Updated: May 12, 2020
Today I would like to report about on how I am doing as a kindergarten teacher and the upcoming associated daily questions and confrontations about my skin.
In contrast to adults, children always speak directly to me about vitiligo on my skin. Most of the time it happens as soon as I roll up the sleeves of my sweatshirt and the kids discover the color difference on my arms. Usually they always ask me about my brown spots there. Then I first always explain that the brown color is my real correct skin tan and that the color has run out in the white areas. The answer is always the question of how and why the color went out there. Most of the time I tell the children that the good Lord had no more color in his paint bucket and that the white spots simply ran out of color.
Each time it is really moving and very cute, because each child starts to develop his own theory of why the color has run out or they give me advice that I should ask the Lord again to order some new color for me. Other children immediately explain to me that they think it's really great, because all humans look different anyway and plants and animals are all different too. After all questions have been clarified the topic of vitiligo is done for them. They usually run their fingers along my spots or touch my skin. After that everybody continues happily back in their playgame. It feels very different to me in kindergarten with adults. I am usually not addressed here at all or they pretend to overlook at it or accept it in a friendly manner.
In spite of everything, I feel a stare or hear an uneasiness of silence and just feel uncomfortable in my skin. Of course I could say now that beeing different is great! Yes, it is, but it is also a long way till there and a daily and constant return to struggle with your own reflecting self, and soul. I love my vitiligo and meanwhile I greet every new spot with joy and take every new shape with excited anticipation. But it wasn't always like this and that's why it's always important to me, as a woman and vitiligo model, to tell my story in order to encourage other people affected.
What would be your advice?
My advice to everyone dealing with vitiligo is to be present and brave. There is no more beautiful and greater biodiversity than the unique beauty of our mother earth and we all have the luck to be a part of it. I wish that more people show off their vitiligo that it can be handled just as normal as e.g. a birthmark, a tattoo or freckles. I also think that adults should ask more often some upcoming questions. Like this, prejudices cannot even arise at all.