explanation of a stranger’s very concerned question, “What happened?!” All in good fun, of course. What really happened is the story of a girl who began the pursuit of a more functional future at the age of twelve. Sometimes I get caught up in this story that I am stuck, with no way out. It’s never true, my inner light burns bright, showing me the way. Pain is something that I am really good at. Physical or emotional. I expect it. I tolerate it. I hide it. I know it. And I take full responsibility for it.

little legs and a big heart

In this lifetime we have been gifted one body, or soul suit as I love to say, and one voice. This journey, living, is a consistent practice of discovery, through trial and error. We learn to speak as infants, making noises and understanding how to communicate our needs. But our voice, the one we come to find later in life, what leads us to our dharma, it stays dormant until you are ready to own it. When you find it, you’ll know. I've found mine and I know how to use it. I strive to motivate people, no matter what their story is, to stay positive in the face of adversity. A true story, one of authenticity, has the potential to heal as much as modern medicine. Connections are best made by revealing our weaknesses, challenges, and failures; WE ALL HAVE THEM. My insatiable curiosity and desire for authentic connection are what fuel my love for friendship and helping others. I am an agent of change. I challenge the status quo. I am also a yogi; one who is far from the mainstream individuation of a practitioner seen on present-day social media. These days, the only posture I have perfected is savasana. Defining people instills limitations; putting them in a box, giving them a label. Yuck. I am beautiful, not in words or looks but by simply being. There are as many shades of different as there are of people. I am learning to ignore the harsh words, stares, and laughter. I choose to embody an unfu*kwithable, compassionate and loving spirit. I am dropping the judgment and embracing the now; what is. 

All strong souls need strong souls in their life, especially when you’re on a path of deep healing. Yes, we all have to do our own work AND when you have a courageous, honest being [or beings] who ride the ups and downs with you, it serves as an incredible source of inspiration. Grateful am I for those who have joined me on this path and for those whom I walk alongside as a witness to their journey. 

Individually we are capable. Together we are unstoppable. My name is Kristen. I have little legs and a big heart. I am enough and so are you.

EMPOWER OTHERS!

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