During this past holiday break I decided to go to work without wearing any makeup. I go to work without makeup pretty often. I love makeup, but if I’m tired or running late I don’t bother. There is this woman at work who always makes comments about me when she passes. You know…the nice nasty comments. This particular day when she looked at me she said “Wow! You have a birthmark on your face! Wow! It’s big!”
It didn’t bother me that she made a comment initially. I am used to her comments by now. What bothered me was when I thought about all of the women in the world (birthmark or not) who lack confidence because of comments like this. As a woman (or a person really) it is important that we uplift each other and not try and discourage one another.
I see beautiful women every day who feel bad about themselves and their appearances. I hear grown women talking about how ugly Beyoncé’s daughter is (even though she is a beautiful child) because she does not have Eurocentric features. I see women undergoing surgery to change what they deem as imperfect. I think the biggest question is when you tear down another woman why does that make you feel any better? I was angry about what she said because in that moment she (a black woman) has no concern about how her words could impact me (another black woman.)
Sometimes it’s not what you do or say, but its the intention behind it. It didn’t matter that she made a comment about my appearance. What mattered was her attempt to tear me down.
This made me want to find other women who have birthmarks, but more interestingly birthmarks similar to mine and ask them about their experiences. Normally when I interview people for my blog I keep them anonymous, but today I want you to see them because they are gorgeous. First, I would like to tell you about my experience.
Growing up I did not always embrace my birthmark. When I was a child I would get teased by my classmates at times. It’s wasn’t often, but enough to let me know I was different. It seemed like the biggest thing in the world at the time, but what I didn’t understand is that people generally fear what they don’t understand. Children are also very curious about things that they don’t understand and thus ask questions. They do not always have the language and etiquette to know how to ask these questions in a polite way. Being someone else’s learning tool was hard on me as a child, but now that I am an adult I realize that they didn’t know any better.
At some point between my teens and my twenties I just didn’t care what anyone thought anymore. As I grew older I noticed that it didn’t matter as much. I think that my interactions with boys played a part in that because I realized then that the people who expressed disapproval for my appearance were women and not men. I wore makeup as a teen, but even when I didn’t it wasn’t really a big deal to men.
Even today I have “friends” who make comments about how I get so much male attention because I wear makeup or this or that. I don’t get angry any more because I know that when they say “You only get attention because…” they really want to know why it is that they aren’t getting the same attention. It has more to do with the lack of attention that they are getting, and wondering why an imperfect person is getting attention.
This hasn’t really affected my dating life. Men who like me are general men who like women who are comfortable being themselves (and I’m going to be my whole self in more ways than one.) I haven’t gotten many negative responses from men like I have women, but I honestly couldn’t see myself being with a person who couldn’t accept me as I am. I feel that you can’t really know if someone really loves you if you aren’t really being you.
The guy I’m talking to now thinks I’m beautiful, so that’s all that matters to me. If he didn’t I wouldn’t be talking to him. As a matter of fact, he didn’t see the significance of me writing about this topic because in his eyes it’s not a big deal. He also said that if people want to conceal it they can. In some ways he’s right. Having a birthmark is not a big deal at all. The big deal is the idea that there is something wrong with you looking natural if you want to, and as a result you have to conceal it. Its the fear of being yourself.
Honestly whether you are attractive or not, looks are not the most important part of who you are. Your mind and your spirit are the most important parts of who you are. If you seek to fulfill other peoples ideas of perfection you will forever be unsatisfied. Define what perfection is for yourself. In my favorite song by rapper Trina, she says “They gon’ hate you anyway sh*t, either way it go.” Don’t aim to please other people. Some people will be dedicated to disliking you “either way it go.”
Did you always embrace your birthmark? Why or why not?
I, myself, didn’t always feel pretty. I always thought I was the only one in the world with a birthmark and always use to cover it with my hairstyles. I didn’t embrace my birthmark until I was about 14 when my auntie pulled me aside and said “I don’t want you wearing your hair over your “beauty mark” you are a pretty black girl and born different.” Since that day I embraced it as my “beauty mark” and not birthmark and my confidence grew bigger.
The reason I didn’t embrace it was because I felt different some kids growing up were mean about it, but as I grew older and my confidence grew along with my age I got so much love and compliments on my beauty mark. I began coming across more people with similar birthmarks, and it just became apart of ME. I look at it every day knowing I got an extra “kiss” from God.
That’s awesome that you had someone in your life who was there to tell you that. I love the facts that you call it a beauty mark!
What are ways that you would respond to a bully (or really we can say a hater) if they made a nasty comment? If you could speak to a young woman with a birthmark like ours who doesn’t have an aunt or someone to encourage them, what would you say to them to know about having a “beauty mark?”
Yes, it was great to have that support. I honestly didn’t realize how important it was until I looked back on it as I got older.
The thing about bullies is that they have insecurities themselves, so I would respond with love and simply say “I don’t explain my beauty to people who act ugly” with a blind eye. Haters/Bullies hate to see you unbothered so that’s how I would respond.
If I could speak to a younger woman (which I have a few times since Instagram) I would direct her to the pictures of thousands of us with beauty marks, remind her that we stand out for a reason, and that our faces will always be remembered! I had never seen pictures of others with beauty marks until Instagram or word of mouth, so seeing that you have others with similar features as yourself makes you feel like you low key have a community like you.
You do have a community like you! I’m glad to be apart of community with people like you. I’m sure that those women were glad that you encouraged them.
My last question is has having a beauty mark impacted your dating life significantly in a negative way or a positive way at all?
Likewise! Our community is beautiful!
My beauty mark hasn’t impacted my love life/dating life in a negative way at all. I’m always told I’m “naturally beautiful” and that’s what makes me different.
Did you always embrace your birthmark? Why or why not?
It took me a very long time to embrace my birthmark. I’m 18 years old. In middle school and high school was when I was the most insecure about it, and would try to hide it. Last year is the year that I got the confidence to start loving and embracing it, and I regret not doing it sooner.
That’s interesting because I think that my confidence came around that age also.
What are ways that you would respond to a bully (or really we can say a hater) if they made a nasty comment? If you could speak to a young woman with a birthmark like ours who don’t have someone to encourage them what would you say to them to know about having a birthmark?
To a hater I would say make sure everything about you is perfect before you get the audacity to put someone down for something they cannot change and shouldn’t change. There is nothing wrong with them.
To a young woman like ourselves I would tell them to live in their truth and live unapologetically. Everything different about you makes you the most beautiful, and you should be proud.
I love that! My last question is has having a birthmark impacted your dating life significantly in a negative way or a positive way at all?
I used to think that having a birthmark would change someone’s interest in me but honestly, that was all in my head. If you carry yourself with confidence and you love yourself, the right person will love you and accept everything that comes with you. I have found that, so I don’t think your birthmark can hold you back unless you let it.
The moral of the story is don’t let anyone make you feel bad about being you unapologetically. If you don’t love yourself don’t expect it from anyone else. People want to knock down your confidence because confidence is attractive. The less confidence you have, the less of a threat you are. If you aren’t being the most authentic version of yourself, you might miss the people who love you for who you are and end up with people who don’t love you at all.