My name is Kelly I am a freshman at University, and my major is Speech Pathology. I am from Greenville, MS, which is known as the heart of the Delta. I am currently eighteen years old until May 9th. As you can tell from this blog, I am an Ichthyosis fighter and survivor. I have been dealing with this condition my whole life, and I must say it has been a struggle. Some may consider it a curse, but I see it as a blessing in disguise.
I was asked the question how has ichthyosis challenged, shaped, and strengthened me, and I was thinking how I could sum that all up. As I stated before I have dealt with this condition my whole life. I have endured both positive and negative comments and actions.
How has it challenged me? Being known as the girl with the bad skin my whole life was very hard because at one point I felt like that was me and nothing else. I felt like I was bound to that name and that persona. It was hard trying to fit in or being accepted because people were unaware of my condition and often treated me as diseased person or an outcast. It was hard growing up because my condition would go from good to bad and most of the time carried a strong scent that was unbearable. No one knew my condition or how to treat it and was not only a challenge to my family but to myself as well. The most difficult challenge of them all was dealing with other’s opinions about how God made me. I would take on so many negative comments and try and smile and brush it off. I tried to live by the “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” motto but it was so much one person could take. ‘Yo skin stank’, ‘Don’t touch me, I don’t want that stuff’, or the cold hearted stares is what I would endure due to ignorance.
How has it shaped me? Due to the mean comments and actions it has shaped me into a positive individual. I learned to not judge someone based on how they look but how they are as a person. I was often prejudged and never really took serious as a person because of the way I looked. Although I have a nice heart and amazing personality, my skin has held me back from letting it show, and others didn’t see potential in me. I was in shell that was hard to break free from. For a long time, I felt like I worthless or forever alone because my skin was different from everyone else’s. I started to second guess myself as person with many talents and that is beyond blessed. From being bullied and constantly being hurt by people who both know me and don’t know me, I’ve learned to forgive and forget. I can’t live my life angry because they missed out on knowing a charismatic individual like me. I learned to treat others how I want to be treated regardless of anything.
How has it strengthened me? God made me in his image. I was placed on this earth to show off his good works. Although my skin is bad, I am an intelligent individual with an amazing personality and capable of achieving any goals I have set. Through every hardships I’ve faced dealing with condition, made me a strong young lady with a positive mindset. God has placed me here to show the world with my bad skin I can be whatever I want. I stand tall as constant ichthyosis fighter. Although my fight is far from over, I am making it through until the end.
Having a rare condition like Ichthyosis prepares you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It shows you how cruel the world can be along with the positive and motivating aspects. No matter what others may say and do, I always remember why I am here and what my main purpose is. I thank God, my family, and my friends for the help through my ups and downs. It is not easy but through it all I’m thankful for it. I look at it as because I have it I’m different. Because I have it, it shows my uniqueness in world where there is very little individuality. My scaly, rough, and flaky skin makes me who I am and I love it.”
May is Ichthyosis Awareness Month – I am sharing stories of people who have experienced Ichthyosis. Read all stories in the Ichthyosis Awareness Month Blog Project here.