I was born with what they call an “Au lait spot” on my right cheek.
It takes up most of my cheek and, as my dad noted to me at an early age, it’s shaped like the Cadillac logo. It’s pretty noticeable. It’s a shade darker than the rest of my skin color.
Ever since I could remember looking in the mirror, I have always taken a moment each day to imagine myself without it. It’s unfortunate but it’s true.
In my early elementary years of school, I would constantly get asked, “What is that thing on your face?”. I’d always answer simply, “It’s my birthmark.”. There would be responses ranging from “Oh, that’s big.” to “Oh, I have one too but it’s not visible.” or some other response pointing out that it’s not something normally seen.
Right around 5th grade and the beginning of middle school, I would get in verbal fights with classmates, and I’d say about 90% of them would have the other person say something along the lines of “Yeah well at least I don’t have an ugly spot on my face.” or something where it’d be used as an insult about my looks.
Growing into puberty times, you feel the need to try to impress whatever gender you’re into. In my case, girls.
You start to realize the game and you start adjusting your fashion and mannerisms. You start acting out in bold ways to impress.
In late middle school, I started dressing according to the trends and joking and conversing with girls became easier to do… kind of.
I got the judgmental looks still and was small-talked out of conversations (read: let down softly).
There was only one girl who really made me feel like I had a chance at a relationship even with my birthmark…
…and maybe that’s why I held on to that hope for so long.
She really made me forget that I had a birthmark on my face. She made me forget my imperfection.
Because of how she was and how we were as friends, it was the beginning of how I changed the way I thought about relationships and ultimately love.
I started avoiding using my birthmark as a scapegoat for why I couldn’t get a girlfriend. I was basing everything about what might be “wrong” with me in relationships was having to do with my personality or my willingness to be open and honest.
I started being more willing to just be a friend and grow it from there and maybe it will shatter the outcome pattern of staying single.
Well, as from my last few blogs, that hasn’t happened but I feel better as a person because of those changes. It definitely has gotten me somewhere… I think.
All the pretty words about what love is and how it’s not based off of looks, I have had to live those out. I *HAVE* to or else I’d be hopeless. So I believed them… always.
I chose to ignore that guys who were taller than me or had way more of an athletic build than me or… had no noticeable marks on their face… were chosen over me.
I kept believing over and over that my personality is the problem.
I kept working on my personality. More open. More positive. More funny. More externally feeling at peace. More of me trying to help others find their peace. I still continue to be that type of person.
Still, I look in the mirror every day and give myself a moment to imagine what I look like without it.
People hope to be the best version of themselves they can be and that means to try to not be shallow about judging people.
I don’t know if it’s the reciprocated dating culture or celebrity culture or reality dating culture but this “not judging looks” thing isn’t breaking as easy.
Or maybe it’s just birthmarks on the face that still is difficult to get over?
I follow well-known dancer Cassandra Naud on Instagram. She has a birthmark on her cheek due to a condition called nevus. She is confident, successful, and even with the birthmark is still beautiful. A great inspiration for people like us with birthmarks on our faces.
I hate to bring up the possibility that it’s because she is a female that it’s easier to get over the birthmark. I really don’t like thinking about that possibility but in all my rejections and let-downs, I start to learn things. They vector towards patterns.
It’s either easier to get over a visual “imperfection” if the person is a girl or if the overall features of the face other than the birthmark are still a certain threshold of “attractiveness”.
I thought about cosmetic surgery. I have tried growing my hair out and have it covering it as much as it could.
I’ll never get rid of it and it’ll be way too much work just to hide it.
Again, that girl who made me forget I had it really had me accepting it and not thinking about it as an inhibiting factor.
As I continue my hopes in love and relationships, I truly believe in the words that express that a true relationship will not judge visually alone and will see beyond it.
Again, I have to or else I’d be hopeless.
But until those statements are realized, I’ll continue to look in the mirror each day and give myself a moment to imagine what it’s like without it. When the girl who made me forget about it started not being around, other people made me remember it again.
It’s always been there. I have lived with it. I have gotten to interesting places even with it present. It’s hard to tell if my social/relationship/love life or lack thereof is due to its presence but based off of my personality evolution ever since middle school, it’s difficult to not think it is playing a part.
All the statements of visual judgement not being important in getting into a real relationship – of all the things I hope and pray are really true to the existence and reciprocation of their words, that is the one thing I hope for the most.
If not, I’d be hopeless.
I really hope it’s true.