I am a gift from God, with a purpose to inspire and motivate others throughout my journey in life.
When something is on your heart, just let it out. When you want your dreams to come true, but don’t know how to put it on paper. People tell me, “But Maya, you’re amazing, everyone will help you!” What happens when you’ve done all you can, you’ve asked for assistance from two different insurance companies and you go through the process only to get denied again. Yes, you become disappointed, discouraged and just want to hide, but my God never gave up on me, so I can’t give up on myself.
My name is Maya Da-Rell Anderson; I am a 23-year-old up-and-coming fashion entrepreneur. I enjoy fashion design, modeling, event production,
and graphic design. I currently work as a visual merchandiser in the retail industry. I love, love, love, love, absolutely LOVE what I do! I get to dress up mannequins, style their clothes, and make sure the spotlight is always on them. It’s like dressing up my Barbie’s, no, my Bratz doll. I’m similar to the Yasmin doll. She had the mole under her eye, which made her different than the other dolls. She had significant features and style that was different from the others, yeah, that’s pretty much me. There’s no reason to fit in because I like to be noticed, I like to be the first volunteer, I like to sit in front of the class, I’m never afraid to ask a question. Why should I fit in and be like the rest? I’d rather stand out and learn on my own.
I know you’re tired of reading, but this is the best part of my life that you should know about. I was born with one hand (a left hand), which was caused by a congenital birth defect, which occurs when the fetus becomes entangled in fibrous string-like amniotic bands in the womb, restricting blood flow and affecting the baby’s development. Let me tell you, I am blessed to be alive and healthfully born. My mom didn’t know that I had this condition until the doctor told her to push and I came out. The doctor said, “Would you like to see your baby?, but there is one thing wrong.” My mom said, “Is she breathing?” He said, “Yes!” So she said, “Then let me see her.” No one knew I was chilling in the womb with only a left hand, and I believe it’s because I am a miracle, not only to my family but to those around me every day. If you check my medical records, there is no documentation that I’m missing a right hand and I think that is because I am equal to everyone else. Just because I’m missing a hand, it doesn’t mean that I am less than anyone else. When I look in the mirror I see two hands, you may not see it but I know it’s there, I AM WHOLE.
Now that I am growing into adulthood (a college graduate living and traveling on my own), I realized how much having two hands would be a huge asset and a miracle in my life. You don’t understand how many times I injure myself at work because of loss of balance and doing my everyday routines. At work, I have to lift heavy mannequins, furniture, carry 12-foot ladders and steam clothing, but that’s nothing to me because I’m used to it and I do not use my condition as an excuse. I’m tired of burning myself because of the hot steam, I’m tired of getting cuts and scrapes on my arms because I use my right arm as a hand and keep my left hand free in case of an emergency. You don’t know what it’s like living with one hand, dropping your phone every second, can’t put your own jewelry on, having to go to your hair stylist for everything because you can’t put your hair in a pretty ponytail, so you walk around with messy buns all the time. Or the worst, sleeping with pain in your shoulders from overexerting yourself at work or having sharp pains in your wrist sporadically.
Yes, I am a champ, but sometimes a champ needs more ammo, and a hand would be a huge asset to my every day and work life. It would be my ammo, what I need to help me with everyday routines and to keep my overall health from declining. I don’t want to develop arthritis at a young age and have to stop working because insurance doesn’t want to help me. That’s why I am reaching out to you. Your help and support would make a difference not only in my life but also in the lives of the young girls that admire and look up to me.
I have to keep pushing not only for them but for my mother. Without her encouragement and love, I would not be the woman that I am today. I’m telling myself, “Maya stop crying, you can’t see the keyboard through those tears!” My momma is my strength, my courage, and my foundation. She taught me to hold my head high and strut when others give me dirty looks. She told me to speak up and sit with my back straight up. She said, “Never let them see you down, and when you're down call me and I’ll always answer because no one messes with my baby!” You don’t know what it’s like to see your mom go from healthy to going in and out of the hospital so many times because the doctor has discovered that she has Lupus. When a horrible and debilitating disease takes over your mother’s body you have to be strong. She can’t see me cry because I’m all she has, so I stay strong and keep her smiling. I am patient with her and I do everything that I can to make her proud of me. My goal is to make her proud, make her happy, and ensure her that I’ve got this!
I’ve watched my mom suffer from seizures, lung issues, teeth issues, shingles, and more. When I went away to college I excelled as I should have, but all I could think of day and night was my mom. Doctors ordered her to stop working, but her determination wouldn’t let her. She couldn’t sit home while my stepdad worked. She said, “Who’s going to pay for all these bills and expensive medicine?” I continued to make her smile and be her rock and let her know that everything will be okay, which meant that I needed to work more, I needed to do all that I can to provide for not only myself but for my mother too. You’re probably wondering about my siblings. Well, I don’t have any siblings; I’m my mother’s only child, which makes me worry even more. I can’t call my sister and ask her to do my hair, and I wish my brother was still here to go check on my mom when I’m away. So, I rely on my step-dad, who has a lot on his plate. He does all he can to work overtime, to take my mom to all of her appointments, and to make sure that I don’t worry.
I do have my Nana, and she’s a big deal and she keeps it real. “Maya you’re better than the rest,” she would tell me. “Maya, slow down you’re doing too much, Maya eat your vegetables, Maya come and try this food, Maya do you have any snacks? Maya, are you going out tonight? go dance and enjoy yourself.” My Nana is the queen of education, her way with words is effortless. After graduation she told me, “Education doesn’t stop here, get your master’s degree because I never did.” I am going to get my masters but first, I need my hand.
Also, there’s my dad whom I’m kind of named after. His name is Darrell Anderson and my name is Maya Da-Rell (Duh-Rail) Anderson. I love my mom for somewhat naming me after him. My dad is amazing, and I am so blessed to have a father who spoils me rotten. I admire him for being in my life although my mom and he weren’t together when I was growing up. When I was young he would pick me up on weekends and take me shopping because my dad is a stylish man. He bought me my first pink Barbie car, I had the nice jersey dresses, and fly sneakers. My dad is very supportive of me although I know he gets a little worried when I make big girl decisions.
I am determined and I am not giving up. Having a left hand will alleviate pain and stress to my body. I can continue working in the field that I love, finally get to experience putting my hair in a pretty ponytail, eating food while walking, texting with two thumbs, and so much more! These are the simple things in life that some people take for granted and they don’t understand why I become annoyed with my messy buns or ache with pain in my shoulders from a long day at work. I hope I didn’t make you cry and if I did I’m sure you feel my pain. Please be a vessel in my life and I will continue to be a role model to those around me. To all the young beautiful girls around the world, I want you to know that regardless of a person’s abnormalities, they too can be successful just like you.