My name is Maggie, I'm 28 years old, and I have moebius syndrome. My mother told me that I was different when I was 7. I came home from school crying because a boy had made fun of me for my blank expression. The conversation was brief, I had some questions but by the next day, I was over it and onto the next episode of Saved by The Bell. Moebius has been such a small part of the dialogue between myself and my parents that my parents don't even know how to spell it. Nearly everything I know about moebius, I have learned on my own. My situation is a bit unique in that I have functioning nerves on the right side of my face and those nerves are perhaps hyper-functioning; as I grew, they grew, and they slowly moved over to the left side of my face and began to compensate for the lack of movement on that side. While it's obvious that I suffer from paralysis (especially when I talk), I am still able to smile (albeit a crooked smile) and close my mouth. It's a strange thing for me, to try and condense my life with moebius into a brief story, because living with moebius has informed nearly all aspects of my identity and how I understand the world around me. I approach people and situations with caution, always making a point to quietly observe before I step in. Why? Because, my prior experience tells me that the world can respond to something that is perceived to be different or unusual in awkward and insensitive ways. When dealing with strangers, I get a variety of responses... some of them are negative, some positive; I work in a field where I am constantly meeting new people... and sometimes these new people behave in ways that remind me that I am not flying under the radar, that I stand out because I look different... sometimes they say hurtful things when they think I'm not listening... But there are other times when these new people behave in ways that remind me that I stand out because they think I am beautiful. The gift in living with moebius is the fact that I have learned the inherent and totally essential value in radiating beauty from within; behaving with grace, maintaining character, having a good sense of humor, and loving people for exactly who and what they are. I know this might sound terrible, but I truly believe that if I didn't have moebius, I'd have a very dull personality. My family is wonderful and they have always encouraged me in everything that I do. They have provided me with the resources to become what I am today; in December, I graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts. I have studied and lived alone in Manhattan, traveled to Italy, taught painting on every level to undergraduate college students, worked as a woodshop supervisor, run a 15k, loved truly and deeply, lived life like fully and passionately... It's been amazing. I can't wait to see what happens next!--M a g g i e R u s s e l lwww.ThePollyAnnaPrinciple.Tumblr.com
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