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Cleft-Craniofacial Community Stories

Tamala Coleman

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My Birth Story

CPF’s August 2010 Story of the Month, Tamala Coleman
Tamala Coleman

My name is Tamala J. Coleman, and I was born in 1968 in Nurenburg, Germany where my father served in the U.S. Army. I weighed about six pounds and was my parent’s first child. I was lucky and blessed to have had only one operation. As I grew older the cleft was not bad at all, but walking around normal as a little child was not easy. Growing up was like a masquerade, trying to cover up what I thought looked bad or what my little mind thought was not acceptable among my peers. It was difficult to try to be a friend to my peers when they could not see through my looks. Children can be very cruel and unkind when someone looks different or a person does not match societal standards. I realized that looks do not make a person, nor does it make them less of a human being than anyone else. I’m sure other children born with deformities have felt the same way prior to operations or just in their everyday lives. I have learned to count my blessings.

I’m not sure what my parent’s thoughts were when I was born or when they took that first look at me. I don’t know if they knew exactly what caused the cleft, all I know is they loved me as their child, and that’s all that counts. I must say I did not allow the deformity to keep me from pursuing a dream of writing or of becoming a mother and wife. I continue to be a blessing to others and work to encourage others with my story. My hope is that someone will grab hold and know that they are beautiful not only inside but outside too!

CPF’s August 2010 Story of the Month, Tamala Coleman
Tamala at a book signing

I am a published author, and I enjoy encouraging others through words. Before I could do this though, I had to believe it could be done. I had to develop the courage and ability to do it. My looks do not define who I am, where I can go, or what I can become, but they do confirm that I am only human. The way we are born just confirms that we are unique people. Although some people may need a little fixer upper, differences are great rewards in the end.

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2010