This post was not written by me. It was written by Giulia, you can find her at The High-Heeled Paper Girl.
Growing up with a birthmark may or may not be easy. Below my right eye, I have a brown birthmark of about one inch. Some told me that it looked like a beautiful little flower whilst others compared it to a cow’s skin, saying it straight to my face. You might guess that as a twelve-year-old girl, I didn’t necessarily know how to handle this kind of comment. Over time, however, the remark that came up the most often was asking whether I was okay or not considering my ‘shiner’. And every time someone came up with this question, I got internally mad and had to explain that no, I hadn’t been beaten up. It was in fact quite annoying to me to receive this kind of comment, it still is at times. I thought: ‘Why is all they can think of is how weak I could be?’ (which is an absolutely wrong statement, as I think of it today!). Most of the time, I forget I have it and I don’t like being reminded that there’s something on my face.
Given that neither of my sisters have a birthmark, I kept wondering why I was the one. As I heard the myth that everyone had a look-alike somewhere in the world, I pondered on how my own doppelganger could be feeling about the birthmark we supposedly shared. Moreover, why did it have to be on my face, in a spot so noticeable? And why right below my eye, one of the only features I actually liked about myself? During my childhood, and to this day, I have worn big glasses that fit the shape of my face and which in turn also happen to make my birthmark kind of fade. Some people do not even notice it at first glance. I tried to hide it properly with makeup from time to time, although very rarely to be honest. Although today, as I started wearing foundation, I do not try to conceal it as much as I could. I never really considered getting rid of it, except when my mother suggested laser-removal surgery when I was much younger.
Yet, despite my lack of will to conceal it, I am not quite satisfied with it. Over the years, I have learned to get past the irritating comments. But when I look into the mirror, with my bare face, freed of any makeup products, I don’t see anything beautiful. I can only hear a voice screaming inside my head: ‘Why are you so different?’.
Self-love is a lifelong process, with ups and downs. When we feel trapped in a pit of unconfidence, our thoughts tend to linger on a list of all the flaws and faults we have. We couldn’t be feeling at our best, if we weren’t feeling at our worst, right?
Birthmarks come in all shapes and colors. To a child, they mostly come as a burden. Shall we still consider them as flaws?
At moments, I can only cringe hearing this kind of statements (we all have our bad days after all). But here’s the truth. Birthmarks, like scars, our part of our own identity. They have accompanied us since our birth, like scars have been our companion during a particular journey. They are what makes us so unique. Some more inconspicuous may be easier to accept than others. We could choose to erase them. However, think of the women who underwent mastectomies: while some decide to undergo reconstructive surgery, others also opt for tattoos. Now the question is: do they do in order to conceal the surgery’s scars or is it a way for them to highlight the beauty of these scars?
First, remember that your worth is not based on the way you look, however unattractive society has made you feel. Second, remember that you are beautiful no matter what. Don’t let the negativity that others, especially when you are/were young, want to spread, in. Embrace your whole self, be it what society labels as positive or negative. Don’t shy away from self-love. You are beautiful just the way you are. Your uniqueness makes you beautiful.
To read more of Giulia’s work, click here.