Melissa was a bundle of nerves, but her determination overrode them. Feeling fresh air on her hair was refreshing. A wave of euphoria took over, giving her the mental boost needed to keep going.
The demons of the past still lurked behind. Trying to catch her, she knew it was finally time to leave them behind forever.
Brian and Sharon Blake were ecstatic to learn they were expecting their first child. From the moment the couple had their third ultrasound appointment, everything changed.
It started with a concerned look on the doctor’s face as he checked the images. Calling in a colleague, it was then clear to see that something was very wrong.
The doctors both pointed out that there seemed to be “abnormalities” with the baby’s facial structure. They weren’t sure but suspected that she might suffer from some form of disability.
Not wanting to alarm the parents, they were told to follow all guidelines. All they could do now was wait and see..0
When Melissa Blake was born, doctors confirmed her parents’ worst fears. She had a rare congenital disorder known as Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome.
It usually presents with physical defects such as drooping eyelids, irregular skull, and facial-muscular development. Aside from the physical disabilities, the condition also caused other complications and sometimes lowered life expectancy.
While Melissa’s parents experienced more fear than joy at the time of her birth, she soon brought a smile to their faces. Despite her disabilities, it was clear that she was born a fighter.
Exceeding her doctor’s expectations of how she would develop and thrive, Melissa overcame every challenge her condition presented. Unfortunately, her struggles were only just beginning.
To say that Melissa Blake had a difficult childhood is an understatement. Childhood insecurities are usually nothing more than acne or being short for most kids.
For Melissa, her childhood insecurities included a cleft palate, contractures in her hands and legs, a small mouth, and a curved spine. 25 surgeries later, 13-years-old. she was just 3 feet tall.
Despite all these challenges, Melissa held her head up high and always persevered. She credits her parents for their sacrifices to care for her unique condition.
Melissa also shares a special bond with her younger sister. Melissa had defied the odds so far, but as she got older, the prognosis of her condition threw up new challenges.
Aside from the extreme physical challenges, Melissa’s parents were also concerned about her mental development and how she would cope with reaching typical cognitive milestones.
Intelligence isn’t usually affected by the condition, but Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome was ordinarily known to cause stunted cognitive development too. Melissa Blake, however, was anything but ordinary.
As she had her entire life, Melissa continued to defy her prognosis. She thrived and hit normal cognitive milestones ahead of time. As a teenager, she displayed above-average intelligence.
As an adult, she fought every adversity and achieved her dream of being a writer. Regardless of this, finding acceptance in a cruel would prove to be yet another challenge.
The internet can often be a cutthroat world. Life online is continuously shaped by the apparent glitz and glamor that most people present on their social media personas.
While countless people struggled with online trolling and bullying, Melissa was determined not to be a victim. Melissa was unafraid to be herself in a shallow world where looks equaled prestige.
For unapologetically posting pictures of herself online, Melissa was mercilessly targeted by trolls. Told she “should be banned from posting pictures on Twitter,” and physically compared to a “blobfish” were just the start.
Undeterred, her response was a vow to post a new selfie every day for a year. What she never counted on was the response.
Melissa’s initial aim was to stand up to her internet bullies. After going viral, though, her tweet instead made her an instant sensation.
After enduring years of trolling and online bullying, Melissa had celebrities tweeting her. There were also book deals and job opportunities. However, the best clap back of all was an offer to model for the New York fashion week.
The New York Fashion Week shoot was nerve-wracking, but with her sister’s help, Melissa did brilliantly. Her story became a beacon for others who struggled with disabilities, body-shaming, and physical insecurity.
Silenced by her overwhelming support, her internet bullies slinked back into anonymity. Despite all this, Melissa’s most influential moments were still to come.
Now that she had so much positive attention around her, Melissa’s two passions could be followed without limits. As a writer and freelance blogger, Melissa can now reach a wider audience.
Writing for the likes of CNN, Cosmopolitan, and the New York Times, Melissa has achieved success beyond her wildest dreams.
Given the opportunities her fateful tweet provided, Melissa regularly uses her writing spaces as a platform to raise awareness around living with disabilities and internet trolling.
A true champion of the underdog, Melissa Blake has shattered every barrier in her life. Today, Melissa continues to write, remains influential, and has become an inspiration to millions of people.