Friday, October 7, 2011

Be Unique

Growing up with a birthmark is often a common thing. Many people are born with one on their leg, arm, stomach, or back. They can have one anywhere. Usually they are in well hidden places only noticed when wearing shorts or a bathing suit, depending on the location. As I am sure you have noticed, mine, by all means, is not well hidden. Mine is a bit more unique. In fact, it's available for the whole world to see. Even with make up it is impossible to completely cover the discoloration to my face.

This morning I read a statistic online that states that 3 out of 1,000 kids are born with a Port-Wine Stain birthmark. This is the type that I have. Out of those 3 kids, locations can vary. Many have their birthmark on their neck, arm, and sometimes the face. (The most occurring placement for this specific kind is on the neck and face.)

Today I am having a laser treatment to see how much lighter we can get the birthmark. For you to understand the complete story behind where I am going with this blog, let me explain a general and very basic summary of medical technicalities.

A Port-Wine Stain occurs with extra blood vessels. When someone has a laser treatment, the treatment causes the birthmark to darken for about two weeks. The laser basically "burns" the blood vessals creating them to shrink. Once they shrink the birthmark should start to lighten in color. (Although depending on the machine and the person - it does not always work.) As children go in for the procedure they are put to sleep. Once older (for me it was age 11) they are kept awake after an hour of numbing cream on the location of their birthmark.

As I previously said, I am having one of the laser surgeries today. My appointment will be at 3:30 and I will be kept awake. The prep time will take longer than the procedure. Depending on how much I can physically take, depends on how much of the face they will laser.

One of the most awkward parts about the surgery is the after affect of the slight swelling and darkening to the skin tone. Then as my mother left for work this morning, we had a conversation where some common sense hit me.

Mom: You guys can go eat at the restaurant afterwards today if you want since you'll be so close.
Me: Okay, thanks.
Mom: Just remember - your face will be darker and slightly swollen. You may get a lot of weird stares from people.
Me: Mom, I always get a lot weird stares even without the surgery. They're strangers. They don't know any better. For all they know - this is how I normally look.
Mom: Good point.

All this being said: What in life has a tendency to make you feel awkward? Standing up for what you believe in? Being different then all of your friends at work, or at school? Being the one who says, "I'm sorry, but I don't drink"?

In a first meeting, people can often only see the outside of another person. They don't always get to see the inside of a person's heart and being. By first glance and first impression strangers don't always get to learn what you're truly about. They don't learn your passions, your story, what you believe in, and why you are who you are today.

What are you living for? Don't be afraid to be who you truly are and to live for what you know is right. It might be awkward but be unique. Let people stare and give you weird looks for choosing not to party or drink. Let them give you weird looks when you say, "this offends me", if they're telling a bad joke, spreading rumors, or doing or saying something that offends you and your belief system. Live a life that makes them wonder, "What makes this person seem so different then everyone else?" Let them ask, "Why??"

Growing up is a common thing, just like growing up with a birthmark. However, like growing up with a birthmark like mine, living a life where a person truly follows their passion and a living a life without regret - that's what's unique. How many people out of 1,000 can say they have lived the life they knew they should, awkward moments and all?

People don't know the story behind your "birthmark". Not knowing leads to comments and questions - and that can be a good thing. It gives you a chance to share and educate other people about their new curiosity.

There is a song called, "Carry your Candle" by Chris Rice. (If you have never heard it, please give it a listen one day soon!) Part of the lyrics are as following:

"Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

Take your candle, and go light your world"

Unlike my birthmark, what people (strangers, friends, family) truly need to see isn't stamped on our foreheads or faces. It's not that easy. Live a life that you won't regret. Live life so other's can see God's light shining in your life. Carry your candle and light your world. Help others keep their candles lit bright through the winds of life that try to blow their light out by encouraging them and praying for them.

Be unique.

Being unique has it's up and down moments. Sometimes it's easier and other times it's harder. However, being unique in anyway always gives a stories to share...People might stare. They might give you weird looks at times. That's okay.

What story do you want to be able to tell??

the Travelin' Chick,

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