Chloe Howard was born with a clubfoot. This meant enduring much corrective surgery and not growing up walking and running freely with her peers. From a young age, Chloe learnt to deal with physical and emotional suffering. Her parents wisely instilled in her the belief that she was born special and that God has a beautiful plan for her life. With the love and support of her family and community, Chloe shone her special light despite her difficulties. This was until she was subject to the injustice of physical assault and bullying from fellow teenagers. Stripped from her position of security with her unique being, her confidence in herself and her faith in people fled in a simple day. Clouds settled over her bright self as she processed her experience and learnt that the very thing that made her special was in fact what made her feel ashamed.
Standing beautiful comes naturally to this wonderful youth and Chloe reveals, that despite being born with a congenital deformity, she has tapped into what makes a person beautiful. An inspirational meeting with Bono of U2, encouraged her to use her voice. He helped her understand that when she speaks truth, her voice will be supported by the voices of many. Making herself available for God’s work enabled her healing to begin, her confidence to return and gave her the strength to tell others her story.
We are privileged to share the story of this brave young woman, whose courage and wisdom is beyond her years. She helps us remember that whether we are born with or without a blemish, with or without a defection or deformation, true beauty radiates from within. Thank you Chloe for the essence of you that you share with our readers here:
About my Life Mission | To help others embrace their uniqueness and STAND Beautiful.
My Definition Of Success I I think success is standing beautiful and celebrating your uniqueness wherever you are. When we are able to embrace ourselves in whatever state we are in, we learn to love ourselves and that leads to emotional healing and, ultimately, leads us to living a more successful life. Success is trying something that is out of your comfort zone and believing you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. I grew up really shy, so I consider it a success that I was able to give my TEDx Talk. However, I believe that I still have so much to learn so I continue to strive to speak my truth which has helped others on their journey of transformation.
My Highlights | As a freshman in high school, I was victim of assault due to a congenital deformity I was born with. I began to see myself as imperfect and powerless. However, I was able to prove that I am stronger than my perpetrators when I testified in front of a judge, the perpetrators, and their families, and I began to feel empowered by speaking the truth. Also, I managed to give a TEDx Talk as a sixteen year old – before I even got my driver’s license. I was the only youth chosen to speak at TEDx Santa Barbara and also was honored to be the keynote speaker and kick off the day.
Principles, Values and Ideologies I Live By I Since my assault, I’ve been living based on the idea that we are all beautiful and special not despite our differences, but because of them. I believe this is a valuable concept because it completely changes our perception of both ourselves and of others. When we start living like we were meant to live – embracing the way we are formed – we reach our full and complete potential.
I’m also a Christian, so I believe that Jesus loves me and died for me and that when He puts obstacles in our lives, He equips us. God tells us that we are made for a reason, and I am doing my best to live that out.
Dealing With Doubt | I deal with self-doubt, fear, and negativity by choosing to overlook my imperfections and instead see myself as beautiful and imperfectly perfect. I doubted myself after I was assaulted and felt useless, worthless and powerless. However, I slowly was able to see myself as beautiful, and worth so much more than how my perpetrators made me feel. I started writing the word “beautiful” over one of the scars on my foot, and in doing so made the choice to redefine how I saw my foot and myself. I wrote the word on myself so often that I began to associate my foot with beauty, and slowly began to believe it. In this way, I was able to conquer self-doubt.
There has been a positive knock-on effect from turning my doubt around. I have received numerous emails from others stating how my story helped them get through a rough patch in their life. For example, after speaking at one of the churches I was invited to, a young girl with a Clubfoot came up to me with tears in her eyes and told me that hearing my talk inspired her to stop hiding her foot from people.
Now? I want to change one more person on this Earth, and then another. There are 7 billion people right now on this Earth that feel broken and alone and imperfect – so I’m going to do what I can to reduce that number. I want to reach as many people as I can.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | I had the opportunity to meet Bono of U2 the summer after I was assaulted, and I worked up the courage to tell him my story. In response, he told me that my voice is powerful, and that whenever I speak I become the voice for those that cannot speak for themselves. This advice changed my life, as Bono inspired me to become the budding activist that I am now.
I Am Inspired By | I’ve always been inspired by Bethany Hamilton and her story. She is a professional surfer who was bitten by a shark and lost her arm, but didn’t let that stop her; she went back in the water and is now not only a professional surfer but also a motivational speaker. Her story, in a way, inspired me to “get back in the water” in my own life: start speaking about the very thing that had made me feel so powerless.