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I Am Many Things - Tayla

I Am Many Things - Tayla
Posted in: #supportyourgirls


Tayla Clement is more than one in a million, in many ways. The 24 year old was born with Moebius Syndrome, a rare syndrome that affects just one in 3 to 4 million and impacts her facial movements. A motivational speaker and an advocate for mental health awareness, anti bullying, body positivity, self-love and acceptance, she calls herself an “all round good vibe enthusiast”. We couldn’t put it better ourselves. In the face of plenty of challenges life has thrown her way, Tayla shows us exactly what makes a confidence warrior. Here’s her story. 


Trigger warning: mentions of sexual assault, rape and suicide.


“I was born with Moebius Syndrome which is an extremely rare neurological disorder that affects my 6th and 7th cranial nerves. This basically means I have facial paralysis; my eyebrows don’t move, my eyes can’t track from left to right and my upper lip doesn’t move which means I can’t smile. Moebius syndrome is so rare that it only affects one individual in every 3 to 4 million.


The syndrome meant I was also born with bilateral talipes (club feet) which means I have little to no ankle movement and no calf muscles. When I was three and a half years old I was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and am currently an insulin pump and Dexcom G6 user!


At age 11, I had a major operation which lasted eight hours. Extremely invasive, it was supposed to be able to help me smile but was unsuccessful. About six months later, I took the first of what would end up being six attempts at taking my life.  I am now super grateful that the operation was unsuccessful (I wasn’t at the time) because it has given me the ability to use my uniqueness to help others which I LOVE!!!


Because of my syndrome and the fact that I couldn’t smile and looked a bit different to my peers, I was bullied all throughout my schooling life. In fact, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t bullied in school.  It started out as just your average name calling, and then as I got older, probably around the age of 12, it became a lot more intense. It happened almost daily in some instances and went on for years.


After many years of trauma, including becoming the victim of sexual assault and rape when I was 13 until I was 16, I was diagnosed with extreme clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and disassociative attacks (which are seizures and “child like” episodes, these occur because the brain is under so much stress that it is unable to function properly). I was told by doctors and specialists that it was pretty unlikely that I would ever fully recover and that my life was still at risk due to all the seizures I was having.  


Two years later, I was standing on a podium at an athletics stadium in Melbourne, having just thrown a distance that made me number one in the world in my classification for Paralympic shot put. Just over a year later, I would throw the shot put and break the world record.  


Due to injury, I am now spending my time using my story to help and inspire others. Doing so is honestly way more fulfilling than any medal or world record…being able to use what I’ve been through and showing people that I’ve come out the other side stronger than I ever thought possible, lights me up so much and just really makes everything I went through so worthwhile!

I am.... Confident!

Growing up, I was always bullied for being “different”, I never had an ounce of confidence in me and all I wanted was to be able to smile. In fact I wanted to smile so badly that sometimes I would have my photo taken and think that I was smiling, but then I would see the photo and would be immediately distraught because I didn’t look like everyone else.  Now, I am so confident in who I am and the fact that I can’t smile because it has given me a platform to help, inspire and motivate others. Everyone is born to be unique and different, and having the confidence to be 100% authentically me is something I’m super proud and grateful for!

I am...Strong!

Both mentally and physically. I think as a woman, we are often told that showing strength isn’t a good look for females. That we are meant to be small and petite in terms of our physical appearance and keep our opinions, our stories and our success to ourselves and to not cause a ‘scene’. I’ve always been a ‘solid’ girl with muscular, big strong thighs and broad shoulders and grown up with sport at the forefront of my life. When I would look at women on the front of magazines they would always be slim and small (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but there’s also nothing wrong with being a physically strong female. I’m proud of my strong body and my strength mentally as well. It’s gotten me through some of the worst experiences an individual can face and I am so proud of myself!

I am... Loud!

I think when you initially refer to someone as loud, you immediately think cocky, arrogant, ignorant, etc. However I’ve grown into being loud, because to me, being loud about something you are passionate about is a good thing!  I’m loud about spreading awareness about mental health, anti-bullying, body positivity and doing things that make you happy because I know it helps and inspires people.  Being loud about topics like these is something that is still quite marginalized and people are still afraid or uneasy talking about them, but the louder we are about them, the more we can normalize these subjects!

I am... Unapologetically ME!

This is something that I never thought I would be able to say when I was younger, let alone be proud to say!  I grew up wanting to be anyone but myself. I was told for so many years that being me wasn’t good enough, that I was ugly and worthless and that no one would ever love me and I believed it, until I didn’t. There are always going to be people who don’t agree with your dreams or goals or people who are mean and cruel to you but don’t let them dull your sparkle or tell you that you aren’t capable of achieving what you want to achieve!  The world needs you and your uniqueness. You were brought into this life for a reason, you are here for a reason and you are who you are for a reason. You are beautiful and enough just the way you are. Being unapologetically YOU is so empowering and if I can do it, then so can you!

Not your average superstar - thanks for telling your amazing story Tayla! xxx BNT







2 years ago
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