Corey Taylor was born with a condition that left him with a deformed nose eyes and partially blind. Hear how he’s using his story to inspire the youth to be open minded and to have empathy for others and teaching adults how to love themselves and be confident.
Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Damon Burton with learning from others.com and joining us from New York is Corey Taylor. And this is going to be a fun story today. Corey Taylor was born with a severe facial deformity, whereas eyes, nose, jaw, and score were affected. And doctors basically said that he may not see 16. And now at 30 years old, he’s proving those doubters that anyone can accomplish anything they put their mind to by doing motivational speaking and making his writing dreams come true.
Corey Taylor, thanks for jumping on with us. Thank you so much for having me I’m honored to be here. So why don’t we, you know, we’ve got a lot to talk about here. Why don’t we first jump into, uh, you know, explain your deformity. Um, I assume it has a formal name. Yeah, the name that was given I’ll keep in mind.
This is when I was born in 1988. It was called a crane know facial deformity. Yeah. The cranium was completely, uh, effective and it was underdeveloped. Now, if you go to like Google and you type in cranium, facial deformity, there’s like five or six different variations of it. So, uh, I went about a year ago to, uh, national Institute of health to try and figure out more about it.
And to this day they still have like the blood work they took, they have all the medical history. They told him still trying to kind of get answers because they thought they had it narrowed down, but it turns out it wasn’t what they thought. So, but basically I was born with no structure to my nose at all.
I couldn’t breathe. I kind of smell, basically. It was just like, my nostrils were somewhat developed and that was it. Basically two pinholes. And my left eye was completely underdeveloped where I have no vision in my left eye. Uh, my school was caving into the point that when I was born, they told like they were, they had to do multiple surgeries to basically keep the casing of the brain holding the brain.
And the doctor said that I might not make it out of the hospital. And if I did, I would be deaf, blind, and mentally challenged, which all they had right. Was I was home. I’m half blind. Goes to show you that nobody can tell you, you can do, you can’t do something because, you know, for example, yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting what, um, you know, you can accomplish and, and it’s interesting that how you touched on that, the difference in the, the medical terminology from when you were born to now.
So it sounds like when, when you said that it’s something. It’s not the condition is not exactly what they thought it was. So is that right? Your situation specifically, it’s not exactly what they thought it was or for this condition in general. Uh, for my, uh, specific condition, they thought it was what is known as a bam syndrome with, uh, Bazemore or Hania something with them because, um, it affected my facial, my face, excuse me, my facial structure, as well as my testosterone.
They thought it was definitely a bam syndrome, but it turns out that. It is. I don’t have that genetic trait that, that, uh, that marketing, I guess you can say. And so it turned out it wasn’t that. So, but like I said, I told them when I, uh, went to the clinic, I am not really looking for answer. Cause at this point I know as much as I need to know I was born this way.
It wasn’t anything, you know, like a lot of people say like, did your parents do drugs? And no, that’s like, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but that’s one of the instant things they go to because you, you know, there’s someone with like a facial deformity or a facial defect, they automatically go to drugs or excuse me, but like incestuous relationships.
Yeah. And the stereotypes and not none of that was true, except for me, it was always, I was born this way, you know, like it never affected how I lived my life. And I always just made a point of when a doctor said they couldn’t do something. I was always like, okay, And I go and prove them wrong. Yeah. Yeah.
It’s, it’s gotta be, you know, human beings are kind of funny in some ways where they, they all, you know, we, we, we thrive on answers and so sometimes we want answers and, and, you know, it’s good for you to be able to come in and say, you know, it is what it is. Exactly. Well, you’re, you’re an aspiring writer and speaker, and there’s, there’s a lot of things that you have coming up in your future.
That look really exciting. So why don’t you give it, uh, background on, on, you know, what you, what you’re looking to accomplish in your writing career. And then we kind of talk about how, how your health is. I’m assuming your, your health background is, has contributed to that in some ways. Oh, definitely. Uh, the health actually contributed more, more to the, uh, motivational speaking aspect because growing up like I was in and out of the hospital a lot.
