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An Open Letter To the Girl with Vitiligo Consumed by Fear

An Open Letter To the Girl with Vitiligo Consumed by Fear


To the girl with vitiligo consumed by fear:

I became aware of my vitiligo when I was eight years old, in the second grade. I remember sitting in class and staring at small white spots on my hands that were not there before. They seemed so strange to me.

Throughout my elementary school years, my parents took me to different dermatologists in an attempt to fix the “problem.” I remember my mother talking to the dermatologist about how her father had vitiligo. Many times I heard them say that vitiligo may be hereditary. Many times I was told that there was no cure. Many times I saw pictures of the different stages of vitiligo on computer screens and pamphlets. As a child, I was very scared for my future.

During my pre-teen and early teen years, the reality of my skin condition hit me hard. My vitiligo was only evident on my hands and it was only really noticeable in the summer when my normal skin would tan. Many would say I had nothing to fear because it wasn’t noticeable, but they were wrong – or at least I thought so. I feared the rejection of my friends and family. I feared that I would be an outcast in this world. I feared that no one would ever love me. At that point of my life, I was so overwhelmed with fear and sadness that I began to have suicidal thoughts.

As I grew up, I met people who made me realize that it’s okay to be different. I opened up about my life-long journey with my skin condition, and I found that each time I told my story to someone, I felt more inner relief.

Today, at twenty-two years old, I no longer suffer like I did and I no longer cry about my skin like I did. When I find myself in situations where I begin to feel overwhelmed because of my skin – because someone made a rude comment or because I catch someone staring with disgust – I remember how far I have come in this journey and I feel happiness.

Nidia Rosales

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