Growing up different

By: Sophie Parker 

 I will go out in public, maybe shopping with my friends, and I will get stared at by people who walk past me or who are watching me. I will see them whispering to the person next to them. I will walk past someone and hear them say, "what was that?" "did you see that girl?"  I’ve even had people point telling their friend to look at me.

I have recently started working as a young ambassador for Changing Faces UK, a charity that advocates for people with disfigurement, and campaigned for them on “Face Equality Day” in May. I first discovered the charity when I was around ten years old whilst looking for places that offered camouflage makeup to cover up my birthmark. At that time, I wasn’t very confident about going out in public and would often not want to go out at all. I found that covering my birthmark, although I didn’t feel like myself, stopped me from worrying about whether people were going to stare at me. 

My biggest challenge was moving to secondary school, when I had to make the decision whether to cover my birthmark or not. In the end, I decided not to and it was possibly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although I was bullied early on, I became confident enough to rise above it. I have made an amazing group of friends and I am currently Deputy Head Girl! In the UK school system, a deputy head girl is someone who is part of the student leadership team and can step in if the Head Girl can't attend speeches or meetings.

The reason why I didn’t cover my birthmark was because it felt like a mask, although it gave me confidence, it made me feel like I was pretending to be someone who I wasn’t. I felt like I didn’t need to change myself for anyone else and at the end of the day, other people are the ones who have the problem with my birthmark, not me.

*** Can you relate to Sophie’s experience? Have you ever used camouflage makeup and if so, has it worked for you? Comment below :)***

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