February 24th 2015

So yesterday started with me holding babies, and ended with kids climbing all over me and a precious baby singing One Direction. This place is truly amazing. 

You can feel the love here. Whether you are feeding babies, coloring, or just sitting and talking, each moment is precious. 
I have been able to reunite with some kids and it is amazing how much they have grown. 
This is truly an amazing experience to travel and see this first hand. Plus the fact that Haiti is nearly 100 degrees hotter than at home doesn’t hurt anything. 
We have typed up stories, scanned pictures, played with lots of children, and everyday is a new experience. 
Currently we are making cookies and melting the butter out in the sun. 
On a side note: no sunburn yet! And that is surprising with the red head complexion I have. 

Saydee Robinson





Advertisements

February 23rd 2015

So yesterday I woke up at 3:30 to head to the airport, got on a plane at 6, and landed in Haiti at 2:30. I got on a plane in below zero temperatures and got off the plane to high 80’s-low 90’s.

I was on the plane with a very loud and whiny child that really tested my patience and am now surrounded by children for the next 8 days and loving every minute of it.

I’ve already got to love on a lot of children and reintroduce myself to the wonderful bugs of Haiti as well.

Haiti is a place like no other. Where you go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6-7 and are wide awake.

I am excited to see what this trip has in store for us!

IMG_6251

IMG_6290

IMG_6289

IMG_6254

February 21st 2015

I apologize for not posting today’s blog post as early as I normally do. Today I have been very busy

  • Packing
  • Taking midterms
  • Writing papers
  • Doing homework
  • Mentally preparing myself for the alarm clock going off at 3:30 in the morning.

I leave tomorrow to go to Haiti and now that I have crossed all of the homework off my to do list. I have a chance to get excited! I plan to keep you all updated as much as I can throughout this trip and post blogs when I can. Through videos and pictures I will show you the beauty that is Haiti. Before I leave, I would like to touch on some thoughts I’ve had the last couple days.

Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to meet several people with similar conditions to mine. One of the things that stuck out to me was the fact that the majority of them were homeschooled because their parents did not want them to be exposed to the bullying that takes place among peers. I was brought up going to public school, was introduced to sports, active in my community, and participated in numerous activities just as any child would be. I grew up seeing that I was different and exposed to the negativity in the world but also the positive.

There are so many positive things that came out of me going to public school. One of the most important things was that I had friends who accepted me for me. The other, which is the most important, is that I was not sheltered from reality. We look different. We have to be prepared for the world. Once we become adults, we are not going to be able to hide from the reality around us. People are going to stare and people may not take us seriously in the workforce because of our appearance. However, without the knowledge and the struggle of going through this at a younger age, how are we to deal with it as adults?

I have never once regretted the fact that my parents treated me like a normal child. I was able to dream big and believe that I could do anything I put my mind to. In reality I’ve learned there will always be people who judge me for my differences. That’s the truth. Maybe that’s Gods way of separating me from people I shouldn’t be associated with anyway. That’s just me thoughts.

Saydee Robinson

February 20th 2015

When we see a person for the first time the majority of us make assumptions about them. A person’s clothes, shoes, disposition and appearance mean something different to different people. There are the select few that are not phased by a person who looks out of the norm but for most of us we naturally jump to conclusions.

Understandably, many have made assumptions about me. I asked people on my social media to recall when they first met me and what was their first impression of me based solely on my appearance. I’m so thankful for the honesty in the stories I received. I found it interesting.

The majority acknowledged my difference and were curious. Others thought I was a special needs child. There were some that were nervous to approach me.
Imagine how people reacted after my major surgeries. Most people go through the awkward stages with bad haircuts, goofy clothes, crooked teeth, etc….My awkward stages were major reconstructive facial surgeries that left me with a swollen head ( the size of a watermelon), eyes that were swollen shut for nearly three months, and one resulting in the loss of many permanent teeth. If it weren’t for my curly red hair I would say I was not recognizable by many of my peers. Some even asked if it was really me because I looked so different.

One person I went to school with said they were nervous to say anything about my difference. They felt sorry that I had to go through my struggles but did not know how to approach me to say anything.

A member of my cohort in college says the first time she saw me I looked closed off and shy. She said that she could tell from my disposition that I was not confident with the way I looked and I had been treated negatively because of my appearance.

The people with the best reactions are children. While doing missions in Haiti, the children have never seen someone like me before so they are asking questions about my eyes being crooked and motioning me to take off my glasses to get a better look. One of the best reactions that I have ever received was a young child who asked me if I was attacked by a bear. This child was just curious and obviously had a very good imagination.

I asked my best friends the same question, what was your first reaction. All of them said that they didn’t notice and it never phased them. Maybe because they were on this journey with me. This blog post reminded me how amazing my friends really are.

My facial features are not something I can hide. Most people are going to notice. But it is how you react to your difference that will determine how people respond to you. A lot of people say once they talked to me and got to know me, they realized that I was normal.

I think this is the power that we give to appearance. One look and we create assumptions that will stick with us if we don’t choose to further our interactions with people.

I challenge you to look at people without judging them based on their appearance. I am not saying pretend not to notice, but don’t allow that difference to alter your perception of that person. Until you’ve walked in their shoes, you have no idea of the substance within their story. Chances are that person is so much more than meets the eye.

