Learning to love your life with vitiligo is like learning to ride a bike – you hop on, make it a little ways, fall off, and then get back on and try again. As someone with vitiligo, I’ve come to accept this rocky road to finding happiness. Yet I often see other girls overwhelmed at the concept of loving their spots, giving in to the idea that it’s impossible.
It is possible, for the record. But you have to understand what getting to that place looks like. Here’s what you need to know about learning to love your spots:
It’s a journey, not a choice
You don’t get on a bike for the first time and know how to ride it. It takes time, practice and commitment. The same goes for loving your life with vitiligo. You don’t decide one day that you’re going to love your vitiligo and suddenly know how to do it. And that’s because loving your spots isn’t a simple, one-time choice. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – it’s a choice you have to make every moment, every minute and every day of your life. Learning to love your vitiligo is just that – learning. It takes practice and patience.
I’ve been learning to love my life with spots for 20 years – that’s right, two entire decades. And it’s still a work in progress, something I have to consciously think about each morning when I get up. Choosing to love my skin doesn’t mean that I do love my skin, but it does mean that I’m working towards getting to that place every day. And I can tell you that I’m in a better place today than I ever have been before.
You will struggle often
Let’s face it, you are going to fall off your bike at some point. And you are going to fail at loving your spots at some point. Why? Because learning to love a life with vitiligo is hard – really hard. And because it is so difficult, you have to give yourself permission to fail and fall short of where you want to be. That’s just part of the journey.
I struggle with learning to love my skin every day. And at least twice a year, I realize that I will have vitiligo for the rest of my life and I lose it. I’ll cry for hours, big choking sobs filling my apartment – the kind of cry that leaves a headache for hours. Eventually though, I pick myself up and keep going. Does my moment of despair mean that I don’t love my life with spots? Absolutely not. It just means that I’m human. And like everyone else, I’m going to struggle on the journey to find happiness with my skin.
You have to believe that you can get there
Are you listening? This is the key to making all of this work. You have to believe that you can love your life with vitiligo. It’s a must. If you don’t believe you can get there, then you never will. Moving forward by pushing yourself and growing will be hard, but it’s the only way to eventually find the happiness you’re seeking.
So what are you waiting for? Go get on that bike.
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.