And then as I was finishing up my surgeries and at 18, I was finishing my journey. I saw all these young kids. With different facial diff uh, deformities different, uh, defects in the waiting room. And I saw the same books on their feet. The almost they had no clue what to expect, you know, and then seeing the parents with the same fear and unknowing looks that my parents had when I was going through the surgeries and going through all the medical stuff, it really made me determined to.
Tell these kids, it will get better to tell the parents it will get better. And what better way to do that then to, by telling them my journey in a way that can not just inspire those kids, but can inspire people all over the world and various ways. Yeah. It just took off from there. Yeah. You gotta be in a unique position.
Um, you know, because your situation is so unique that it’s probably really comforting to, to have. These other people hear words out of your mouth from the exact experiences that they’ve been in, because it’s probably hard for them to relate to other people. It can be in one sense, it’s like, it’s hard to relate because people see you and they think, you know, you look different.
So you’re, that’s the way they see it. Whereas as in reality, the only difference between people who were born with any type of different or any type of issue is we’re a little tougher. Than others because of the stuff we’ve been through, but people have trouble realizing that we’re just like everybody else.
And when I go to schools, like I specifically, uh, I’ve gone to like elementary schools and I’ve talked to these kids. And one of the first things I always say is after I asked them, if they read the book, wonder. Because that’s like a bean book and a man movie, they watched nowadays, after I asked him about that and I tell him about myself, I say, do you guys like video games?
And then I talked to him about video games. Cause that’s something I, you know, I am. I love to do so that gets the kids talking, but she usually gets her teacher to the point where she’s like, okay guys, come on, get on topic. But it shows the kids, Hey, he plays video games and in their head outputs, video games.
With he’s like me and it kind of just comes together in their head, if that makes sense. Right? Yeah, yeah. Levels it out and brings them on, on, into the same position. And that’s gotta be really powerful to be able to, um, you know, talk to kids. I mean, I have kids that are young and in elementary and it, and it’s such an impressionable age that, um, you can really set.
The tone for, you know, how they grow up and how open minded they are and how sympathetic they are. And, um, you know, just to the differences and diversity of the world. So that’s cool. Yeah. And what’s funny is growing up. I was not, I wasn’t bullied or anything. Like I live in. Yeah. It’s a very tight knit community.
Like everybody in this area, I would say in a 15 mile radius, at least everybody knows me. Like my entire school district that I went to, all the kids knew me and everybody was always so good to me. If anybody even asks, Hey, what happened to his face? They’d have three other kids. Hey, why don’t you ever do any say that?
And I’m like, guys, guys it’s okay. But a lot of like, nowadays it’s so different with like the social media, the way it is that it’s so much easier to be bullied and to be attacked. So I always like to go to these schools and Glenda triad nip that in the bud before it gets to that point. If that makes sense.
Because I was lucky, but I know that a lot of people go through bullying and they go through a lot of rough stuff. And my goal is just to, to help them through it. And just by telling them my story and hopefully by giving them a few words of wisdom, Yeah. So you brought up a couple of things that I wanted to touch on social media being one of them.
Um, before we jump into that topic, I, when you, when you mentioned that when you were younger, you weren’t bullied that that’s awesome. But you know, honestly, I was surprised because just how, just how kids usually are, you know, kids are pumped. Trust me. I know. I always expected it. So what do you think contributed to you being protected so well by your community when you were younger?
A few things. One is I, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I’ve always been the type of person where like, I’ve always been very down to earth growing up. I was always a very nice kid. So if anybody ever, if they wasn’t like try and start, I mean, I just feel like. Why are you doing that? You know, I was always very, just, you know, it just rolled off my shirt.
Yeah. That, and on top of that, uh, my cousin, who I went to school with me, he was like a grade above me, but he and I were like brothers. And if anybody even looked at me the wrong way, he would get suspended from school for getting into fights with them. He always had my back. So. That’s one thing. And like the teachers, they always like made it very clear that, you know, they were always there for me, but at the same time, they weren’t like hovering.
