Your story: Victoria Falcone
Categorized in: Beauty In Difference
Author: Victoria Falcone
My name is Victoria Falcone and I am a 24 year old living with Marfan Syndrome. I was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome at the age of 16. My aorta is enlarged and I have had 1 lung collapse as the major complications I have with Marfan Syndrome. I graduated from The College of New Jersey in May 2013 with a Communication Studies degree. I worked for a reality tv show in New Jersey after graduation and then worked for Nick Cannon and his production company for a year and a half. I currently work with a small production company in Manhattan and work with casting and production for their television projects. Over the last 2 years I slowly got more involved in the Marfan Community. I am a member of a support group in my hometown, Staten Island. I also volunteer at their annual gala, have attended the Annual Family conference, and assist the Marfan Foundation in any way needed. I am an open book and love telling my story in order to help others. I am very grateful to know about my condition and know how lucky I am that it is not as severe as some others. It has made me a more unique and strong person. I have also learned to love my inner and outer beauty and to love others beauty no matter what form or shape it comes in.
“What makes someone beautiful?”
What makes someone beautiful? This definitely is no easy question. But I think it is something to really think about and something everyone should deeply think about.
To me, beauty runs way deeper than what is just at the surface. I think it is so important to measure someone’s beauty for more than what is on the outside. I firmly believe that people are extremely dense and worry too much about their bodies and looks and don’t bother to see others for who they truly are, or themselves for that matter. Unfortunately a lot of it comes from the media and these images of what people deem “attractive” and “beautiful.” Once people get caught up in looks and how people look on the outside it is hard for them to see who the real person is and what kind of person they really are.
I have Marfan Syndrome and was diagnosed at age 16. Having a rare disease has really taught me a lot about myself and those close to me. It has given me strength that I never could have imagined I would have and has given me insight into how people see others and treat others. After meeting others with Marfan Syndrome and seeing how others in the world are treated whether their appearances are different or they look different from everyone else because of a disease of some sort, it astounds me. Having a bone deformity in my nose until I had surgery at 16 years old, having pectus excavatum (a concaved chest), stretch marks all over my body, having extremely lanky and long arms and legs, these are things which made me stand out from others. Thinking back now I wish I started embracing it from a young age as opposed to trying to hide these things from people.
That being said, beauty now has a new definition to me. I am able to see the world and people much differently now after realizing how lucky I am and how much worse things can be for me. People need to realize the good in people and that may not be what their face or skin look like. When I was younger and used to get bullied and teased for how I looked (features noticeable with Marfan Syndrome, even though I wasn’t diagnosed yet) I kept it to myself and let the bullies win. It wasn’t until I was much older and really started seeing myself as beautiful and strong that I was able to not let what others thought of me affect me.
There is a whole culture dedicated to women’s and men’s looks alone. It is heartbreaking to see young women and men comparing themselves to people on the cover of their favorite magazine, or who they see on TV and in movies. These images of people and videos of people are not realistic and that is what people fail to see. There is beauty in blemishes, defects, imperfections, etc. It is within that which encompasses the beauty and what people fail to believe and see to be true.
If everyone would stop judging by appearance or what they deem is “normal” people can really see the beauty inside of people which is happiness, strength, ability, all traits that come from within. I find it that people who deal with or have dealt with hardships, disease, illness, etc, are more willing to look what is inside as opposed to what the outside solely looks like. It is something I think everyone in the world needs to be able to do because it is so important. People who haven’t been teased or haven’t been through these kinds of hardships that people, like myself, with Marfan Syndrome go through have a completely different mindset.
To me people are beautiful when they have the strength to say no, when they have the strength to overcome hardship with grace, when they don’t let their imperfections or illness get in their way of living a full and happy life. There is no reason you can’t create your own happiness and as long as you are proud to be in your own skin and happy with who you are than that can be deemed beautiful.
Beautiful people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. and I think the world needs to fully see the scope of beauty that there is. Audrey Hepburn once beautifully said: “The beauty of a woman is not in the facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.”
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