A few years ago, in the year 2013, I was 22 at the time. One morning I woke up saw this little white mark on the right side of my mouth I decided to ignore it thought it was a minor thing. Few weeks later it became worse , it wasn’t sore which didn’t bother me much, it looked more like I had run into a really bad kisser who had bitten me…well that’s what a guy friend of mine asked me when he saw the spot, I laughed it off and unfortunately it didn’t get any better. Estimating about think a month later I went to go see a GP he said it’s nothing to worry about so I took his word and thought it would disappear. Months later there was no change, it got worse and I decided to go see the dermatologist. Date not certain of but it was September 2013 and I was diagnosed with Vitiligo, I had no idea what Vitiligo is. All know is when the doctor told me I felt scared and alone, my dearest mom had accompanied me to the doctor. She then started doing research on it and giving me print outs for me to read and know more about it, for a while I was in denial and hoped it would just go away. I started wearing lipstick when a girl from my class looked at me funny like I was carrying some bad contagious disease. From that day I wore lipstick trying to hide this new thing that I’ve been exposed to.
Finally 2 years later which seemed like forever, the nightmare of having to wear lipstick and explaining why I wore lipstick or explaining why my lips are “meaning” burnt according to when the lipstick would fade away…”It was a thing I couldn’t keep up with”. I started gradually, finding myself this new me I didn’t know of, doing more research, and getting to know what exactly this thing is. It became a problem because I didn’t think I would be accepted by any man. I’m a single young lady and the more I met people who just vanished the more I believed that maybe the root cause was this Vitiligo thing. “I had a lot of unanswered questions”, I describe it as “thing” because that’s how it made me feel I. was different and different was new and new was scary and one ever noticed no one ever asked me about it and how I felt , I felt alone, I prayed though sometimes I never knew where a to start. I just knew I was tired, tired of hiding ME… Tired of this hidden figure that could only be sustained for a short time. I then decided to let go and prepare myself for the worst, it only made sense to do so. I stopped wearing lipstick as often and started telling people about it, it was never an easy process but I gained confidence; yeah I guess it was all God’s work. I now surround myself with positivity and I’m working and trying to get the word out there to those unaware, I’ve followed and search for more people like me and that alone just felt like home, like peace like love, I Feel safe and content. “Love the skin you are in” because it all begins within you. Today I can proudly say I HAVE VITILIGO and I’m READY for any battle I will have to face with the help of God.
By: Tebby Mphela