Because that would’ve made it worse, you know? Cause then it would, then everybody would see me yeah. As different. Right. But if they kind of just let me know no my own thing. And then I would go to, I knew I, I can trust them. I know I could go to them if I need it too. It just made things a whole lot easier.
But yes, the biggest thing was just. Having a lot of support from my community, the kids. And it was something that really helped. My mother actually did a video when I started kindergarten and it was like a video kind of like of me wrestling with my cousins, watching professional wrestling, doing like an interview like they do in pro wrestling.
Like as if. I’m one of the wrestlers, like it was just to show like, I was like everybody else. Yeah. That video was showed to like all the kids that were going into that kindergarten class. Uh, so that helped. And then, and junior high, they showed that same video to the kids that were going into junior high.
So like having something like that, where it kind of yeah. Introduces me or any, you know, anybody with a facial difference beforehand. It helps a lot, but at the same time, it gets to the point where it’s like, it’s rough because I’ll have you, Hey Corey. And I’m like, Hey, how’s it going? I have no clue who that person was.
Wow. That’s a good problem, I guess. Exactly. Well, you know, so you’ve had all these experiences where you’ve, you’ve lived and learned. And so now, as you mentioned, you’re taking that into. Um, the world of, of speaking. And so, as you mentioned, speaking and writing kind of sound like they’re separate things.
So we’ll talk about writing a little later. Um, but when you go in and, and you, so you go in and primarily, it sounds like you’ve talked to the youth is where you try to make the impact, right. Uh, kindergarten through 12th and I’m also, I’m like looking at colleges, but it’s, I’m still trying to figure out how to get booked at colleges.
So right now I’m just kind of putting myself out there for a great school. So like I, on my website it specifically says K, uh, K through 12. Yeah, because I just feel like it’s the best that’s yeah. You know, K through 12, like that’s when they’re going through different things. And I went through everything that they’re going through and more so, but as I talked to them and so on, who not only experienced what they do and what they are going through, but someone who experienced a little more.
So like, not that I, I’m not trying to get sound like, Oh, my, it was a woe is me right to the kids. It’s like, wow. Okay. He went through that and that. I can get through this. So with the kids, it sounds like your, your goal is to help them have, you know, open their eyes. And then what do you think the impact you could have on the older audiences?
It, is it more on the positive side where it’s, uh, so with the kids, it sounds like it’s look at other people, but then as an adult, would you talk to that audiences as look at yourself, you know, be more confident and you can accomplish things. A little bit, all that, actually the biggest thing is empathy.
And not simply not like, Oh, I feel so sorry for that person, but empathy where you, you kind of picture yourself as the other person and you feel what they feel and you tried to, before you act, or before you react. You think, okay. How is what I’m about to say or what I’m about to do, going to affect them?
How would it affect me if I was them? So that’s like one of the big things I always talk about because, uh, empathy has always been something that has always helped me go a long way. And upon. Other than that, I am big on just help. I always say that I want to help them be a better version, the best version of themselves that they can be.
Yeah. And if there’s something they want to accomplish, for example, if they want to write a book, then I want to be the one to help them find the motivation, find the inspiration, find the enthusiasm to find that passion. And achieve what they want to achieve. And I believe I can do that just by an hour long speech.
I can help at least inspire them enough that they get started. Yeah. Yeah. Now, earlier you talked about social media and what do you think about, I think pretty much everybody agrees that social media, um, Not kind of ignoring the fun side of social media for me and, and admitting that pretty much everybody uses it, but on the other side of things, I think we all agree that social media is equally toxic.
So. What what’s your position on it with the background you’ve had and seeing how vain people are on social media and selfish. And, um, I, I, I’m assuming you agree with the general perception, but do you do have an opinion beyond that, given your background. I actually believe that we are and an age of accountability, where every, if you go to a restaurant and you find mold on her burger back in the eighties and nineties and a half, and you tell people around you and it might hit the business a little bit, but really it wouldn’t do too much.
