At the weekend, I spent an enjoyable afternoon listening to talks and presentations from a range of local women to celebrate International Women's Day. I was approached by April of April'sDawn, an old school friend, to present my story and tell other women about my life with Vitiligo and how I went on to launch Vitiliglow.
Many of the talks I heard today were about issues that can affect women either physically, mentally or emotionally and people shared their experiences of not only stigma and prejudice, but also of courage and hope. I told the audience that Vitiligo really affects my confidence and self esteem and about how I wanted to be able to blend in and feel like 'myself again.' It is my choice to cover up my patches with a product that is tailor made to meet the needs of people with Vitiligo and because I couldn't find a product on the market that did exactly that, was why I set up Vitiliglow.
It was really interesting to hear about the experiences of another woman with Alopecia - hair loss - and the reasons why she choses to wear a wig at certain times, but at other times (like today) she felt confident not to. She explained how she had been stared at and subject to nasty comments about her bald head. Although people shouldn't make others feel bad about themselves, unfortunately it does happen and I strongly believe that products - whether it's a wig or a camouglage spray for the skin - should be available for people so that the can choose to hide the condition that affects their self esteem if they want to.
Although the theme of the event was empowerment and self esteem, I don't think I will ever be comfortable enough to be seen without having covered my patches. But, I found the day very empowering and I hope that I helped to inspire other women as I took a condition that affects my confidence and managed to turn it into a positive experience.
If Vitiligo or any other skin condition affects you, please comment below or private message me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to hear about your experiences and offer any support and guidance that I can.