What it Means to Own Your Spots as a Girl with Vitiligo
“We’re girls who own our spots” – it’s the first line of Living Dappled’s manifesto, the foundational message of the blog. But what does it mean for a girl with vitiligo?
Finding the Right Words
When I first sat down to write Living Dappled’s manifesto, I struggled to find the message I wanted to send. My goal was to create an uplifting space for girls to share everyday life with vitiligo. But a manifesto asks the question “why?” Why was I trying to create a space for girls with vitiligo? What was my mission?
The first thought that popped into my head was the cliché answer – to help girls love their spots. But when you’re living with vitiligo, steeped in social anxiety and declining self-esteem, the idea of loving your spots can seem impossible and vague. Was I ready to tell girls that they should love their spots? What does that look like? And did I even love my own spots?
These were the questions that filled my mind as I struggled to find the words to reflect the message in my heart. After serious soul-searching, my conclusion was simple – you don’t have to love your life with spots, you just have to own it.
Taking Charge of Your Life as a Girl with Vitiligo
Loving your spots is the ultimate goal, the long-term plan. But it’s hard to know if or when you’ve arrived at that place. And even if you do love your spots, it doesn’t mean that you love them every minute of every day.
Owning your spots, on the other hand, is something you can do today. It’s actionable – it’s about taking control of your life with spots, one step at a time.
In her interview with Living Dappled, Tiffany Posteraro Grant shared some words of wisdom that someone once told her: “You have vitiligo, your vitiligo doesn’t have you.” That’s exactly what owning your spots is all about – taking charge of your life and being the girl that you want to be, even with vitiligo.
What Owning Your Spots Looks Like
Owning your spots is about embracing the fact that you have a skin condition. Saying the words out loud. Writing them down. Sharing your story with other girls with vitiligo. Using the hashtag #vitiligo on your Instagram posts. Talking about your emotions and letting the people in your life know how you feel.
Owning your spots is about actively working towards a better life with vitiligo. Starting a happiness journal to build a habit of gratitude in your life. Recognizing negative thoughts in your head and replacing them with positive ones. Finding a wardrobe that works for you and helps you feel confident.
Owning your spots is about pushing yourself to grow. Trying on shorts. Wearing a dress on a hot day. Posting a Facebook photo that shows your skin. Stepping onto the beach in a bikini. Pursuing the job or hobby you’ve always wanted but were too scared to try because of your skin. Finding the strength to smile when people stare.
Owning your spots is about asking for help when you need it. Realizing that there is a vitiligo community ready to love you. Reaching out to other girls with vitiligo. Getting involved in local vitiligo support groups.
One day, owning your spots just might lead you to loving your life with them – and that’s what “living dappled” is all about.
Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. Her first spots appeared on her spine when she was seven years old and today vitiligo covers her entire body. Based just south of Washington, D.C., Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.