I am 26 years old painter and martial artist. I have trained with some of the best martial artists since I was 15 years old. I was born and raised in Kenner, Louisiana. But my roots trace back to Honduras where my parents are from.
I developed vitiligo when I was 11 years old. Most of my teenage life, I have been exposed to strange stares from curious people. I did experience bullying, which I didn’t handle well. It was my family’s support that helped me gain confidence little by little. It took me a few years to get used to living with vitiligo. But, slowly, I realized that if I did not believe in myself, nobody else would.
Today, I have accepted and embraced my vitiligo. I feel it has made me mentally strong. Because of my experiences and all those assumptions (like it must hurt to live with those white patches), I consider myself a strong person who can face anything the world throws at. Just because I have dual skin color does not mean that I am or better or worse than anyone else, I am just different. This is one of the prime reasons why I own my vitiligo and turn down treatments or creams to change my skin.
I feel people with vitiligo are underrepresented in books, movies, and other art forms. Hence, it is our duty to show the world that vitiligo is just a skin condition, nothing to be scared about.
Whenever I get free time, I love to watch martial art films and action films. At the moment, I have taken a break from the martial art. But, I am determined to return to training Jiu-Jitsu by the end of the year or early 2020. I wish to continue my journey to becoming a world champion in the Brazilian martial art form.