Saydee Robinson

February 19th 2015

Have you or your child ever pointed out someone who looks different? Most of us have. It seems to be a natural response to point out things that don’t appear to fit in. I’ve attached a link to the bottom of this blog that gives some excellent suggestions when being approached with this situation. I personally would have loved it if people would have done these things for me.

I don’t know if you have noticed how people with disabilities are portrayed in movies, but I sure have. Quasimodo was locked in a bell tower because of his unique appearance and was portrayed as weak. Villains are distinguished by their scars or “scary” facial features. The evil genius has an enlarged head and is wheelchair bound. The list could continue.

Does Hollywood realize that they have created a stigma? Do they realize that they have caused a lot of people to look at the disabled in a negative light? I personally have never seen a major motion picture where the disabled is the hero/heroin of the story.

I have also never seen an imperfect Prince Charming or Princess. Why can’t the character with the scars or the unique facial features have their own happily ever after? The characters with facial differences were many times the result of an evil spell cast upon them so it’s seen as a curse. We think we have made progress in the media having the first black Disney princess and the princess who doesn’t need the prince to come to her rescue. While we have taken steps in the right direction, we have so much farther to go.

I would like to challenge Hollywood to showcase the positive and beautiful being that person with the scars, the unique facial features, and the enlarged head. They have stories and I can promise you, they do not involve concocting a plan to take over the world, killing people, or destroying a city. Most likely their prince charming won’t look perfect either and that’s okay. Why does he have to be? Their stories are what I would like to see. The emotional struggles they face because of things like the media that put them in a negative light.

I have linked an awesome story to this blog. I hope you are inspired and are able to think about the story of this young child. This mom’s suggestions, regarding how to react when your child is the bully is spot on.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5890164

Saydee RobinsonQuasimodo_45

February 18th 2015

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings, and attitude regarding an offense. I think one of the hardest things to do in life is to forgive. It all depends on how big the offense is but normally, when you are hurt by someone, the first your first response is not forgiving them but most likely vengeful thoughts, or crude language.

I was brought up in a home where forgiveness was very important, not only among my family but in my faith. Matthew 6:14 says “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”. Let’s be honest though, it is hard. Why should you have to go through all of this pain and suffer and they do not? Even if you are willing to forgive, maybe they do not think they did anything wrong. Maybe the person never realized that they caused you pain. Most of the time a person does not ask for forgiveness so it makes forgiving a whole lot more difficult.

When someone comes right out and apologizes for their wrongs, it makes it easier to forgive them. Releasing the anger and the bitterness for that person instead of letting it build up is empowering. Like you are in control of your feelings. They may not ask for it, or want your forgiveness, but you need to do it anyway, if not for them, then for yourself. I have been a person who allowed my bitterness for someone to build up inside. It did not make me feel better nor did it bring out any of my positive qualities.

I’m not saying you do not have the right to be angry. You need time to process, and hurt. But it is after that, when you need to let it go. You do not have to forget. Eventually that might happen too, but just forgiving someone is the most important thing.

I feel like a truly beautiful person is a forgiving person and a person who is able to ask for forgiveness. Both are hard, but both allow you to grow and move forward.

I want to take time to again say thank you for reading my blog. I hope you are continuing to enjoy reading my thoughts and feelings. I have talked a lot about my story and defying society’s definition of beauty. I would like to do spend time answering any questions that people might have about my story and my journey. I know there are a lot of different people reading these. Some are parents of children that are on a similar journey as my own. Others are people might be dealing with bullying and want to seek comfort. Maybe you are just curious or maybe you are my family and feel obligated to read Jk, but I know even my own family has not heard some of the stories that I have told throughout this blog so for the next few days I would like to hear from you. Ask me any questions that you would like me to answer. You can comment on this blog, message me on Facebook or send me an email. The link to my Facebook and my email can be found by clicking the widget button up top.

Saydee Robinson

February 17th 2015

When skimming through my social media, there are a lot of people who seem unhappy with themselves and their current situation. I have seen several people say that “I want to move to a different city where no one knows me and start fresh, and become a new person, or a new me”. I was just like these people. As soon as I graduated from high school that is all I wanted to do, leave town and not come back.

I went away to school my first year of college. Having those three hours between me and my hometown was liberating and changed me in so many ways. However, when leaving your hometown behind because of past events and people that let you down, I will be the first one to tell you that going far away does nothing to erase past events, people and pain.

If you read any book or watch any movie where the main character is trying to start fresh in a new town, they become a better version of themselves and then their past comes back to haunt them. It is important to face it and overcome it so healing can happen. In most cases your past can be controlled by how you react to it presently. If you are hurt, you need to forgive. If you are not proud of something you’ve done, admit you were wrong and learn from it. Sweeping things under a rug does not fix the problem.

My story is no different, like I said, moving away for that year made me more confident and happy with myself. I came out of my shell. I did not want to lose that person I became. After I moved back home, I had to face the past events and bring everything back into the limelight to heal and overcome. It is not as easy as just leaving it all behind. You can leave, but you will have to come back and face it to make a full circle of recovery.

I feel like I am almost healed from the past. I do not think that we ever forget past events. They were important aspects of our lives that shape who we are. But coming full circle and being able to learn and grow from those events is how we know we are healed. In movies, you can see the changes in the characters face when they find themselves, their reactions, their smiles, their emotions, they all are more genuine. I can see that in photos of myself. In the last few years, I smile more and I smile bigger. I look genuinely more happy than what I was before. I am not finished healing but I can say that I am getting close.

Saydee Robinson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA