I was about seven years old when I found out that I have vitiligo. Neither I knew much about it, nor did I care. “Take the white cream off your face!”, said a boy in my class. It was then that I realized that something was amiss.
For the first time I asked my mother, “What is in here with me?”. My mother tried explaining it to me but all I could think of was- Why me? Why does God hate me?
As a kid physical features mattered in the least to me. But with approaching adolescence, appearance and self-esteem were all that I cared about. Inevitably, the teenage years were filled with crisis. I had my moments when I would cry and tell myself that “I am ugly”.
What did I do to deserve this?, the question tormented me.
At school, children would look at me and say, “Hello black and white!” followed by a murmur or laughter, or “Hey Rainbow!” was how I was greeted. I used to stare at my pictures from the past and think, “Wow, I don’t even remember what my body looked like!”
All that I wanted was to turn back time and be my younger self; someone who didn’t care. I went through a stage of GRIEF, FEAR, ANGER and ultimately ACCEPTANCE.
It’s been years of questioning, emotional struggle, but the truth is a little shocking. True, that I am a splotchy mix of black and white, but the disease has become a blessing now.
Skin colour has always been a priority for girls to look pretty but nobody in this world has the perfect skin. Those with white skin go for natural tanning and the ones with dark, go for fairness treatments. Those who have both? Well, God could not choose one so he decided to paint us in both. Vitiligo can be a challenge, but I’ve found support and guidance leading to pride for my skin.
Now I don’t get offended when people ask me about it. Rather with all my heart and soul, I say, “I am a Rainbow with so many shades of happiness to spread!”
Bharati College, Delhi University