When I was a year old, I was diagnosed with minor Cerebral Palsy. Practical considerations aside, I never felt limited. Even the practical things were doable—it just took time. My parents always made me feel anything was possible. When I wanted to be a ballerina, they got me a ballerina costume for Halloween. Looking back, it amazes me that they took that open, dare I say, positively positive approach!

I felt so beautiful as a child. I was so happy to be here in the world, and I KNEW that anything was possible! Yet, the more I was in the world, the more this truth was masked and beaten up.

We tend to do destructive things when we don’t feel our own beauty. Starving ourselves, sucking and tucking, even cutting. Not only in action and the treatment of our bodies, but in mindset. We can cut ourselves down every day.

Sometime during puberty, I lost my sense of personal beauty, not at all because of my disability, but because I could see beauty in others and had trouble acknowledging the beauty in myself. For a long time, I was barely aware I lived in a body. I shied away compliments and buried my gifts. I told myself I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t beautiful. We lie to ourselves all the time. The trick is to recognize the lie and nip it in the bud. For me, my freedom as an adult came from a conscious effort to reclaim my mindset as an “anything is possible” child. From there, I was able to do a host of things I was told I could never do without a degree: teaching, performing, and I did the thing I never thought I would do: publicly advocate disability and beauty. I thought I was much too stage-frightened and  imperfect for that! And everyday (since I decided to go ahead and do it anyway), I’m so glad I was wrong!

I truly believe that as long as we live, perfection and failure don’t really exist: the key is to not give up, or give in to the lies we tell ourselves, or the ones we hear from others. You ARE more than good enough! You ARE SO Beautiful! We must claim the truth of our beauty and gifts so we live more fully, more authentically. Authenticity is far more important than perfection, that’s worth striving for. Beauty comes with it!

As we claim our beauty, We must also claim our positivity: I am Xian Horn and I am Positively Positive!

Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy serving as writer, mentor, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.” With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women.