My story is painted on my body | Chantelle Brown-Young | TEDxTeen

My story is painted on my body | Chantelle Brown-Young | TEDxTeen


Translator: Anaë François
Reviewer: Denise RQ I wanted to start off by asking
a question to everyone in the room, and you can take a minute
to think about this question. I wanted to ask
what do you find most beautiful? And not in the world, like butterflies
and flowers, but in a person. What do you find
the most attractive in a person? Is it eyes? Do you like pretty eyes? Blue eyes? Curly hair? Long nails? Big feet? Some people like big feet. What is it about people
that we find attractive? I think that the way
that we think of beauty comes from different things like: social media, the Internet,
magazines, especially, if that’s coming from a model. I feel like those are kind
of what define beauty today. And personally to me,
I feel that beauty is in everything. Some people may say
that big feet are not cute, but there’s going to be a pair of shoes
that will look better on my size 9 feet than a size 6 foot. So, I find that there could be
beauty in everything. For example, I love your dreads! They are amazing. Your gorgeous hair, Talia. Oh, my god! I wish I could get mine to be that big. Sir, with the shiny bold head,
I think that this is amazing. That sheen, perfect! As you can see,
I find beauty in everything. And, of course: “I find beauty in everything”
is super duper cliche. Like beauty in everything. I don’t think everyone thinks
that there is beauty in everything, but the reason why I feel
that there is beauty in everything is because when I was young, I was picked on for something
that today I feel is amazing. One thing about me connects
millions of people around the world. And that is something I think
you can probably see, it’s my skin condition,
it’s called vitiligo. And vitiligo is basically my immune system
that feels that my melanin which is what makes color in your skin, thinks that my melanin is a disease, something similar to the common cold, so it fights it off, and that makes my skin turn white. I was singled out
because of this skin condition. I was bullied. I was alienated. Even by people who didn’t mean
to alienate me. For example: we would, like everyone does,
take family pictures, and my mom would bring
a little top of makeup, and it was her makeup. My mom is not the same skin color as me,
she’s much darker than I am. So, could you imagine me having
a dark paste of face, and the rest of me as like brown, white? I obviously didn’t feel comfortable, but my mom was trying
to make me feel comfortable. I was alienated. In school, I changed school in about grade 3, grade 2 and it’s already hard to make friends
when you change school especially at such a young age, but luckily I found two girls
who were willing to play with me. They didn’t really know who I was,
but they wanted to play, they wanted to check me out
and see if I was one of the cool kids. And after a few weeks of being
in that school and having those friends, all of the sudden, I didn’t have them. And I was kind of confused as to why
I was struggling to make friends. I finally did and now, where did they go? They would avoid me at recess,
they would avoid me at lunch, and I finally went up to them
one day and was like, “Guys, what’s going on?
Why aren’t you talking to me anymore?” They said to me, “We can’t talk to you anymore, sorry. Our parents said that we might catch
your skin condition.” Can you imagine how that made me feel
in grade 2, grade 3? That hurt. I was alienated,
I was embarrassed, to be honest. I didn’t know what this skin condition
was in grade 2 or grade 3. I wasn’t asked if I wanted
this skin condition. I didn’t ask for it,
yet I was alienated for it. But here’s the thing,
when I got a little bit older, I didn’t want to be in that position
anymore, I didn’t want to be bullied. So rather that taking myself out
of the position, what did I do? I became the bully. And it’s not better
on one side than the other. I can tell you,
because I’ve been on both sides. I didn’t want to be bullied anymore so I kind of took lead with those people
who were bullying and I said, “Cool, those are going to be my friends
now because I don’t want to be bullied, or on this side of the spectrum. So I guess the only side is to be
on this side, this must be the good side.” So I decided to go to that side. I would pick on kids. I would be like, “So ugly your hair!” “Ugh, who did that?” “Rude, right?” But I came to a realization that I was trying to put myself
into a mold that I didn’t fit. I mean, who’s to say that I’m supposed
to fit in a mold anyway? I can make my own. So, I decided that I was going
to take myself away from this side and away from this side,
and make my own side, and fit myself a new mold. And that mold is so cliche, but I feel that there is beauty
in everything. So, I just want to put this idea
in your head, that it takes one person to realize that there is
beauty in everything. And you don’t have to be
on one side of the spectrum or the other side of the spectrum, or fit into someone’s mold,
your mom’s mold, whoever’s mold
that you are trying to fit into. Be your own person. Know for yourself what beauty is rather than looking to a magazine
or to even me for what beauty is. Know it in your heart,
and make your own mold for what beauty is. (Applause)

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