A powerful story from Oscar Hereida
This Oscar Heredia talking to you. Well, I believe I can help you maybe just a little by sharing my story.
It began in my freshmen year of high school during track and field in spring. It started off as a small white spot on my left knuckle. I didn’t think much of it. I thought that it was just a little scratch I didn’t remember peeling off. I wouldn’t pay too much mind to it until a month past by and it was still there. But this time, more white patches appeared on my hand. I still thought that it was a very cool and unique look. I didn’t mind if it was permanent either, it was a very distinctive feature that reminded me of the cool feature Scar had on his face from the Lion King (random I know).
It wasn’t until someone pointed it out with disgust in their voice that I started feeling self-conscious about it. As time passed by, it started to spread even more... People were starting to notice and slowly but surely it rose to everyone’s attention in the school. Something that I thought was once cool was changed due to another’s perspective. Because that makes totally sense right...
Thus my psychological struggle began…
I had no idea how I was going to get through this new feature I had, nor did I have anyone that I could share my feelings with. No one, but there was something; that something was the internet! I used the internet to seek understanding of what was going on with my body. I did a lot of researching where I typed in “white patches on hand” and pictures of Michael Jackson appeared and the term vitiligo as well. I looked into vitiligo and refused to believe I had such a thing, until one day my mother took me to the doctor’s office and that’s where I found out I had vitiligo.
I was with my sister and my mother in the same room when the doctor announced it... I just remember my head dropping in silence. I almost got emotional, but I did my best to compose myself in front of my mother and sister. From then on it was a struggle to adapt to my new image of myself. I would look into the mirror and ask “Who are you?’’ ‘’I don’t know this person, bring Oscar back, I don’t know who this person is with these white spots’’. I would often ask God “Why me?” Out of all the people in the world, I just so happened to be that 1%. I was confused about my purpose in life and a bit bitter because I had something I had no control over. But as time passed I started to feel less and less insecure about my vitiligo. I one day realized that someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality and that you live in the society you create. It just clicked one day!
A person becomes a product of his or her own thoughts. So, if you are insecure about something it will show, and people will shun you for it. But if you are confident, then people will want to interact with you and be around you. In other words “Law of Attraction”. By focusing on the positive things you attract positive experiences and people into your life. As time progressed, I didn’t let insecurities of my vitiligo get the best of me and I just started being myself again. I started to feel comfortable again in my own skin. I began to love myself. After it all, great opportunities were flying out of the sky, such as modeling, martial arts, Latin dancing, and valuable people. All were, and still are a true blessing, for it has left a positive impact and has helped me grow into the individual that I am now.
People often ask me how my life would be without my vitiligo. I usually tell them that life wouldn’t make sense for me without it. It is because of my vitiligo that I have found my life’s purpose. It took me losing my pigmentation to gain a better understanding of who I truly am and what I find most passionate about. It has created awareness for me to accept people for who they are regardless of what flaw they think they have. Because at the end of the day the only flaw you have is the one you “think” you have.
Vitiligo I can say has changed my life for the good it wasn’t originally a part of the plan that’s for sure but I can honestly say that I am blessed to have it a part of my journey. Now I can share my story from my journey thus far in hopes to inspire positive change; because to me, there is no better sense of fulfillment than that. This isn’t just meant for the 1% of the world but the much more that feel life has given them a “flaw”. Don’t let society confuse you into thinking you have a flaw just because you look different from among the rest. You were born to differ, it is what makes you the one and only. Don’t worry about what stays and what goes because the right will always find its way. Be yourself, love yourself and trust process that comes with it.
I hope my story helps you, and maybe helps others to inspire change among the vitiligo community.
Check out other photos on my Instagram @oscar_rosardia
I support the petition to designate June 25 as Vitiligo World Day and save millions of people worldwide from social isolation and persecution.
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