Many people in the world are currently living with facial disfigurements who have often suffered psychologically with the image they see before them. As humans, the only importance is that of our own opinion of how we see ourselves.
I once saw a little girl whose eyes were pierced on this woman standing in the checkout line at a grocery store. She was looking at her face in a very peculiar way, as if she couldn’t understand the structure of it. The woman caught wind of the girl staring at her face, so she decided to tell her the actual reason behind it.
She suffered from a facial disfigurement called Treacher Collins Syndrome– a genetic condition affecting the development of tissues and bones of the face. She told the little girl she loved the way she looked because it meant that the disfigurement was a part of her identity.
When I think about her words today, I become further intrigued about others living with rare facial disfigurements and how they see themselves. Upon learning, I found out that people with disfigurements generally grow up with a hard life, not seeing themselves as beautiful, along with a few constant stares now and then. But a lot of people also refuse to let their disfigurement define who they were.
Those with facial disfigurements are usually born with them or have sustained injuries within their life to change their appearance. But to place that disfigurement before who you are as a person should never be the answer. You may fall victim to that by putting yourself down, staring at your face in the mirror, or comparing yourself to others. By taking ownership, you can finally see yourself as the beautiful person you are.
By accepting your facial disfigurement as part of your identity, you’re able to face the world to show them you matter, despite what others see or think.
A great representation of this is Marimar Quiroa. She is a makeup artist who was born with cystic hygroma– a fluid-filled cyst that develops on a baby’s neck. At a point in her life, Marimar hid her face and was bullied because of her appearance. Though she has a facial tumor that doesn’t allow her to eat or speak, it doesn’t stop her from happily sharing her face to the world through her youtube channel of over 600,000 subscribers.
While eliminating negative comments from others, she focuses on positive aspects of her facial features, learning to accept herself the way she is, and believing that she is truly beautiful.
Another woman who accepts her facial disfigurement is Disability and Face Equality Campaigner, Victoria Wright. She was born with cherubism– a rare disorder affecting the bones of the face. As an adult, she still receives bullying because of her face.
A disfigurement is more than just a change of facial appearance, it’s a disability that can sometimes affect someone’s health. With the constant hate crimes against people with disfigurements or any kind of disability, she believes it’s important to educate young people about how words can hurt.
She feels that if someone sees a person with a facial disfigurement, they think life is anything but happy. But she explains it’s just the opposite, as the look of her face isn’t a factor in her life. Her facial disfigurement may set her apart from others, but she enjoys standing out.
In the end, there may be some who think negatively of facial disfigurements. It can be great to share your story to raise awareness and further educate those who simply may be curious. If you are someone who has a disfigurement on your face, just know that those facial features are beautiful just as they are!
If you want to learn more about owning your identity, check out Face Equality International, whose mission is to support those with facial disfigurements. Their goal is for anyone with a disfigurement to be treated with dignity and respect and to not be judged because of facial features.