What did you say?

Hello everyone! 🙂 It has been almost 2 weeks since my last entry and now I finally have some time and decided on what I wanted to write about. This particular post was inspired by something someone said to me yesterday regarding my skin. So as many of you in the Ichthyosis community have experienced, strangers react in various ways to our skin. Thankfully, in my experience, most people have been nice, but unfortunately some are not as pleasant. Yesterday I was explaining to a friend about my need to put lotion on after my shower and their acquaintance decided it would be fitting to ask me, “What is it, was there a fire?” At this point in my life, I am used to people asking me stupid questions or making off-color comments but the way this guy asked me that really bothered me so I just turned to him and smiled and said, “Do I look like I’ve been in a fire? I mean, I don’t think I do! I have a genetic skin disorder.”

I know people have good intentions most of the time when they ask me about my skin, but sometimes the things they say can be completely uncalled for. I am not one to focus on the negative, but here’s just a few things I’ve heard over the years:

  • “Did you get sunburned?”
  • “Have you ever heard of sunscreen?”
  • “Were you in a fire?”
  • “Oh my God, you are so red!”
  • “Your hands look like old lady hands.”
  • “What happened to your face?”
  • “You should try this moisturizer.”
  • “Wow, what happened?”
  • “Did you get sunburned to death?”
  • “Your skin feels like snakeskin.”
  • “You’re ugly- go kill yourself.”
  • “Oh my God, you’re peeling!”
  • “Why are you peeling?”
  • “Did you get a face peel?”
  • “You’re reptilian.”

There are probably more, but those are the ones I can remember as far as some of the more uncalled for comments or questions have gone. You know what though, thinking of these less-than-pleasant words I have heard over the years brings me to the positive ones I’ve heard and hope everyone else has heard and should hear more often like:

  • “You are beautiful.”
  • “You are gorgeous.”
  • “You have nice skin.”
  • “I didn’t notice you even had a condition!”
  • “I love your rosy cheeks!”
  • “You have a pretty smile.”
  • “Your skin doesn’t bother me.”
  • “Your skin feels so cool!”
  • “Let me help you.”

Depending on how people ask about my skin, I will politely educate them, say something in my defense, or ignore them. I understand that people are curious about what they don’t normally see. I know there is a difference between genuine curiosity/concern/kindness and rudeness and I react accordingly. All in all, from my experience, people have said stupid things but the good reactions and the wonderful relationships I have formed in my life have made up for them. That guy last night who asked me if I had been in a fire offended me, and I wanted to be way more sarcastic and demeaning than I was in return but on the flip side, I was also surrounded by people who love and accept me for who I am and who have never asked me about my skin in the unkind manner he did. So really, for every one idiot who makes a ridiculous comment, there are at least 5 who won’t. 🙂

It’s like Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

 

 

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