I was 3 years old when I was first diagnosed with vitiligo. Dealing with a sudden change in my appearance was not a big deal until I reached my adulthood and started going to college. Over the years, I endured bullying with a clear mindset – “they don’t know anything about it. That’s why they pick on me.
Vitiligo is surrounded by countless myths and misconceptions. I came across many people who perceived it to be contagious. Some even suggested that it has something to do with my liver. Naturally, it took me a long time to get used to living with the skin disorder. When I was 12, I began to be more confident. Today, I am so more at ease with my vitiligo that I wouldn’t want to change it for anything. I strongly feel that having it has given me the courage to help others who are dealing with social discrimination.
From what I have seen on social media, many vitiligans have started owning the skin they are in. They are proud of it and commonly testify to turning down treatments to change their skin. I resonate with it completely. However, I still feel we have a long way to go as far as the representation of people with vitiligo in popular culture is concerned.
Based out of Durban, South Africa, I recently graduated and have been looking for a job. However, I have found it hard to find a job as people turn me down because of my skin condition. But, I have decided not to give up. I have been through a lot of discrimination growing up, but it is the same vitiligo that has shaped me into the person I am today. I aspire to change the way society treats people with vitiligo. I dream to see an equal, more inclusive world.