About the Author: Ashley Garcia is a makeup enthusiast, writer, disabled advocate, youtuber, and blogger. On all of her platforms she spreads awareness and normalizes disabled bodies, and creates an inclusive and welcoming space. We absolutely love Ashley and if you want to see more of her content (especially her incredible makeup looks) make sure to check out her instagram here, and her youtube!
Growing up, I always pondered on what it meant to be beautiful. Wanting to look like those images I saw on the screen and on the pages of teen magazines that I flipped through endlessly. Being born with a physical neuromuscular disorder that had no name, I wanted so badly to fit the mold that wasn’t made for me. To walk with a mesmerizing stride like those graceful long haired love interests that were a staple in all those 90s rom coms that I would watch over and over again.
If beauty was in the eye of the beholder, why couldn’t I be the beauty I saw in those images? I thought that because of my physical disability, I couldn’t reach the unattainable standard of being a Beautiful Woman... I was wrong. Over the years, I found out the things that made me question myself and my value were the very things that pushed me to STAND OUT. Just because the likeness of my atrophied hands weren’t of those reaching for their lover’s hand in the films I adored, didn’t mean I couldn’t embrace mine. That the curves and arcs I tried to hide are a unique characteristic of perfect design. A design lined by the fragments of scars that traced along my body that are part of a tapestry, one created through tears, pain and victories forming a picture that is worthy of being studied.
Yes it may not be of the norm but it is my normality. It’s just the little things of Ashley that make me, Me. It hasn’t been easy to come to this realization. There has been a lot of self-doubt and mental battles that had to be overcome. Societies’ representation of beauty is a standard all of us feel insecure about once a time in our lives, even without the help of disability to set it off. It’s ok to have days where you feel a little “not so pretty” but I’ve learned in my life I can’t let those days keep me there.
Beauty can be defined in so many ways and you have to find those ways for yourself. That true beauty comes in the likeness of your character. The things that define us that are individual and uniquely beautiful to us. There is no one else like you in the world and your beauty is found within. Being fully accepting of the insecurities and the unrealistic flaws you set in your mind allows you to see the past and realize your worth. That you are so much more than that... that I am so much more than that.
I am beautiful, this disability is a part of who I am and it is a beautiful part. Sometimes you can feel a little broken but when those pieces are arranged and delicately placed together it works to become a mosaic. I can confidently say that I’ve come to love the body I wanted so badly to change; ultimately becoming way more than those images I once saw.