A Short Story of a Little Girl’s Insecurities

By: Malak Atwa

I asked some people what the first thing they see when they look at my face is; some said eyes, others said lips, but most people, well, they said my birthmark.

If I were to describe my face I’d probably say it’s quite round and long from the top, a huge forehead that’s for sure, with little bumps from dehydration, however, it goes downwards into a strong somewhat triangular jaw. The eyes are narrow and brown, pretty basic if I do say so myself. The bridge of my nose is straight, but the tip is a bit bulky, not too much though. The eyebrows are thick and quite defined. The cheeks are not too hallow nor too full, a “perfect” in between. And on the left cheek is where it lies. The birthmark.

When I was a little girl, my birthmark was the focal point of my unhappiness. I felt ugly because of it. It was the reason that I was picked on and bullied – among other things, but mainly my birthmark – people would make fun of me; they’d say I was disgusting for not washing my face because it was basically just a dark blob on my cheek. For some reason everyone hated it. At first when I was a kid, I didn’t really notice it and frankly I didn’t really care, it never bothered me, that was of course until middle school, because so many people hated it, I only thought it was right for me to hate it too. It’s very funny how much control people may have over your own self perception.

I didn’t really have that many friends. Not a lot of people liked my presence. Because i was picked on and bullied so much i lived by the saying “it’s better to be feared than loved” and i tried to make people scared of me as much as possible,i was sick and tired of being the underdog and felt it was time for a change, it was time to be the person that people feared instead of fearing others. I would go home crying to my parents. Why did you make me ugly? I would stare in the mirror for hours trying to hide that hideous thing on my face. I used my moms makeup, i even tried tanning the rest of my face so it would look somewhat equivalent, but obviously nothing worked, nothing could ever balance out the ugliness of it. My mom after seeing how miserable i was, how the birthmark was such an “inconvenience”-which now that i look back on it, it really wasn’t-she told me that when i would turn 18 i could get it lasered off, and that was the happiest day of my life.

I started counting down the years,months,days until i would turn 18,which seemed like forever. And at the age of 7 it really was forever. I started seeing other people in my class get bullied, i knew hot that felt more than anybody really. I had the power to join in and make it worse, i could have turned a blind eye, but instead i would try to help. I tried using the power that i had for good, i would sit with them and tell them that they don’t know what they’re talking about, they’re ignorant and not worth your time. It was something i wanted to hear in my time of need,but nobody was really there, at least not the right ones, not the ones that mattered to me.

9 years later, as I’m blowing out my candles and turning 16, (and as cliché as this is) I have learned that my birthmark was not the focal point of my unhappiness or ugliness. My birthmark was the focal point of my beauty. It makes me feel beautiful. It’s what makes my face different from all the other bland and boring faces, and I have never loved myself more.

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