How Zoë Cross from Wiesbaden encourages people who look “different” | hessenschau.de


Wiesbaden native Zoë Cross has facial paralysis. It had a big impact on her life and she was bullied and attacked. Today, she trains people who suffer from a different appearance. Journal of Resilience, Self-Love and Monty Python.

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03:57 min.

Zoe Cross and her Angry Woman’s Outraged Speech

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Zoë Cross was born in Munich and grew up in Ireland and Wiesbaden. Today, the 50-year-old lives and works in Frankfurt as a coach. She primarily addresses women with or without disabilities and can share many of her experiences. Here she tells her story:

“I was born with a condition called Möbius syndrome. Certain facial nerves don’t develop properly before birth. In my case, that means I can’t close my lips properly. So there are some things I just can’t do. , like whistling or playing the flute.. The word Möbius syndrome I also have trouble speaking. Also, my mouth is crooked, which many people find strange.

This sometimes slurred speech that comes from a disability is often a problem. This story once spread on social networks: in an English pub, the owner refused to sell alcohol to a man because he was allegedly already completely drunk. Because of the facial paralysis, he just spoke very incoherently.

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“I was attacked and bullied.”

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The different look has also greatly affected my life. Not when I was a child, my parents never talked about me having this disability. But later on, there were just many, many situations where I was bullied or attacked for it.

For example, there was often a situation where two or three boys would pass by me and call to each other: “Look what kind of girl you would be!” And it was quite clear from the tone of voice that it was not intended to be taken seriously at all. It was very painful for 13, 14 years.

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“I had my first kiss when I was 41.

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I actually heard comments like this every day, I noticed people turning away, whispering and laughing at me. It hurts a lot and can be very disturbing and prevent people from developing. I got my first kiss only when I was 41 years old.

It had a big impact on my life: I focused a lot on my career as a sustainability manager at Panasonic because I thought I would have no partnership or family. And even after I found a partner, the trauma did not stop: when a friend very proudly posted a photo of the two of us in a chat room, derogatory comments poured in.

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“I found out about my claims when I was 40 years old.

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When I was in my 30s or early 40s, it plunged me into a deep crisis, also professionally. Then I did a lot of self-care, like listening to self-love podcasts. I have learned how to deal with the stress I face every day, namely through beneficial morning exercise, meditation or reading.

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03:59 min.

Zoe Cross Maintower (2020)


Zoe Cross, a woman with facial paralysis, talks to senior staff in front of a bookshelf

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At the time, friends and good colleagues encouraged the physical symptoms to be examined by a neurologist. Since then I know where they come from and what the disease is called. I also learned that due to my disability I am entitled to a disability certificate and that I have special protection at work.

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“I reach people from all over the world.”

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It not only helped me, but also gave me the strength to help other people in similar situations. For example, I’m on my company’s job board and I help people who don’t dare to speak up for themselves. Also in self-help association Möbius syndrome Deutschland I am active

Since 2016…

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