10 Things I Love About Being Disfigured. ~ Ellie Fraser

Via elephant journal
on Aug 20, 2012
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I was born with a facial disfigurement.

One side of my face is malformed. I was raised by a wonderful family who completely showered me with love and care, and nurtured me into a confident person. People who don’t know me, look at me and think, “Oh that poor girl.” I thought I’d take a moment to share a different side to my life.

I just love being me. I don’t actually see myself as ugly at all. I look in the mirror and I only see things I like about myself. I just find it so strange as I almost everyone I know, looks in the mirror and hates themselves.

Sometimes I feel selfish and conceited for being able to think positively about myself, but then I realize that perhaps it takes practice and because I was born with more to hate, I had more practice at loving myself.

Let me take a few moments to share some random things I love about being disfigured.

1) People act like I’m superwoman if I say “Hello”, or if I can do 2 + 2 = 5 . What would they say if they knew I had travelled the world on my own at 20 years old, through a third world country as a deaf blind young, white female doing some volunteer work. Yes. I did that. I stupidly thought if I conquered the world I would conquer people’s attitude, but clearly not because I still face the same, “You Can’t” attitudes. So yes, I do love laughing at people who act like I’m superwoman for doing the tiniest things. If I didn’t laugh I think I’d scream.

2) I love the weird insights I learn from being the one who challenges everyone’s visual like-ability. For example, kids love me, and I love kids. Kids are so accepting of difference and it really shows that our aversion to “differences” is not something we’re born with, but something we develop as we grow. We become much more infatuated with “sameness” as we grow older.

3) I’ve been blessed for Halloween. My costumes are free and I’m ready in five minutes.

4) I could make race car noises or do strange things like sing, “Banananas commminngg down the staiirrsss” while pressing buttons on the elevator (not that I feel inclined to ever do those things). People wouldn’t think I was any weirder than I already was.

6) People think of me when they see Leila from Futurama. Time for a new purple hair do, don’t you think?

7) When people come up to me in the streets and asked what happened to my face I can ask questions like, “Why are you chinese?” or “What’s that on your face?”.

8) No one ever forgets my name (which is useful as I often forget my own name) and everyone recognizes the one eye’d girl no matter how much I age. I even had a nurse who was in the hospital when I was born come up to me in the street. She saw me at a mall and remembered my name fifteen years later.

9) I make everyone else feel good about themselves in their bikinis because they think, “I’d die if I were born like her. That poor girl. If that girl can show her face and I’m prettier than her, I think I can win at being the prettiest girl today.” How sad.

10) Men think I’m permanently winking at them.

All in all, I love being me. I know who my real friends are. They’re the ones that glare straight back at those who gawk at me. I’m always underestimated by people who meet me for the first time and it is incredibly frustrating and patronizing, but when I’ve blown them off their feet at least I hope the next time they meet someone like me, they actually have high expectations and more respect.

Physically, I actually like my red hair and my one blue eye. I don’t mind my body, or my legs. Even though my face might not be pretty, I like that I can play piano. I have so much that I can be proud of. I love art, cooking,  writing, my dearest friends and people in the community who make my day so much brighter.

There’s so many things to love about being “different” from the norm. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, or afraid of. There’s so much to love about being human. I know everyone bitches about everything we can’t be, but sometimes we just need to focus on the things we can do.

While most people are staring at me with a disturbing false sense of sympathy, I pity them even more.


Ellie Fraser was born with a craniofacial disfigurement, profound hearing loss in one ear and severe hearing loss in her other ear. She has 20 % of her vision. She is currently studying at university and enjoy playing piano and creating artworks. She is passionate about making changing society for the better. She is active in many disability human rights groups and hopes to continue to support and offer them a degree of respect and honor as they so much deserve from us. She owes everything to her dad, who passed away just before she went overseas. She spent nine months caring for him as he battled last stages of pancreatic cancer .



Editor: Carolyn Gilligan



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16 Responses to “10 Things I Love About Being Disfigured. ~ Ellie Fraser”

  1. Dana says:

    I want to be your friend. You inspire me greatly and I wish I could meet you in person. I hope we can be penpals someday, at least.


