A man born without a jaw was bullied his entire life for being different, making him feel “worthless” compared to others. However, Joseph Williams says he found love after suffering decades of pain.
According to the New York Post, the 41-year-old shared his story with Cater News Agency, hoping to inspire others who may be experiencing similar struggles in their lives.
The Chicago native was born with a rare congenital disorder, otofacial syndrome, caused by a mutated gene that left Williams unable to speak or eat with his mouth. In addition, he uses sign language and a feeding tube.
“Dating was also hard for me because I had such low self-esteem and felt worthless, but when I started believing in myself and realized I deserved more, I ended up finding my wife,” he said.
Williams said he thought he would be single for the rest of his life until he met his partner, Vania, 39, in 2019.
“We were friends at first, but we eventually started dating and fell in love,” he told Caters News Agency. “We got married in 2020. I’m sure people would never have expected me to get married. To be honest, I didn’t think I would either.”
The welder said people would run away from him or treat him differently based on his disability. While he contemplated suicide, Williams said he continued to push through and rely on God to uplift his spirits.
“There is a reason that God made me like this” helped him through the tough times. “He gave me this load because he knew I could carry it,” he explained.
Instead of pointing and staring at him, Williams said he wants to encourage others to ask him questions about his rare deformity.
“People stop what they are doing to stare at me, and it gets annoying. I’ve even had one guy stop his car, turn around and drive by just to look at me,” Williams said. “I just wish people would speak to me and ask me questions rather than looking at me like a deer in the headlights.”
Williams recalls his family being very protective of him growing up, telling him that he “couldn’t do this and that — but I didn’t want my condition to hold me back, and I didn’t want to be limited.”
The 41-year-old said his condition “came as a shock” to his biological mother after he was born. He was taken to Chicago for multiple maxillofacial surgeries at just a few days old.
“I had a bone and skin graft as they tried to construct a jaw for me, but as I grew, my body rejected it, and it was unsuccessful,” Williams said. “And I was also put up for adoption, which led to me meeting my adopted family.”
Despite his struggles, Williams learned to communicate through sign language, gestures, and writing notes while using the feeding tube to eat.
“I can’t eat, speak or even breathe properly,” he said. “I have a tube in my stomach, which I can place blended food into, but this means that I have never tasted food.”
“Growing up was hard, and being born like this has caused me many problems, but I have tried not to let it affect me,” he continued.
As a happily married man, Williams said he wants to enjoy every moment of his life with Vania. He also said he wants to fulfill his dream of becoming a DJ.
“My dream is to become a DJ one day. I can sometimes struggle with communicating, but music is a way for me to express myself,” he said. “Being born without a jaw has given me a different outlook on life, and it has made me who I am today.”