Take Your Hands Out of Your Pockets

When I was born, doctors told my parents I would never walk. To everyone’s surprise, I began walking at the same age as every other toddler.

I was born “different.” My hands and feet did not fully develop. I had multiple surgeries as a child, traveling often to Louisville, Kentucky to see specialists. Even though I was born with this set back, I have not let it define who I am.

As a kid, I dreaded pool parties or times I had to show my feet. It was uncomfortable. I would walk around with my hands in my pockets to conceal them. My dad told me countless times, “take your hands out of your pockets.” God blessed me with great family and friends. They continuously encouraged me to embrace who I am, and instilled self-confidence in me.

I really started coming out of my shell in high school. I had a great group of friends, who I still talk to every day. I joined the football team. It was safe to say that I was not an “all star”, but it was a great experience. I dated the most beautiful girl in school. She is now my wife. I proved to myself in high school that I wouldn’t let anything hold me down.

College began with a bang. I was accepted to a fraternity and soon after kicked out because I was “different.” I was ready to pack up and move back home. I was devastated. It was a blessing in disguise as I later joined another fraternity that accepted me for who I am. I made lifelong friends and had a great college experience.

Today is my 32nd birthday. I have a beautiful wife and two amazing daughters. I recently started a new business, and I’m consistently striving to better myself. I still have setbacks, but I push through.

To those who are struggling, keep your head up. Embrace your insecurities and be yourself. Life is too short to walk around with your hands in your pockets.