For many, turning in to a living doll is the dream. A beautiful face with porcelain skin – what is not to like? However, for 27-year-old Shirley Alvarez, becoming a living doll has been a harrowing experience.
For the first few years of her life, Shirley Alvarez was just a regular kid in Queens, New York. She was fun, active, a ball of energy. According to her family and friends, Shirley was creative and loved to dance.
Unfortunately, at the age of 9, all the dancing stopped.
Shirley was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, systemic scleroderma, before turning ten years old. Her condition has caused all of her soft tissue to harden. In a matter of months, she went from being a lively and independent girl to being permanently bound to a wheelchair.
It was a very hard time for Shirley and her family. According to Shirley, this was probably the lowest point of her life. She would look at herself in the mirror and question why such fate was bestowed on her.
Nevertheless, Shirley grew to accept her condition. She found that indulging in her first love, art, and dance, helped her cope. She also discovered the Goth movement. Becoming goth has taught her to become more in tune with herself. The movement matched her personality and her style. She treated fashion as her primary form of expression.
Throughout her self-discovery, Shirley learned to accept her debilitating disease. Shirley is determined to remain confident in the midst of adversity. She explains that her journey wasn’t easy. However, for as long as she can remember, she has always been sure that there is a strength inside of her that transcends her hard porcelain skin.