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Maylan Chavez

Your names/a little about yourself ?

Hi! I'm Maylan Chavez, I'm 22 years old and from Miami, FL! I'm a student, patient, daughter, fiancee, and friend to all. Part time wheelchair Barbie, full-time mermaid princess. Also known as @MayTheSunrise on Instagram!

What do you do?

I'm a first-generation college graduate from Florida International University, now looking to pursue pre-med and ultimately, psychiatry! As a hobby, I participate in gaming with my favorite, Final Fantasy 14!

why did you get into that? I got into the realm of psychology when I was much younger and a significant event shattered my family. With my quickly earned maturity, I realized that so many crises and incidents could be averted if we as a society invested more in mental health. I wanted to be the person to break the known stigmas and ignorance by becoming a student in the field. And as for Final Fantasy, it is an entire community that I originally entered just to pass the time, but it eventually turned into a challenge, a refuge, and a delight. Due to my degenerative disease, I've lost the ability to do a lot of old hobbies, and gaming was my escape.

Name 3 words to describe you best?

Unstoppable, compassionate, and witty.

What struggles have you over come and how?

As a disabled woman of 22 years, I've faced more struggles than most others ever should. I grew up in a world just not built for me, and constantly broke any barrier put in my path. Thanks to my parents who never imposed limits on me, I learned to be strong even when all else told me otherwise. Through school, friendships, relationships, family, travel, and interaction, I've risen above the known stigmas, and it was as easy as accepting who I am. I love me for me, and my most important lesson was learning that disability is not an obstacle, but rather a different way of living life.

How do you stay positive and focused?

I constantly remind myself of my one, absolute truth: happiness is a choice. You must choose to be happy. Proactively, unequivocally, unfalteringly — happy. And though it will always be easier to be anything but, being happy is the only choice that is worth it. I promise you. Be happy in the face of adversity, and the sun will always shine again.

Any words of advice for future girl bosses following in your footsteps?

Be strong and compassionate. Love fully and without restraint. Tolerating isn't enough, we must open our arms to all, friend or foe. If you are disabled like me, please remember there's nothing you can't do. And if you aren't, please remember that we all share this experience called life, and there is never any difference between you or any other human being. But please, above all, never let anyone, from a person to society, impose their views on you. Be all that you love yourself for, unapologetically. Always.