“I was maybe 10 or 11. I realized when I went to gym class, I couldn't touch my toes. I still can’t. I went home and I was like, ‘Ma look I can’t touch my toes,’ and she saw the hump. She started investigating and she found out I had scoliosis.
You know how if you get a cut, but you don’t see it, it doesn’t hurt, but as soon as you look at it, it hurts? That’s how it was. [Suddenly] I would get back pains, I couldn't stand up for too long. Certain positions would make my lower back start to hurt and then people started noticing it more. One day I was leaning over reading a book in class and my teacher was like, ‘Oh you have a hump on your back.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah I know, I have scoliosis.’
It was very prominent, the curve. [But] people didn’t stare or tease. They didn’t really pay attention like that.
[A] majority of things were still the same, but it was just [that] the pain was [stronger].
I’m horrible with pain. I have a fear of needles, a genuine phobia. I practically beat my mother when I had to get shots. She had to bring another nurse to hold me down. But I want tattoos and a nose piercing.
The night before [my surgery] I was freaking out, crying. The doctor, I liked him because he was good with children. There was a thing between us to wear crazy socks. Cartoon characters, skulls and crossbones, stripes. Once he had a pair of socks with Santa Clause on a motorcycle with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. That was our thing. He made me more comfortable.
[After the surgery] I was definitely taller. It was immediate. I gained, two inches, maybe. I was relieved because the surgery was finally over. [It lasted 8 hours.] I didn’t have any pain after [until] later in the night, lying in bed. Physical therapy was a bitch. The day after, [my physical therapist] was like, you have to get up. She came in, she would make me get up, I had to walk over to the chair, sit down in the chair, get out of the chair, walk back over to the bed. It hurt like a bitch because the muscles were trying to get accustomed to the pins and the rods in the spine. So I was screaming down the place. It was crazy. That hurt so bad. After that no matter what pain I get, none of that pain could match up to that.
[Knowing that it’s in my bloodline] doesn’t make me hesitant [to have children]. I just know that either they will have it or the grandchildren will have it or the nieces and nephews will have it. Somebody’s going to have it. I just have to be prepared for that, be prepared for whether they need a brace, whether I catch it early, or whether I can get a surgery for them. I would get a surrogate or I would adopt. But having children naturally, that would be a lot.
Just stick through it. It’s a deformity of your body. So it’s like, what happened in your genes? Why are you the one that got deformed. It’s gonna make or break me, so I might as well let it make me.
Every scar is a story. It has something behind it, good or bad. Mine in this case was in between. I used to be self-conscious about it, especially because it was really dark, but then it lightened up to match my skin color. The only thing is it has a little keloid on the bottom, but I actually welcome my scar because I like it when people ask me, oh how did you get that scar? I’m like oh my gosh story time! I like telling the story.
I talk to everybody because in life, you never know when you're going to talk to somebody you either make their day or they just decide to give away money to the next person that talks to them. I always have a smile on my face and say hi, how you doing, and I have a big smile on my face. I don’t know how their day is going. So I don’t know if my smile or my happy attitude is going to make the rest of their day for them. I try my best to make people happy. It’s fun. It makes me feel good inside.
Everybody has something good about them. Whether you give awesome advice, dance well. Find what makes you you, what tells your story.”
As told by Kyara