V is for Vitiligo

Since the last time I wrote about having vitiligo, I’ve gotten perhaps marginally less bothered by it. This is probably a good, even necessary thing, because, earlier this year, this woman I met at some library function said to me, “Oh, you have vitiligo, don’t you?” very matter-of-factly. Six months earlier, I probably would have cringed, but I tried to respond in the spirit in which the question was asked.

Still, it bothers me somewhat. There was a picture taken of an event during Black History Month that I was leading. It was a black and white photo that ended up in my church’s April 2008 newsletter. I recognized everyone in the picture except one person. That of course, was me.

It’s still also damn inconvenient. Those of you in the colder climes will appreciate wanting to be out in the sun after several gray, morose days. Inevitably, though, I get burned, on any exposed skin, especially the top of my head and the back of my neck. I’ve become, quite literally, a redneck. Ironically, it’s easier to protect myself in summer because the cues (the heat, the bright sun) triggers the use of the sunscreen, hat, and other accouterments.

One of the people who talked to me after the first time I wrote about my vitiligo said that she’d love me anyway, regardless of how I looked. But recently, she saw me and asked if my skin were getting gray. No, I replied patiently, it’s the vitiligo. OH, she said.