HENRICO, Va. -- Brandon Farbstein remembers the exact moment he blossomed.
“I am so excited to bring a message that was so needed,” said Brandon. “It was only six minutes, but literally those six minutes turned into the rest of my life.”
In 2015, the man from Henrico stepped on stage at the Carpenter Center in Richmond, Virginia for all to see and hear.
“When I was two, I was diagnosed with an extreme case of dwarfism,” said Brandon.
Standing just three-foot-nine, Brandon is the average height of a six-and-a-half-year-old boy.
“I was looking at the mirror with my mom next to me and saying to her, ‘Why do my legs look funny?’ She said, ‘You don’t look funny. You just have special bones,’” remembered Brandon.
Brandon became the object of bad jokes and relentless ridicule through middle and high school. Years of verbal torment cut deep.
“It was devastating,” described Brandon. “I really hit rock bottom when I was 11 years old and was pretty much moments away from ending my life.”
But Brandon has been learning to ignore the critics.
“There is always going to be pain. There will always be adversity, but it's what we do with that that defines us,” said Brandon.
Since his Ted Talk six years ago, the 21-year-old is taking his message of positivity on the road.
The motivational speaker visits schools and conferences inspiring children and adults to overcome.
“Being unique is a superpower and when you see yourself that way, it doesn’t matter what other people say about you,” said Brandon.
When COVID hit, speaking engagements dried up. So Brandon turned his parent’s attic into a studio to reach his audience.
“I can’t imagine doing anything other than what I am doing now,” Brandon said. “I am just so grateful to be where I am and to find myself in this place.”
Seeing her son endure insults stung Sylvia Farbstein to the core.
“As a parent, you think it is your job to take their pain away. To see him go through that point of suffering and see him alone in those struggles really broke my heart,” said Sylvia.
Watching Brandon develop into a confident young man now fills her heart.
“His internal growth… Oh my gosh! It has skyrocketed,” she said.
Brandon is adding two-time author to his resume.
“This is my very first children’s book. A kid’s book about self-love,” said Brandon.
In October, he is releasing his second book.
“In the moments mean words were thrown at me I worked hard to convince myself they weren’t true,” said Brandon.
Inside the cover is Brandon’s mantra, which encourages boys and girls to be comfortable who they are.
“No matter what we experience or what people say, we can decide to make the voice in our head louder than the others,” said Brandon. “Having self-love allows you to be happy and true to yourself.”
The message isn’t a tale of fiction. Brandon has lived each word.
“Thinking back to the 11-year-old version of Brandon is exactly who I wrote this book for. But I also wrote it for any kid who has felt othered or invisible or less than in any way,” said Brandon.
He is growing leaps and bounds within.
“I may be three-foot-nine but my mindset is 10 feet tall,” Brandon said.
Brandon Farbstein promises in life to always reach for new heights.
“So when you look in the mirror I hope you see everything that is awesome about you. Everything that makes you. You. The End.”
For more information on Brandon’s mission and his book, click here.
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