• Andrea Islas

Finding your personal tribe.

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

Lately I have been reminded of how lucky I am for having the people I have in my life. It made me think about the support I had since I was a kid and while being kids ourselves, without any judgements. I remember there was a time that my family was considering moving back to Chicago, I was about 8- or 9-years old living in Guadalajara, Mexico. One of the things that stayed with me is that my sister, who had already lived a part of her life in Chicago, told me that she wouldn’t want me to be part of bullying because of my vitiligo. Kids could be mean and I already had a great group of friends here in my city, who didn’t made me feel any different and I was lucky to have that in my life.

To be honest, when I was younger I didn’t think much of it because she was right. Since they made me a part of something and we all grew up watching my spots spread, I really never felt like an outsider when I was with them or really didn’t pay any attention to my spots until somebody from the outside would make me remember. Whenever that happened I would just look to my side and there would always be somebody to stand up for me when I could not stand up for myself.

I, of course, lived through awkward and hurtful moments where my self-esteem was dropped to the floor and made me wish I was “normal”. There were times I even thought that everything could be easier if my spots where not a part of me and asked that typical question: "why me?". But then, when I was back in that circle of people around me - friends and family- I did not feel any different from them. Or in fact, I would noticed and realized that we were all different, that we were all unique in our own way. I learned that mine was just a spotted version and that the word “normal” doesn’t mean anything when describing a person.

I have been with Vitiligo most of my life, so I realized now that I cannot say it is just my journey with vitiligo when talking about my process of acceptance, I’m actually talking about my life in general and the acceptance of ME having spots or not. I believe it is a matter of embracing who you are and staying true to yourself. No matter what life brings ahead. If you are surrounded with the correct people, it would make it even more possible. They make me listen. When I ever felt alone, they would make me see I wasn’t. And that has become my biggest treasure.

It is true that people come and go from your life, but at least everybody comes to teach us something … but is the people who come to stay who become part of your personal tribe and to that, you should always hold on tight.

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