Chloe Howard stops by the studio to discuss her new book, “Stand Beautiful: A Story of Brokenness, Beauty, and Embracing It All.” Chloe shares that she was born with a clubfoot and describes the bullying and assault she faced for her appearance. She overcame it all and is using her story to inspire others.
Father Dave asks Chloe to share some of her story. “I was born a happy and healthy child, but I do have a very severely deformed foot called a clubfoot,” Chloe said. “My clubfoot was very severe. It was upside down and backwards when I was born, and I also only have three toenails total. Growing up, I was very aware that I was different. But because of my faith and the faith of my family, I grew up with what I call the Veggie Tale truths. I was told growing up that my foot was beautiful and special and that God loved me very much. I believed all of this until, at age 14, I was assaulted on my Christian high school campus because of my foot deformity. It was a very challenging time in my life and caused me for the first time to view my clubfoot as something negative. Before that, I had thought of it as a superpower. I thought of myself as different in a way that other people weren’t.”
Father Dave asks Chloe how she overcame this difficult time in her life. “I was depressed for a very long time. I was minorly suicidal. I really questioned my place in the world, and I was confused and angry. I felt really alone in what I was going through. It felt like I had been the only person ever to have gone through something this horrific. … The following summer, I happened to meet Bono from U2, and I told him about what happened to me, and he spoke to me words of truth that ultimately changed my life. He told me that every time I speak out about injustice and every time I tell my story, I speak in support of those who cannot speak for themselves. And it challenged me to give a TED Talk the following year when I was 16. As I was beginning to find my voice and learning how to understand my feelings and my truth, the idea of ‘Stand Beautiful’ was born. The idea of self-acceptance, love, and hope. And that we all need to embrace the reality that Jesus didn’t make any mistakes in any of us. He loves us for who we are, and we are all perfectly imperfect.
“There is a lot of brokenness in our world, especially at this moment in time. I am very aware that bullying these days doesn’t necessarily look like it used to on TV. It isn’t just throwing someone in a trash can or stealing their lunch money. It’s the things that are said through social media or behind phones. It’s even the things that sometimes we tell ourselves. Because of this, bullying is an epidemic, and I think that we as people, especially as children of God, can prevent this epidemic from spreading. I believe that when we feel strongly about ourselves and love ourselves, we are more inclined to love others.”
Chloe shares how her faith has helped her heal. “I actually wasn’t supposed to be born alive. Four months before I was born, doctors saw a hole where my heart should be on an ultrasound and two club feet. So, they assumed that I would have Trisomy 13 and would be stillborn. So when four months later I was born healthy and happy, yes with a severely deformed foot, but my heart was completely fine. My parents called it a miracle. That label of miracle was really helpful after my assault. Remembering that I was a miracle, and God had a plan and purpose for me. And God wouldn’t have me here if he didn’t have a plan for me, which I know is true for everyone else as well.” (Original Air 6-25-18)