When I first heard the name Vitiligo, I had no idea what it was. But when it was described to me, I recognised it because I had seen a few people whose skin had patches of discolouration and I had always wondered it was. So naturally I was curious to understand and learn about it.

But my best teacher was actually a lovely friend of mine who has the condition. She developed Vitiligo in her early twenties and noticed some interesting things happening with her skin. She noticed white patches coming up in different areas and she observed that when one side of her body developed a patch, the exact opposite side of her body developed a patch in the same area. She also noticed that the areas of white patches would stop and start growing very randomly and there was no telling if her entire body would be covered or whether it would just remain patchy forever.

When she was first diagnosed, she sought every treatment you can imagine. She tried using cosmetics to mask the discolouration but eventually it got to a point where she just couldn’t hide it. She looked into many alternative treatments as well, but none of them worked at all. She even explored Chinese medicine but it was a total disaster. They gave her a very potent tree root which instead of addressing her Vitiligo, instead almost paralysed her entire gut to the point where she couldn’t swallow anything and she was unable to eat for over a week.

After that horrific experience she decided she was absolutely done with trying to treat her Vitiligo and that she would just accept it. She decided that she was done caring what anyone else thought when they looked at her and she was going to accept herself exactly the way she was. When she talked to her doctor and told him she just wanted to leave it alone, he agreed with her and said she was still beautiful, with Vitiligo or without.

I just admired that about her because she was able to accomplish a state of being that most of us only dream about. The freedom that comes from dropping other peoples’ opinions about us is so liberating and that’s what she found. I really think that this condition was brought into her life to help lift that veil of illusion that separated her from her true self.

Today, she is almost completely white, with a few patches on her face, arms and legs. But what’s so fascinating to me is that when I see her, I don’t even see the patches anymore. It’s almost as though her acceptance of who she is allows me to do the same. The patches are just irrelevant.

In fact, I think this is something we could apply to ourselves whether we have Vitiligo or not. If there is something about ourselves that we find hard to admit to or don’t like to look at, what would happen if we just accepted it and allowed it to be? What if stopping all the hiding and avoiding brings us that freedom that we are all seeking in some form?

Just a thought.