Living with vitiligo is difficult

Living with vitiligo is difficult, because you exist in a world that doesn’t know how to perceive you. It’s human nature to fear disease and to shun what you don’t understand, but it’s nurture that cultivates ignorance and upsetting behavior. I'm not going to paint a perfect positive picture of rainbows and unicorns because some of my days were filled with depression, self-hate and at my lowest self-harm.

Vitiligo can be a tumultuous journey; I didn’t know how to live in a society that told me every day that I wasn’t beautiful, or good enough to be loved, so I covered my patches with make-up in an effort to silence the comments and stares. For a while everything seemed great! No one was pointing or staring – I finally liked what I saw in the mirror and was even getting some attention from the opposite sex.

Loosing self confidence due to vitiligo

However this came at a huge cost – I lost confidence in my natural beauty. I felt could no longer do the things I really wanted to do, suddenly the smallest task was a challenge. I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t answer the door and I couldn’t even take the bin out in daylight. I’d become lost in what started out as self-preservation and ended up being self-loathing.

Gaining confidence in myself

But there was light at the end of the tunnel… I had a fantastic opportunity to be in a documentary called ‘MisFITS like us’ on BBC3.  I met five amazing people who had vitiligo like me and experienced problems identical to mine. I felt this surge of power and confidence when I was with them, which was something I hadn’t felt in years. With them, I belonged. I wasn’t the outcast or the strange one, or the girl with vitiligo, I was just Aisha.

What I didn’t know is how much they would change my life. With their help I walked down the high street make-up free – something I hadn’t done in six years. Each step I took brought me closer to liberation and further away from the shadows I used to live in.

Now, I live life so much more freely, I hold my head high and adorn my patches with pride. I’m not bound by the chains that once used to hold me back physically and mentally, I exist in the light and have not only found my voice but have a deep desire to be a voice for others like me. After so many years I am truly embarking on a journey of self-love and acceptance, in spite of the fact that I have this condition. I don't let it define my existence anymore, if you see a person with vitiligo remember that there is a soul beneath that skin, there are feelings attached to a heart, and that heart can break. Remember to be kind, it’s free!

Aisha Muhammad

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