Nowadays if you find mold on a burger and, and post that picture on Facebook, it’s going to hit them harder. So my way of thinking about it is in today’s day and age, it’s good for accountability. And as far as like, if I’ll give you an example, someone posted a malicious beat on Facebook, and that meme basically was relating to, it was comparing to so on.
With someone who had a F from a movie who had a facial deformity, it was just a malicious. And now it had no effect on me. It wasn’t anything that was like, Oh, that hurt my feelings. Cause it was nothing about me, but I ended up going completely. I went. Off in the comment section, because for me, I was like, okay, you don’t do that.
There’s a lie. But in that at the same time, it told me, you know what, again, it’s the age of accountability. So what they did and posting that, and then the people who commented and thought it was so funny, people are going to look at them and think, Oh wow, they’re trash. So it’s going to make them accountable for their own actions.
So. I believe in today’s day and age, there’s a lot of good and a lot of bad, but like for me, for example, like I have trouble getting out, like why not, not so much anymore. And then the last year or so, but for like eight to nine years, I had trouble getting out of the house because of where I live is hard.
I don’t drive. So trying just to do stuff. So Facebook and social media and things along those lines were kind of my outlet. Where, you know, I could, I can speak up about stuff. I could, you know, talk about stuff. I can meet people. So I have a very, like, I love social media. I love the, the w the generation we’re in.
I think people don’t always use it properly, but I think at the same time, or like I said, we’re in the age of accountability where if you post something that’s bad, It’s going to follow you. If you do something that’s nasty and someone gets on camera and then it gets put on Facebook, it kind of did it to deserve it because you’re doing, you’re doing something that malicious.
So it’s the age of accountability. If that makes sense. And that’s the best way I can describe it. And just, especially for me, I used to do a YouTube, like I did video blogs and my mom, like she didn’t, she was really hesitant when I did it at first due to Corey. People can be mean. And I told her, I’m like, I’m okay with that.
Like, let them come at me, who can handle it because Hey, maybe it’ll desensitize them and be, at least they’re coming at me. I can handle it now. Somebody else who can’t handle it. Yeah. So I started doing video blogs and for every negative comment. I had five positive comments. Yeah. So yes, you’re always going to get those trolls, you know, no matter who you are, what you write, you’re going to get trolls.
But when you have more positives and negative, or even just a few positive, they kind of help you see, okay, everybody’s not like this. And it helps you see the world in a different light than if we didn’t have social media. You know, that’s a really interesting, uh, position because, uh, It’s almost like Darwinism.
So you’re saying, you know, let the people be negative because it’s just going to, um, it’s only gonna hurt or hurt themselves in the long run. And so be it, you know, it’s in a way. Yeah. Like I’m not saying, you know, like they’ll end up killing each other or anything like that. But I do believe like in today’s day and age, it does, it shows the negativity of people.
More than I show is a positive, which is sad, but that’s something else I’m doing where I’m trying to show a lot of the positive, you know what I’m using myself as an example where I’m doing all these things, things that nobody ever thought I could do, I am, you know, I’m doing motivational speaking. I wrote a novel.
I’m like, I’m working on getting a full time job I’m doing. And like all things that. They never thought they could do. I was told I was gonna die by three. I was gonna die by 16. I was told I was deaf, blind, mentally challenged. I was told I wouldn’t be able to feed myself or clean after myself and her Nana I’ve been told they couldn’t do it by doctors, by other people.
And I just use the internet to prove to everybody look what I’m doing. Pretty funny that, you know, I would not supposed to be here. Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting when you get, you mentioned trolls. I think that the younger generations, what they don’t realize is that the internet is forever. And so what, whatever comment, I mean, you start to see it a lot now, especially with politicians and celebrities.
