This author got super real about what it’s like dating with a facial deformity

One of our favorite things about the internet is that it allows us to learn about the life experiences of so many varied and badass individuals. And today on, author Kristin Bartzokis opened up about living with a facial deformity, and how it has shaped her perspectives and worldview. Author of the memoir, Diary of a Beautiful Disaster, Bartzokis was born with a rare condition called Treacher Collins syndrome. This means — among other things — that the bones in her face did not fully form, leaving her with a unique facial structure.

In her interview, Bartzokis delved into how her appearance has impacted her romantic life.

"What I really think has had the most impact on me is the realization that I'm 34-years-old and I've never had a boyfriend. I've never been on a date. I've never done any of that. And part of it, a lot of it, is just me inside of my own head. That definitely comes from everything I've been through, especially as a teenager who didn't start dating when everyone else did."

Here’s Bartzokis at the gym, where she says she feels most comfortable and in her “element” (she’s an award-winning gymnast. NBD).

"strongissexy" indeed!

Bartzokis went on to share that one of her goals for the coming year is putting herself out there in the dating world.

"I signed up for the dating sites and I think I’ve just been too afraid, because it’s one of those, 'OK, do I say that I have something wrong with me?" she wondered.

“Do I say specifically what is wrong with me, or…’ kind of things. Because I don’t introduce myself in person and say, ‘Hi, I’m Kristin. I have Treacher Collins Syndrome.’ Is that what I should do? But at the same time if I don’t do that and then I do meet someone like face-to-face [without specifying I have Treacher Collins], will they think I lied to them? I guess I just don’t make an effort to find single guys.”

We can totally see where Bartzokis is coming from (because dating is HARD!), and we’re incredibly grateful she’s given us insight into this seemingly mundane part of life. Understanding and knowledge is the first step to breaking down stigma and false assumptions about others, and we’re 100% positive that Bartozoki is making a positive impact on the world by sharing her story.

In her book, Diary of a Beautiful DisasterBartzokis opens up about more of her life and how she approaches certain obstacles.

Here’s a short promo where she introduces her story:

Thank you for sharing yourself with us, Kristin! We look forward to getting to know you more through your book!