Tuesday, February 17, 2009

look ma, no hands!!!

just an fyi - i have a new post up titled look ma, no hands!! at filipina moms blog about jessica cox, an inspirational speaker who recently got her pilot's license despite being born without arms.

ok. full disclosure? i like my sensationalist tv... while the kids nap and after watching an hour of hysterical B movie horror reality tv (so not kidding), one can find me wide eyed and slack jawed watching.... inside edition...

i blame my lola and her addiction to soap operas...

anyhoo... there i was (slackjawed, wide eyed) and taking in the latest of celebrity meltdowns and random animal attack news when an inspirational segment aired about an armless pilot named jessica cox.

from her website:

"Born without arms, Jessica now flies airplanes, drives cars, and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands. She holds the title of the first person without arms in the American Tae Kwon-Do Association to get a black belt and the first woman pilot in aviation history to fly with her feet. She graduated college with a degree in Psychology and is pursuing a career as an international motivational speaker!"

here's the inside edition segment:

the segment aired a while ago, but i just found out today after a random google search that jessica is a mixed filipina with a filipina mom.

admittedly, i have conflicted feelings about news stories like this. i worry that tv shows will exploit truly inspirational individuals like jessica not unlike the carnival carnies who hawked tickets for a fairgound freak show.

but then again, as someone who grew up "different" (with a facial deformity) and without any role models, i want jessica to be more visible and successful as a motivational speaker and hope that more tv shows feature her to encourage those of us born "disabled" or "handicapped" to get beyond our fears and embrace our "otherness" and dream and acheive our biggest dreams.

personally, i let many superficial fears get in my way... i would often sell myself short or even self segregate myself from others or activities in a strange attempt at self preservation. i'll never know if i had seen/heard or met someone like jessica... if that would have changed my perspective on what my future could be...

i consider myself very lucky to have my own filipina mom as a strong role model and an energetic and stalwart cheerleader. although she believed (and still does) that i could do anything i could dream of doing, i always second guessed her and blamed her maternal bias for her confidence in me. in many ways, on a daily basis, my own weaknesses remind me of my mother's strength and her faith and i contemplate how it is that someone like me came from someone like her...

thank you, jessica for reminding me to conquer my fears... thank you, jessica's mom (and dad) for raising such a heroic young woman.... and thank you to my mom for everything - for being there when i woke up from surgeries, for finger combing my hair in the dark, for showing me how i could triumph thru adversity with my humor and creativity... ultimately, i'm a work in progress... and still really trying to be you when i grow up...


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