Um, but you know, something that they tweeted six years ago comes back to haunt them, you know, and, and it’s, these, the internet is forever and these comments are public and it’s, you know, don’t post something that you. Don’t want somebody seeing, because they’re going to see it at some point, you know?
Exactly. I’m a very, very, very passionate professional wrestling fan. So I’m sure there’s been tweaked. I’ve written that I’m not, I know if I saw it today, I was proud of, because I would get like, I’m not gonna lie. Like I would get heated and I would like those expletive expletive, expletive, how can they write that?
It could have been so much better or why they, I would just, I would go off. Yeah. Nowadays I’m like, you know what? I write what I believe. And I am unhappy person. I believe everybody’s treated equal, you know? So like I don’t do, and I don’t believe in like homophobic, rants, racist, rants, any of that stuff I write about like, I believe in yourself, if somebody does me wrong, I will kind of vague book it as they say.
Where, you know, stuff like that. But I do have a tendency to do my occasional rant, but it’s never, as, it’s not, it’s not as malicious as mine, if you know what I mean, she said all really, but it’s like, I just have a habit of speaking my mind and I always think, Oh, Wait look interesting later. Yeah. That’s funny.
You know, you, you talked about, um, your writing, so why don’t we start talking about that? Um, so is, is your writing pursuits, are, are those. In line with motivational speaking, or are you writing about something totally different? Uh, no, I actually, I, I, Tim did a, an autobiography, but I much preferred writing fiction, so I’m kind of, Oh, there’s actually a book I’m working on right now.
That’s uh, Borderline fiction, reality mixed. And it’s an interesting, I want to, I’m not, there’s not much I can say about it right now because I just have the beginning stages, but I’m just gonna tell you, I’m just gonna give you a comparison. I want to, I want to watch the look on your face when I give it to you.
It is wonder me 50 shades of gray. Okay. Yeah, no, I, no wonder because my kids watch it. And obviously now, if not shakes, everybody watched that. Yup. So it’s kind of like, you know, I mean, in my mind is going to be better than both of them, but that’s kind of something I’m working on right now. So let’s so really that, that is your autobiography, huh?
No, it’s a, well, like a lot of ways, like, uh, it’s kind of like, there’s going to be a lot of like social media, like online dating referenced in the beginning because the person in the book is going to have a facial difference because I kind of figured, you know what? I have a facial deformity. Why not use that, you know, and books.
Yeah. Create characters when facial differences, because I can kind of give them a layer that other people can’t look at. Wonder, for example, the woman who wrote that saw a kid on the bus with a no difference. And that’s pretty much how the book. Started imagine if she had a face of difference, the layers of that book could have the, you know, more than it already did.
So this is just, this is the first of a few books. I think, where the character is going to have a facial difference. Growing up, I was like, I on the internet and you know, in the social media era, I was able to meet a lot of people. And it’s just in the book, it’s going to be where the guy in us, meaning like a few different girls that helped him out of his shell.
And it’s like, he’s going to go from the frying pan into the fire where he goes right from talking. I, hi, how are you online to getting into the 50 shades aspect? And it’s going to be like, Oh, okay. How’d that happen? Gotcha. That’s like I said, lay out stages right now. Like I still have a series I’m working on, on top of that.
So I don’t know if that’s gonna see the light of day anytime soon, but. We’ll see, well, it sounds like you have a lot going for you. Um, you know, one thing that I think is interesting that you had mentioned offline, I had asked, you know, what’s something that you would maybe tell your younger self or that you could tell our audience.
And what you said was don’t give up, keep your head up high because things are going to get good if you have the confidence to make it happen. And so, you know, what, what I’m curious about is obviously you’ve had. You’ve had the ability to impact other people positively. But what I’m curious about is there’s, there’s this impact that, you know, you don’t necessarily know how far that impact goes and who you touch.
So on the opposite side of that, have you had anybody that has very clearly told you that you’ve had a positive impact on their life? Uh, it’s funny to say that, um, usually only about 10 years ago, and it’s just one that sticks out to me all the time. Uh, being a bunch of friends were out having pizza and there was a guy about five years older at the table, like behind us.