  2. Jenny says:

    Thanks Ellen! My son has a disability and this is our life…..low expectations, lots of laughs, immense gratitude and more beauty than you can shake a stick at! Keep writing!!!

  3. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your perspective Ellen – so appreciated!

  4. Brigitte says:

    You are more brave and more authentic than I could ever be.

    I envy, with much love and appreciation, your gift of freedom.

    I was born into a family culture of perfectionism. Society’s standard of beauty was the most important attainment for the women in my family.

    I was subtlety taught that if I wasn’t the most beautiful, most thin and most perfect, my life was not worthwhile.

    When I am not feeling perfect, which is fairly often, I hide from the world, I shut everyone out because I’m so ashamed of what I look like.

    I am not physically disfigured in any way, I’m perfectly healthy in fact, but I was born with a disfigured mind and heart always worried about judgement from the outer world.

    I am always striving for what I am supposed to be on the outside. I am working on changing this but it’s a challenge and battle. But.. it’s a challenge and battle I’m willing to fight.

    It’s painful, lonely and exhausting. You are pure inspiration. You inspire me to seek your kind of freedom I so desire.

  5. CAL says:

    @Ms. Barbour: Your perspective, compassion and solid sense of SELF are a gift to us all. Thank you for shining a light for us all to follow.
    @Brigitte: Courage and blessings for your journey. Click your heels 3 times and remind yourself as often as necessary "There's no one like ME. I am Priceless, I am Brave, I am Love".

    With gratitude for EJ, its writers, editors & readers,


  6. thirtydaysofyoga says:

    Loved reading this.

  7. Ellen (authour says:

    thanks Jenny for your lovely comment and friend request on facebook. I honestly didn't think my impulsive post would actually be published I figured it would just be discarded and forgotten so I certainly got a shock when i woke up today…! Now everyone can google me and facebook me which is alittle scary but now i'm over the initial shock i'm quite excited that people are so accepting and you all seem to understand my humour without prejudice or judgement.

  8. yoga bear says:

    thanks for sharing this. Courage and or courageousness is learned by watching others, by witnessing it.

  9. kjfb says:

    Awesome lady!

  10. Nik says:

    Namaste Dear Briggite,
    You are perfect just the way you are becuase you could not be anything else as you are.
    I am sure your beuatiful in all the ways as only somone who is really lovely in all the ways could write this, though they might only suspect it. You are wonderful!. All the love there is your way!

  11. Ellen says:

    Dear Brigitte

    As Nik says, anyone would think you were lovely. As human beings, we all have strengths as well as weaknesses.

    I was not born comfortable in my own skin, especially not with the staring, pointing, and some bullying. I did have reconstructive surgery but eventually realised this was not worth the pain, I was only coing it to fit in. I realised that some things were in my control, and some things weren't, I focused on my strengths. when I looked in the mirror it started out with "Ugh I hate my crooked nose, I hate my demented ear, I hate the way my chin is sloped to one side" but then I'd ask "But I AM human, what are my strengths? what do I like about myself? " and I'd make sure to leave the mirror with the LAST mental discussion being about "strengths". At first it was really hard, but as time went on, it became progressively easier to think of the good things about myself. Why not try writing the questions on paper in unignorable print; "What are three things I like about myself?" "What are my strengths". And see what happens every day when you ask it for a few weeks. I bet you'll find a few more strengths that you didn't recognise before!

    Having said that, everyone's different and has different ways of dealing with difficulties but my point stands; twe ARE all human and we all do have strengths as well as weaknesses. We just need to take the time to really find these and focus on them more intently..

  12. Paula says:

    Deeply beautiful.

  13. Nikole says:

    She is an awesome lady! Very bright and no matter what she says or anyone else, she's gorgeous inside and out. I'm glad to have her as a friend and even more glad I know her. One day, Momma Dearest, we shall meet! <3

  14. […] 10 Things I Love About Being Disfigured. ~ Ellie Fraser. […]

  15. Ritesh says:

    "with a disturbing false sense of sympathy, I pity them even more."

    The last line sums up your attitude and everything you are. It is a wonderful write. I am going to share it with my family.
    You go girl!

    – Ritesh
    (Blue Ashtray from AP)

  16. […] facial symmetry is a big factor. Numerous studies have been conducted that show that the more proportional you are, the more […]