My vitiligo showed up when I was 12 in the seventh grade. I am currently 32 years old. A couple spots on my legs and arms was all that appeared. From the age of 12 to 17 I didn't own a pair of shorts, a skirt or Capri pants. I made sure no one could see what was happening to me. Strictly pants, sweats and long sleeves, and I grew up in Arizona!
My secret was eventually revealed and I got all the hurtful names we've all heard before. Cow, Dalmatian, Oreo. School was rough. Once I turned 18 I made the decision to join the United States Marine Corps. Those four years flew by with little thought about my vitiligo. The military is so diverse and multicultural, I loved it. Married my ex husband of 10 years and gave birth to two beautiful girls.
When I became pregnant is when the vitiligo spread tremendously. Both pregnancies I saw a vast majority of my arms, face and neck change complexion. Stress, hormonal changes and my diet is what I was told had a great affect on it. I look back and it's almost as if all changes happened over night.
Many challenges in life have led me to be the person I am today. I am comfortable in my skin. I love who I am and what I represent. It took work, but once you reach it, it's the most freeing feeling you can experience. I still get stares, hear the snickers, gasps and whispers. That hasn't changed, but my perspective has.
I now have two young girls who will grow up having to explain why their mommy's skin looks different. My girls know about Vitiligo and can point it out on someone else. Their easy answer is "Most of us are born as one color, people like my mom get to have two colors".
"Okay, I'm different! I always will be... Own it!"