A really cool story about how someone learned to love their unique features When Ash Soto was 12, she found out she had vitiligo. As her skin changed, she felt embarrassed, especially after someone asked if she had used bleach in the shower.
I was really confused when I found out I had vitiligo at 12 years old. I didn’t know what it meant or what would happen. My mom was upset, and I felt scared. I didn’t realize how much my life would be different after that.
But now, at 21 years old, I’m not only okay with my skin, I’m proud of it.
When she was a teenager, Ash decided she wouldn’t let her skin stop her. She started doing things like going out without covering her arms, and this led her to turn her body into amazing artwork.
“I didn’t know how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker. It makes the different colors in my skin stand out,” Ash said.
Now, she has transformed her body into various works of art, like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and she’s not planning to stop! “I’ve taken what some might see as imperfections and turned them into something beautiful, helping others accept it more than before,” she shared.
Vitiligo is a rare skin condition that makes parts of the skin lose their color, creating big white patches. It can sometimes run in families, but it’s the tendency to have it that’s passed down, not the condition itself.
As Ash got older, her vitiligo spread more, and she started facing negative comments from others.
“I started avoiding people and activities. I wanted to be happy, but I ended up feeling really bad about myself. I stopped doing things I enjoyed,” Sotoa said. “It got so bad that I couldn’t even make eye contact with people, and I just wanted to stay alone all the time. I also started feeling anxious and depressed.”
After a girl asked Ash if she had used bleach to shower, Ash felt really embarrassed about her skin and chose to cover up when she was outside.
“A lot of people might not know this, but vitiligo can also make certain spots in your hair turn gray, and that happened to me. So, I had to deal with how my looks were changing. It was really tough for me,” she shared in her interview with A Plus. “I used to see girls in magazines or on social media with flawless skin, and I felt envious because I didn’t have that.”
Ash was deeply hurt when someone made a hurtful comment about her skin. She felt really upset and even cried because of it, and she wished she didn’t have the skin condition.
However, as she got older, Ash decided to face her fears and take on small challenges. For example, she started going outside in short-sleeved shirts, even though she used to feel uncomfortable doing that.
“I used to write on a piece of paper every day, telling myself that I’m beautiful, strong, and worthy,” she shared with A Plus. “I reminded myself that I don’t have to meet society’s rules to be beautiful and special. I started doing things I wouldn’t normally do, like going out without covering up or wearing shorts. I let go of those negative thoughts and started seeing life in a positive way.”
It was when Ash began creating art on her body that she truly began to appreciate her skin condition. Her Instagram account played a significant role in this process.
Initially, Ash created an account to share self-portraits showcasing her impressive makeup abilities, but she kept her vitiligo hidden. Eventually, she gathered the courage to reveal her condition to her followers by posting a photo on her account.
“The idea of showing my whole self on social media was really scary. We’ve all witnessed or experienced how mean people can be, especially when they’re hidden behind a screen,” Ash Soto explained to A Plus. “It took me a while to open up and be true to myself. I decided to share it when I felt strong enough and mentally prepared to handle any negative responses, no matter how they came.”
The response she got was really positive. Lots of people reached out to share their own stories about vitiligo or their own challenges with feeling good about their bodies. This supportive reaction gave Ash the confidence to share more photos that showed her vitiligo.
She began by outlining the white patches on her skin and noticed that the lines looked like a map of the world.
“I didn’t know how beautiful my vitiligo was until I traced it with a black marker; It really helps bring out the different colors of my skin.”
“I will keep making various art pieces using my skin and hopefully encourage others as well.”
In her own words, at just 21 years old, this woman has successfully transformed what others saw as a flaw into beautiful lines of a work in progress that fills her with pride.
“I wish to keep bringing attention to vitiligo and the value of embracing our bodies. My goal is to carry on with my current efforts, which involve motivating others to embrace their true selves,” Ash shared in her interview with A Plus.
Every one of us has a unique life to live, and the qualities that make us different are what make us extraordinary. The most important person who should accept and love you is yourself. The beauty standards society sets are often impossible to achieve for most people. Instead of aiming for these standards, your main goal should be to embrace the things that make you imperfect. Loving yourself is the most important form of love, always keep that in mind.
Source and contribution: Nation