Vitiligo doesn’t bother me anymore. This is how I’ve felt for years now. Vitiligo doesn’t effect me anymore.
I still have vitiligo. It spreads and contracts on its own. I notice it sometimes. It’s there, but I don’t care.
Recently at a coffee shop a woman next to me struck up a conversation. She just wanted someone to talk, and even though I was working on my laptop, she started chatting. Trying to be nice I responded politely. After a few minutes of banter I realized she really wanted to talk. Then she commented on my vitiligo, telling me that I could make it go away if I really wanted to.
“Oh Great,” I thought. Here we go with another really helpful person…
Not only does she comment on my visible medical condition, but she also has advice. Reluctantly I entertained the subject. She wanted to make sure I knew about the handheld UVB light wand. I know about them.
I’ve had one for years. It worked by the way. It just took time. Time I didn’t care to spend getting rid of vitiligo. So I stopped.
After she rambled on a bit about the treatment, her psoriasis skin condition (similar to vitiligo), her past emotional trauma and dietary struggles and then paused for me to respond.
So we talked about UVB light treatments. We talked about peoples perception of vitiligo and skin issues and we talked about why I don’t care about vitiligo any more. 9 years ago I stopped doing medical treatments for vitiligo. A couple years after that I stopped using UVB light wands too.
Any why she asked? Because I stopped caring about what other people might think. And now I don’t care if someone notices. I don’t care if someone says something. I don’t care if someone has unsolicited advice.
For me it’s just like having brown hair. I have brown hair. So what? If someone says something then ok. If someone notices I have brown hair then fine. If someone wants to talk about it, ok no problem.
Looking back, it was a process to get to this point. I cared about other people feelings and thoughts. Imaging what other people would think and feel killed my confidence, destroyed my social life and kept me from dating. It effected my professional life as well. My lack of confidence kept me from applying for better jobs and from doing my personal best at work. A lack of confidence effected every corner of my life.
But I wasn’t going to just lay down and accept my lack of confidence. I wanted a life that wasn’t filled with worry and avoidance.
So I started learning. I started writing. I started talking to my friends. I learned how to be a friend. I learned about how people operate socially. Professionally I grew as well. In my personal life I pursued hobbies of all kinds. I soaked up information. I love learning.
What’s different now? Well everything.
Now I don’t care about people seeing my vitiligo. And very few people do by the way, because they notice my confidant body language, not the spots on my skin. They notice my smile, not the corners of my mouth that have spots.
People see me, not my vitiligo. And I like me. And that’s why I don’t care about having vitiligo. It just doesn’t matter that much anymore.
I’m really curious to hear from people when they forget about having vitiligo. Because if you have vitiligo, there are moments, however brief that you forget about having vitiligo. You have moments where having vitiligo doesn’t matter. When does that happen for you? How does that happen for you?