A woman who's 'wobbly' talks about why the idea of 'normal' is actually pretty toxic.

"Accepting yourself as you are is an act of civil disobedience." Whoa.

What even is "normal"?

We're constantly shown pictures of what "normal" is through media, but is that accurate? And more importantly, is it helping us ... at all?

Francesca Martinez has cerebral palsy (although she prefers the term "wobbly," which you'll hear in the video below). Feelings of being "abnormal" or "faulty" seeped into her everyday life and drained her of creative energy.


If the world treats you like a mistake or an exception, how can you find your value?

But then she had a realization: Who really is normal, anyway?! Reality is completely warped on every kind of media platform imaginable. Everyone is told to push toward ideals that are often impossible, unhealthy, or unappealing. Who needs that!

She thought about how this pretend idea of "normalcy" relates to our everyday life. We're not made out of cookie cutters, but we're often treated that way, especially by the products we buy.

Think about our shopping carts, our TV screens, our status updates — how much of it has to do with creating a fictional version of our own individual reality? Could the idea of "normal" be something that's actually working against us?

Could "normal" actually be a distraction from the stuff that really matters?

Listen to Francesca's excellent speech on how it relates to the way we buy stuff, how it's affecting climate change (?!), and how accepting ourselves as we are is actually one of the most important things you can do. Like for real.

I just have to quote the last bit of her speech because it is wonderful:

"We won the lottery in life and life is such a beautiful, precious gift, and we have to savor it, because as far as we know, we are the only living things in the universe, so it is our duty to protect it." — Francesca Martinez

Share if you agree with this beautiful perspective!

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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