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Adriana Macías was born without arms but plays the cello with her feet: “I was complete until I compared myself”

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From the message conveyed by her gaze, one can sense that behind the mask Adriana Macías has a dazzling smile. Thus, she enters the room where we will have the opportunity to chat. After sitting in the chair and putting her hair up with her foot, the writer and lecturer begins to talk about the skill she has perfected for years: turn your feet into hands.

This Mexican was born with a physical disability: she has not had arms since she was a baby. But thanks to her desire to live off of her, she began to make her legs her best ally. “I owe it to my sister who is a year older than me. She only saw her playmate, she did not see a girl who was born without arms“she explains. That’s why they played with dolls together and to do so, Macías had to learn to comb their hair and dress them with her feet.

Through these games, her sister, perhaps without knowing it, turned her life into a challenge: “My sister told me: ‘Hey, it didn’t turn out that pretty on you, right? You have to do your hair again.’ 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.”

Interview with Adriana Macías

Silvia P. Cabeza / Sara Fernández

In this way, Macías began to perfect, repetition after repetition, the perfect technique for using his feet. “I realize how incredible our body is, it has no limits. I started doing small things with my feet and each time I set myself bigger challenges.“, account.

Thus, her small challenges soon expanded: now, she can do her hair, put on makeup, dress herself, and even play the cello. To achieve this, the importance of two fundamental elements stands out: practice and creativity. “They are tools as indispensable as a right arm,” she points out.

A girl with “hooks”

To make his disability a strength, he explains that the most important thing has been the attitude: “You must know how to choose the attitudes depending on the challenge, just as we take the time to choose shoes or necklaces, we have to choose the attitude that the challenge requires. let us face each other.”

Adriana Macías is a speaker and writer.

Sara Fernandez

Question: What attitude did your parents adopt towards your disability?

Answer: From the beginning of my life, they were the ones who suffered the most from the circumstances. And not because of the fact of having a baby without arms, but because of the time in which they received this news, because 40 years ago it was a very austere Mexico. There wasn’t as much information about disability as there is today. So they had to design a story of a lot of love and a lot of hope around my bitter and raw story. Suddenly my parents are left alone, but I think that the disposition they had helped them find answers.

Q: What was it like to find a school when the time came?

A: The search for schools at that time was not easy. It was not easy to receive a baby without arms. Also, the teachers were a little scared. My parents insisted I wear prosthetics, but a baby with hooks at 3 years old was very intimidating for everyone.

Q: What was the reaction of your colleagues?

A: At that time, the truth is, the children did not understand much what was happening. I thought my arms were going to grow, so that’s what I told them, that my arms hadn’t grown yet, that they would grow later, and that’s why I painted with my feet. Then the children said: “Ah, OK“They were just as ignorant and confused as I was.

Adriana Macías poses for .

Sara Fernandez


His daughter, his inspiration

Human beings are very observant and, for this reason, Macías explains that his daughter, from the moment she opened her mouth, asked her why she didn’t have arms: “She watched me since I was two months old.seeing that I was holding the cell phone with my feet to take photos.” From that moment on, her daughter began to imitate her, also holding the cell phone with her feet.

When she was one and a half years old, the Mexican remembers that her little girl started pointing at her arm. “She wanted to ask me, but her eyes showed that she didn’t know whether to ask me, It seemed like he didn’t want to hurt me.“, he explains. Then Macías told him that he had no arms. To prove it, his daughter pulled down the sleeve of his pajamas. But it was not enough because, as he says, he asked him again every month until he was 4 years old.

Adriana Macías and her skills with her feet.

Sara Fernandez

One day Macías asked him: “Hey, my love, where are mom’s arms?” To which his daughter responded: “On the moon.” She then proposed to make a rocket to reach them, to which the little girl responded no. The writer remembers that “when I gave her the option of going and bringing some, she no longer found the sense in it, nor the need for it.”

In the end, Her daughter discovered that even though her mother doesn’t have arms, “she could do everything”. For Macías, that is what the world consists of: “You have to give yourself the opportunity to observe until you understand. And don’t make it difficult to coexist with what is different.”

play the cello

Over the years, this Mexican has won numerous awards that value her work and effort. She even received the 2017 Guiness Prize for being able to light 11 candles with her feet in one minute. But without any doubt, His great challenge has been learning to play the cello.

Adriana Macías’s new challenge is to play the cello

“I was married for 15 years. When you get divorced you start from scratch and you have so many mixed emotions that you don’t know how to manage it,” she explains. Therefore, she decided to focus her excitement on learning to play one of her most complicated instruments. Although, she says, “it’s been a wonderful journey.”

He has designed a new way of playing it to adapt it to your feet: “We created a harness, I had to practice my balance and strength to be able to maintain myself in a complicated position and thus get a grade.

His final purpose in everything he does, such as musical practice, is to be able to demonstrate the courage that exists within each person. “I’m not the cellist the world expects, but I want to share this story of perseverance,” she explains.

A successful professional life

It is demonstrated that this writer had to adapt to any situation at all times of her life. “There is something that I like to say a lot and that is that I was complete until I started comparing myself to others,” she says. For this reason, improvement became a constant in her present and future.

Question: Finally, you ended up studying law, what limits have you found in the professional field?

Answer: They were not limits due to my disability, but rather due to the lack of development, information or culture. I never found a job as a lawyer, the truth is that no one wanted to hire me. It was very difficult for me because my dream was to work in an office. I studied to be a corporate lawyer, I specialized in human resources. But I went devastated, very sad, to a party. They didn’t give me the job and I went to a party. There I met the deputy director of a very important bank in Mexico who gave me the opportunity to give my first talk about my life.

Adriana Macías: “I was complete until I started comparing myself to others.”

Sara Fernandez

Today, Macías celebrates 22 years as a lecturer and writer. And although her messages have evolved over the years, she always conveys the same essence: “Everything is based on working to build ourselves fully“, to feel at peace and enjoy this thing called life,” he says. And he adds: “Just by the simple fact of having it, we are winners.”

However, every award he has received has not become a couch to settle on. It has never stopped his restlessness. He considers that although “it is difficult not to have arms and adapt to a world that is designed to do things with your hands,” he reminds us that we should not forget that “It is also difficult to do things with your hands“.

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