V I T I L I G O: A condition in which the pigment is lost from areas of the skin causing whitish patches, often with no clear cause. “Vitiligo.” Def. 1. oxforddictionaries.com/us/, Oxford Dictionary, n.d. Web. February 1 2016.
I have been thinking about my vitiligo a lot lately. To be honest, I am not sure why. I have been fully white for about 3 or 4 years now. It’s hard to put my finger on the exact date that the full change occurred because when my skin tone did change it was quite rapid, and too hard to keep up with. So why have I been thinking about it?
I think I am getting a little ahead of myself, time to take it back 22 years when I was just 6 years old. When I was 6 years old my mom was giving me my nightly shower and helping me wash my hair. I still remember, quite vividly actually, when she saw the white spots on my leg. She shrugged them off, as did I, until the little white spots on the back of my leg turned into little white patches. Shortly after I visited a doctor and was diagnosed with vitiligo.
Back then people referred to it as the “Michael Jackson disease,” it was not common, and there was not a lot of information available on the subject. People thought I bleached my skin to try and look white. I was often made fun of by strangers for my two-tone, and I was constantly starred at.
I often didn’t pay any mind to the haters; I have a great family and great friends. Fortunate for me, the years I was in school where very easy. I was surrounded by positive people consistently and never had to bear the burden of bullies or name-calling. The only thing I truly felt that I was missing out on during these years was the validation of male attraction. Never going on a date in high school, or even getting asked to prom was hard…..back then.
As a grown 28 year old woman, fully “white” and in a relationship, I look back on those days and realize how unimportant it really was. I was lucky enough to have a cosmetic problem rather than something life threatening. What did I need validation for? What did I feel bad about?
Having validation in life in some way, shape, or form is something, I believe, we all crave. We are all guilty of it, especially me. The key though, is to validate YOURSELF! Easier said than done, yes I know, but before seeking external validation you must be there for yourself. Often we turn to other people to confirm that we are in the right, that we are good people, what we did, said, wore, wasn’t wrong. It’s time to love you people! Time to take action.
The daily struggle for me to “love myself,” is REAL. It takes being able to reflect and be conscious, something my boyfriend, Justin, is actively helping me to achieve. Although I am not perfect…I mean, who is….this is something I am actively working on.
My first step to self-validation is recognizing my feelings. I have the right to feel how I want to feel. Feeling bad about those feelings or losing control of the true emotion behind the feeling is a recipe for disaster, trust me, I know. For the first step in my journey I am going to ask myself ‘what I need right now.’ Do I need to step away from a situation, clear my head, hydrate, rest, what? This is validating you in action. Whenever you address your needs, you reinforce to yourself that they are important, regardless of whatever you did or didn’t do previously.
It’s crazy how natural it is to feel bad about bad feeling bad. By doing this we stay in the same rut and never grow as individuals. Take action on what you want, stay positive, and remember, it all starts from within.
What techniques do you have for self-validation?