And we’re all like, you know, getting the bill and we’re like splitting it up. He comes over and he’s like, Hey guys, I want to pay for your meal. He’s like, Corey, you don’t know me, but I was in school with you. I was about three, four grades ahead of you. And I was going through my stuff and seeing all the stuff you were going through and how positive you were.
It inspired me to keep going. And just that, like, and like I said, that was like 10 years ago. And just, this is the person I had. No, you know, I didn’t know. It clearly was, I had no relationship to him whatsoever and some of them, I just saw the being positive and it. Inspired him to find the strength to go through whatever it was that he was going through.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing how, how positively you can impact others because you never know what other people are going through. And, and one thing that I always say online is that everybody has a story to share, and there’s always somebody that needs to hear it. And you never know when you touch that person, um, and, and make that positive impact.
So that’s cool that you were able to actually get confirmation from somebody that you had a positive impact. Definitely like, there’s been so many like teachers and, you know, like parents that I went to, that I knew from school that are like, I still talk to them today and they’re always telling me how I impacted their life and how I helped them be a better teacher, how I, and fire them and just like, it’s not like I hear it, but it doesn’t like, I don’t know.
At this point I was like never stuff. It’s really cool. Corey, I appreciate your story. Um, I love the passion and the positivity you have. I’m excited to see where you go with things. It sounds like the writing thing is, uh, has a lot of opportunity. Um, I definitely think that the speaking thing has a lot of opportunity to not just for yourself, but obviously for the audience that, that you’re connecting with.
Um, so, you know, before we go here in a minute, um, why don’t you, why don’t you tell our listeners how they can keep in touch with you, maybe your website, any social media you want to put out there? Sure. My website is CoreyRtaylor.com and it’s facebook.com/coreyRobertTaylor. I am open for bookings for, uh, schools and different venues.
And I’m also looking for publishers or agents for a psychological thriller series that I’m working on. How many books you working on there? I have a that’s completely done edited and everything. And that’s, I have the second book halfway finished and the third book completely finished. I started writing the second book and I knew the, how the end game was going to be.
So I kind of jumped. To the third book and I have that done now and now going back to the second book. So that’s what I’m working on right now. I’m laying out the, the other book I told you about, but the thriller series is one that I’m. I have so much. It’s my baby. And it’s called small town state of mind.
And it’s about a city boy who ends up stuck in a small town during a blizzard. And he ends up trying to keep his head down and instead ends up in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a police officer. Who’s going off the deep. I like it. You got a lot of things going on, you know, I’d be, I’d be really interested to see, to, to kind of keep in touch.
Um, On and follow the evolution of your writing and your speaking career. So let’s stay in touch. Um, Corey, I appreciate your time. And the last thing before we go is we surprise our guests with a random question generator. So I’ve got my little button over here. I’m gonna push. And so your question is.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up a pro wrestler? I have, like I said, I’ve always been obsessed with professional wrestling and up until I was like 10 years old, 12 years old, I wanted to be a wrestler, but then I realized with like 50 plus surgeries, if anything ever happened, I would have doctors at my door with no, he was ready to kill me.
So I’m like, okay, so I’m actually, I’ll be like, you know what, I’ll compromise. And so now working on trying to figure out how I can write for professional wrestling. So that’s my, you know, another writing goal is to eventually work for like the WWE and a writing capacity. Yeah, very cool. You know, kind of blend your passions and interests together.
That’s cool. I like it. Yeah, that’s the, yeah, hopefully that’s the, that’s the end goal. We’ll see if it happens, but yeah. Keep us updated maybe down the road. Um, we can, we can do a follow up episode and see how things are about have evolved. Definitely. Yeah. Cause right now things are just me getting so, uh, stay tuned because things are, like I said, uh, the pre-interview things are going to get good and they’re, they’re getting good.
I like it. Corey Taylor, everybody. Thanks for your time. Thank you for having me.