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Student Blog

Bridging the Emotional Gap: Living with Craniofacial Differences


There’s an inner angst or pain that comes to the forefront when trying to live life with a facial difference. It just does and can be triggered either by people looking at them as if they’re completely from another planet or they are the children of the damned.

Why does this happen?

Because society worldwide has certain constraints around how people’s faces should look. You know, the nose should be just right, the eyes, the lips…everything is supposed to be like anatomy class showed you in high school.


Passion Led Us Here

If you ever get a chance to ask someone about their life’s journey from birth to where they are in the moment, then you are going to hear about surgeries, doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, failures and successes. Hmm, it kind of sounds like a regular human experience (health matters aside).

Here’s a “big secret” for you to grasp: People with facial disabilities are real people. They have emotional struggles that can manifest into shame, fear, isolation, loneliness, happiness, joy, bliss, love, and a myriad of other emotions.

The human condition is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. 

People with facial differences are going to have struggles, yet the struggles don’t define them. 

They are a canopy of colors and flavors that bring out the best in them.

Many people see pictures of non-repaired craniofacial cleft lips and cleft palates and come to the conclusion that everyone born with it is stuck with the stigma forever. It is a part of their story but it does not define them totally.

I’d encourage you to go and sit down with someone who has “walked the walk” with a facial difference. Listen to their story, see the courage and strength they have within themselves, and look for the similarities in your own life.

Pretty soon, you’ll come to find out that people with facial differences are filled with more love and passion for living because they know about pain and anger. They learn to transform their pain into joy. 

We are Worthly of Love

It is the journey through an emotional mountain range that brings their humanity to the world and makes everyone’s world a lot brighter. 


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Joe Rutland

Joe Rutland

Joe Rutland is an author, speaker, copywriter, and podcaster. His work has been featured in large-scale publications around the world. He's the author of five books, including his latest, "CleftThoughts: Emotional Musings From The Facial Difference World," now available on Amazon."

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