As girls with vitiligo, we can count on one thing in life – people are going to stare at us. It’s the uncomfortable reality of living as a girl with spots. No matter where you go or how good you look, people are going to stare and there is nothing you can do about it.
It’s uncomfortable, frustrating and even humiliating. It’s bad enough that you don’t always like your own body, you don’t need every stranger that passes by you making you feel even worse. Sometimes you can handle it better than others. Sometimes you can’t handle it at all and just want to scream, “Stop staring at me!”
We’ve all been there – we’ve all been stared at. So how do you deal with it?
What Girls with Vitiligo Say About Dealing with Stares
To find the answer, we decided to ask the girls who know best – our own Living Dappled community. This past August, we asked our Instagram followers how they deal with vitiligo as part of our “Vitiligo Voices” campaign. More than ten girls chimed in with the following responses:
“Smile. Or start random conversation.”
“Smile and wave.”
“Smile and stare at them until they say something.”
“Depends on the day, but I usually just remind myself that they stare out of curiosity and lack of knowledge.”
“I like to ask if they have any questions. The reactions are funny.”
“Smile and say hello. Most people mean well and are just truly intrigued by my spots.”
“I smile. Kids always seem to notice first and say something. If I’m in a funny mood I say, “Can you keep a secret? I’m from outer space, I’m actually an Avatar!””
Returning Stares with Smiles
Do you see the theme? Most of the time, girls with vitiligo return stares with smiles – now that’s living dappled. Returning stares with a smile takes courage – the kind of courage that comes from owning your spots. Not only does smiling demonstrate confidence, but it also invites people to learn about vitiligo and ask questions. You’re doing the important work of educating people about a condition that too few know about.
Is smiling at people who stare at you easy? Of course not. But remember that for every person you educate about vitiligo, there is one less person who might stare at the next girl with vitiligo. By talking about your spots, you’re increasing awareness for the vitiligo community as a whole. And that conversation starts with a smile.
How do you deal with stares? Tell us in the comments below.
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.