Home » Mariana Atencio: What Makes You Special? at TEDxUniversityofNevada (Transcript)

Mariana Atencio: What Makes You Special? at TEDxUniversityofNevada (Transcript)

After fighting like a warrior, I can thankfully tell you that today my sister is walking and has recovered beyond anyone’s expectations. Thank you.

But during that traumatic ordeal, I learned there are differences that simply suck and it’s hard to find positive in them. My sister’s not better off because of what happened but she taught me you can’t let those differences define you, being able to reimagine yourself beyond what other people see, that is the toughest task of all but it’s also the most beautiful.

You see, we all come to this world in a body, people with physical or neurological difficulties, environmentally impacted communities, immigrants, boys, girls, boys who want to dress as girls, girls with veils, women who have been sexually assaulted, athletes who bend their knee as a sign of protest, black, white, Asian, Native American, my sister, you or me — we all want what everyone wants: to dream and to achieve.

But sometimes society tells us and we tell ourselves we don’t fit the mold. Well if you look at my story from being born somewhere different to belly dancing in high school to telling stories, you wouldn’t normally see on TV. What makes me different is what has made me stand out and be successful. I have traveled the world and talked to people from all walks of life and you know what I’ve learned: the single thing every one of us has in common is being human. So take a stand to defend your race, the human race. Let’s appeal to it, let’s be humanists before and after everything else.

To end, I want you to take that sticker, that piece of paper where you wrote down what makes you different and I want you to celebrate it today and everyday, shout it from the rooftops. I also encourage you to be curious and ask what is on other people’s pieces of paper? What makes them different? Let’s celebrate those imperfections that make us special.

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I hope that it teaches you that nobody has a claim on the word normal. We are all different, we are all quirky and unique and that is what makes us wonderfully human.

Thank you so much.


Resources for Further Reading:

Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of Awesome at TEDxToronto (Full Transcript)

Julien S. Bourrelle: How Culture Drives Behaviours at TEDxTrondheim (Transcript)

The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go: Jill Sherer Murray (Full Transcript)

Failing Upwards: Science Learns by Making Mistakes by Phil Plait (Transcript)

Sharing is Kindness in Action!

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