By Rebecca Drew
THIS STUNNING young woman has revealed how learning to accept her lifelong disability has helped silence her toxic and suicidal thoughts, shaping her into the confident girl she is today after having her right hand amputated at birth.
Due to complications in the womb, Molly Higgins (23) from Los Angeles, California, USA, had her right hand amputated after she was born and her left hand was severely damaged. From day one, she learnt to put walls up to protect herself from the reactions of others and has been on a mission to show people she is worth more than being identified as ‘disabled’ or ‘different’.
As a child, Molly struggled with what other people thought of her and still gets stared at in the street today but she says the only person who has stopped herself from doing anything in the past was herself and her own toxic thoughts; something she said she is fighting against.
“I haven’t known life any other way. From the beginning I had to learn how to do everything differently – there was no one else to look to for guidance, or to teach me, which made me fiercely independent and headstrong. Each new experience was uncharted, uncertain waters which I had to traverse on my own,” said Molly.
“I also learned how to put up boundaries, walls and shields to protect myself. Don’t look vulnerable. Don’t look like you’re struggling. Don’t let them know you’re hurting. Keep your guard up and make sure everyone thinks that you are fine, because you need to prove yourself, your strength, and your worth. And that’s the way I’ve lived for most of my life.
“I’ve always felt the need to go above and beyond to prove to others that I am ‘just like everyone else’. I don’t feel like ‘that girl with one hand’, but yet that’s how I am perceived to many.
“I often wonder how much of my personality has come about because of my struggles and need to prove my identity as something other than ‘different’ or ‘disabled’. I am extremely outgoing and can be pretty ridiculous and unashamed for a laugh. I am always the girl that’s down for anything and up for a wild party.
“I was given a world that saw me as a disabled, visually different girl – and said a firm no, we can’t find a spot for you here. So, I became a loud, resounding yes.
“I have learnt to have a tough skin, I have learned that others opinions don’t really matter in the long run. I have overcome so many challenges. However, I think most often our biggest struggles are the ones we put on ourselves.
“Yes, people judge me. Yes, people stare at me. Yes, people doubt my ability. But those people aren’t really stopping me from what I want. Anything I haven’t done was because of myself.
“My own fears and insecurities which have held me back from experiencing so much life. Which is why I want to fight back against those toxic thoughts and behaviours that tell me that I’m not good enough, not worthy enough, or that someone like me shouldn’t do what I want to do.
“For maybe the first time in my life, I’m starting to think that I deserve happiness and fulfilment too – even if the way I can work towards it looks a bit different.”
For Molly, confidence doesn’t come as second nature and she said that she still has her doubts and insecurities on a daily basis but said that sharing her struggles on Instagram has helped her grow.
“Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it and showcasing myself and my struggles is an important part of getting closer to the confidence I wish I had,” she added.
“It got to a point where I was just so tired of other people’s perceptions of me weighing me down constantly. There was not a single moment of any day where I wasn’t totally aware of my difference.
“Thoughts of others’ judgements held me in a grip of fear and shame that I couldn’t get out from under. I just wanted to hide constantly, and more than anything I wanted to be anyone else that wasn’t me.
“I was in a deep depression that I didn’t and couldn’t confront for the majority of my life. I was bullied, dreamt of suicide, and was really angry about the circumstances I was placed in. But I just got to the point where I was tired of hating myself. It’s exhausting.
“I resolved that it was my life and I only have one, so why didn’t I let go and ease up on myself a bit. That’s what motivated me to start being more open about my own struggles and journey, because I felt so alone for so long and didn’t want others to feel the hopelessness and isolation I felt.
“But staying positive can be really hard. I struggle daily with negative self-image, erratic moods, and depression. I have to constantly make sure I’m not taking myself too seriously and remembering the fleeting nature of everything. I try to not get too worked up about inconsequential things, which can be difficult for me because I’m an extremely passionate and excitable person.
“Life is so so short and it’s yours and yours alone, so you might as well make it a life that you want to live in.
“Being vulnerable is the hardest thing to do but I promise it’s worth it in the end. You never know how many people could be affected by your story, because you have the ability to change lives.
“Sensitivity is strength, not weakness. Be kind, always. Follow what you feel in your heart you know you best of anyone else, so listen to what she has to say. Don’t be afraid to fall in love with yourself.
“Become your own best friend. You are stuck with you forever, so start to love yourself.
“Trust your vision, trust your instinct, don’t be afraid to make mistakes or sound dumb. Take risks and be kind to yourself.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/mollyahiggins