I Know My Vitiligo Doesn’t Make Me Ugly, Thanks for Letting Me Know
Yesterday my daughter and I were enjoying some time together at a local café. We were talking and laughing for about 30 minutes when a woman walked over to our table, turned to me with a forlorn expression on her face, and said as she pointed at my hand, “I just want you to know that I have a friend who has that, too (and yes, she scrunched her nose up a bit). And you don’t need to feel ugly because of it.”
I don’t need to feel ugly because I have vitiligo? Seriously?
It’s true, I didn’t put on my Vitiligo Cover lotion this week because I’m making some videos about vitiligo and need it to show; however, since I usually have it on, I’m not used to worrying about the white spots showing, so I wasn’t even thinking about it. Now I was, and thoughts were darting around my mind as to how I should respond.
Obviously she wasn’t trying to be cruel. I got the feeling that she might have been a sounding board for her friend who has vitiligo, and felt the need to assuage me as well. But, that was not okay in my book.
Look, if I had been sitting alone, staring at my hands and shaking my head in despair, her behavior would be more acceptable. But, I was in an animated and happy conversation, so her comments were completely unwarranted and unwelcome.
With as much compassion as I could muster I replied, “I understand that your friend has the same skin condition, and she’s lucky to have a friend like you in her life, but I am not unhappy, nor do I feel ugly.” I smiled, signaling the end of our conversation.
She didn’t get that, lol.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that she droned on for another minute or two telling me again, while pointing to the vitiligo on my hands, that she just wanted to be sure that I knew that it wasn’t as ugly as I may think it is, and in her opinion, “most people probably think it’s just scarring from a burn, so they won’t be afraid to touch you.”
Please tell me you’re laughing at the ridiculousness of her comments! I did. It was either that or lash out, and I couldn’t do that because she genuinely thought she was offering me the greatest advice ever.
I took a deep breath, smiled at my daughter (whose mouth was gaping a bit in disbelief), and said, “I’m going to go back to talking with my daughter now.” I turned to my daughter and muttered something about the espresso I was drinking.
The woman left as clueless as she had arrived. Maybe I should have taken more time to placate her need to ‘help’ me, but I didn’t feel like it. Not every moment needs to be about helping people understand vitiligo, sometimes the moment belongs to us, and living a life that isn’t defined by having vitiligo.