Perfectly Imperfect – An Autobiography Mia Francovich
I guess it’s best to start at the beginning! My name is Mia. My parents had me very young. When I was born on December 15th, 1986 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, I was immediately rushed by ambulance to Children’s Hospital. I was born with a rare and often fatal condition known as an Omphalocele. Four inches of intestines as well as my liver remained outside of my body. In addition, I had a radial clubbed right arm, ventricular septum defect, coarctation of the aorta, and a foramen ovale. Prior to my birth, their doctors told my parents to abort and start fresh, thinking that I had a slim chance of making it. Much to my joy (and theirs), my parents decided to keep fighting with the help of Children’s Hospital. Many surgeries ensured that I am still alive today.
Growing up, I was sheltered from the kinds of judgment and negativity I would later grow to expect from my physical differences. Between my parents and some excellent friends who I still talk to today, I was kept blissfully unaware of the banal cruelties available in society. Owing to this, I was very social coming into school age. I would frequently rely on humor to defuse and misdirect from insecurities about my arm—my most visible difference.
I recall a specific incident in Junior High, a graduating pool party where everyone was expected to be in swimwear. Until this point nobody knew that I didn’t have a belly button and I was nervous about how I would be received. Someone made a comment about me being an alien, which I laughed off. A couple of boys suggested that were it not for my arm, they would date me. Way to make a girl feel special!
My father has always said that my arm is the perfect jerk detector. Growing up my parents played different roles with me. My dad would be my comforter while my mother challenged me in many ways. She put me in every sport she could think of and I actually wasn’t too bad at them. They honestly were the perfect parents for me as one challenged me and prepared me for life and the other was there for comfort. Between their two approaches I learned self-reliance, independence, and to understand that no physical defect or difference means that I should compromise in my own search for happiness.
While knowing is half the battle, through adolescence and even today I am fully capable of falling prey to my own insecurities like anyone else. That’s why I began Perfectly Imperfect People. It started with my Facebook page, modelingperfectlyimperfect on May 11th. What started as an outlet to discuss my experiences and try to defy some expectations about beauty has seemed to really strike a chord. I talk to dozens of people daily about their own lives, their own internal and external struggles. I made a video that went viral, talking more deeply about what I’ve gone through and it has had over 18,000 views! I decided to begin work on a community to advocate acceptance and beauty despite all of the many imperfections we all have. I want to inspire others to feel beautiful, no matter what their flaws or insecurities are.
None of us are perfect; just some flaws are more noticeable. I truly hope with doing this and being proud of my scars and my arm I can inspire everyone to feel beautiful no matter what. Together we are changing the world and the stigma that comes with being born with unique differences.
Please check my page on Facebook modelingperfectlyimperfect or @modelingperfectlyimperfect on Instagram to share your story and/or join in the movement.