Skin story: Self-love and acceptance is a journey

The following story is by Aisling, author of ethical blog site thisdreamsalive.

Skin is amazing. It’s incredible looking back at how it’s grown with you, your whole life. But a lot of people struggle to love their skin, including me.

The first big “skin” moment for me was shortly after I was born. A red mark appeared on my nose after just a few weeks. Although I was born with a normal nose, we just call it a birthmark for the sake of simplicity. As far as I know, there isn’t a name for a mark like that, and if there is, it isn’t well known. It faded to pink just before I started school, but never fully went away.

As you might expect, the kids in school were not nice about my nose. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer became my own personal hero, but as a kid I was never able to love my skin. In fact, I often said I couldn’t wait for the day I turned 18 and could get a nose job! (Spoiler: I got a tattoo when I turned 18 instead.) The sad part is that before school started, my nose didn’t bother me at all! I was vaguely aware of it, but it didn’t upset me until the other kids started pointing it out.

It was much the same throughout secondary school, and I caked as much concealer as I could onto my nose (and also desperately tried to cover up my acne!). By that point, it really wasn’t noticeable unless you were up close to me, or looked for it, but it was super obvious to myself.

Unfortunately, kids and teenagers can be mean, but I’ve learned to make peace with it. I’ve learned that most of the kids who picked on me were struggling themselves, so it was a case of hurt people hurting people. That realisation turned my anger into pity, and I hope they’ve since found peace.

It’s really only been now that I’m older that I’ve made peace with what at this point is really just a small patch of skin a slightly different colour to the rest of the skin on my nose. I’d love to give that little girl a hug and tell her it’s okay, but self-love and acceptance is a journey. It makes me unique, and at least Rudolph was a good role model for that little girl! I used to tell myself that I’d do great things to prove the bullies wrong, so at least it gave me motivation! Now I think my little mark is cute!

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