Be different and be happy!

When I was seventeen and a senior in high school, we went to Disney World for a class trip. Of course in the warm Florida weather, I wasn’t wearing much in the way of sleeves. It was the first time in my life I became aware of people staring. It was the first time I actually noticed people noticing my birthmark. I guess this is mainly because it has never, in my life, been an issue to me or even on my mind. I never even remember it’s there!

Now I’m twenty-five and living in Pennsylvania. I have port-wine stains on my hands, arms, chest, shoulders, back, neck and scalp. I can’t imagine wishing my birthmark wasn’t there. I actually love it and am grateful for it! I’m sure this has everything to do with my wonderful parents, family and friends… and, of course, attitude! I was always very involved in music and theatre and a large social scene, so I suppose there was never any room in my life for self-consciousness. I was blessed with a very supportive base to grow upon.

I get so excited when I meet others who share the same look. Although very few and far between, there is an instant bond because, I feel, we have something so rare and special in common. I also think it is amazing how great a community there is out there for people with port-wine (and the like). I had no idea this all existed until very recently.

Of course, as I get older I’ve started to be more perceptive of other people’s reactions. I catch people staring sometimes and just look them in the eye and offer up the biggest smile I can muster. This smile is usually contagious, as is my whole attitude about the mark. When people inquire about it, not yet knowing how they feel or are going to react, my overall comfort and excitement has an instant effect. I think some people leave the conversation wishing they had one!! Or, at the very least, having all the more respect for me and the way I’ve handled the situation throughout my life. I believe that really shows.

My favourite is when the little adage is brought up about birthmarks being where the angels kissed you. I get to smile and say, “Well, they sure must have loved me!!!”

I think, overall, I am just thankful for being unique in this way.