“I was born like any other chubby, cute kid. But when I was 3 years old, I started getting white patches under my eyes and eventually it spread throughout my skin. I wasn’t worried though. For me, it was normal because I’d seen my parents and grandparents have it too. It’s a genetic condition called Vitiligo, and it never bothered me.
Until I went to school. Kids my age would start laughing or say things like ‘did you get burnt?’ or some were even under the misconception that if they touched me, they would ‘get it too…’ It’s not a communicable disorder. I was very little. I remember going home and telling my parents ‘I don’t want to go to school anymore.’ But it wasn’t just the kids at school, even when I went out of the house, people would ask the same question. Or even worse, they would approach me and suggest all kinds of cures without even asking if I wanted one. Cures such as ‘go to this doctor’ or ‘why don’t you eat neem?’ And when I would tell them that I didn’t want to ‘treat’ this ‘condition,’ they thought I was being rude.
But what hurt the most was last year, when I went to a college in Raipur, students––who I thought were mature, said things like ‘let her sit in the corner’ or ‘don’t touch her.’ I went home that day completely devastated. My parents comforted me, but I knew I needed to make a change––I had to look beyond the petty comments. I was born to stand out and I needed to accept that part of myself. I got the courage to restructure my life––I applied to a college in Mumbai and got through. I gave myself a fresh start and decided that I would no longer feel like I didn’t belong.
My life has turned around – I have a great group of friends now and a loving and supportive family. The only thing I want to tell people is that I’m not looking for a cure––I’m comfortable in my skin. Why does the world constantly want women to conform to their standard of beauty? Women are so much more than their outer beauty – they’re fearless and relentless and isn’t that beautiful too? I sure as hell feel beautiful…I AM beautiful
Reproduced from Humans of Bombay.