When I first shared my “birthmark” photo shoot images last year, I was asked to join the Nevus Outreach, Inc. and Nevus Adults pages on Facebook which both serve as support groups for people with nevi. Through that group I met a lot of great people with similar birthmark stories and struggles. One of those people being the gorgeous Ferrin Francis. It was so refreshing and comforting to see someone with a story similar to mine. I immediately fell in love with her beauty mark and knew I had to share her story on my blog.
I’m a full time mother of two beautiful little girls whom I strive for everyday. I believe in God. I live my life and consider myself to be “superwoman!” I love my career as a mental health specialist. I counsel children and adults who suffer from depression, behavioral problems, tragedies, autism, and mental disorders. My work gives me perspective on things that are merely skin deep and reminds me of how blessed I am that the experiences I’ve encountered have made me strong.
My birthmark is called a hairy nevus. Its dark pigmented and extends from my right cheek to my nose. I call it my beauty-mark! I’m very confident and always have been but I have had good days and bad days just like everyone else. There were times when staring bothered me but once I became completely comfortable in my own skin, it didn’t anymore.
I’m from a small country town Rayne, Louisiana and growing up was actually a breeze for me. My mom explained to me that my birthmark was different and others would stare or inquire and that I shouldn’t be ashamed because it’s a part of me.
One memorable experience was when I had a slumber party when I was about ten years old. My friends asked to rub soap on it and they all rubbed my face and said how soft it was. It was acutally the first time someone other than my parents touched it. It was an embracing moment for me. I attended grade school with the same individuals so they were used to seeing me. I was actively involved in extra curricular activities such as beta club president, student council secretary, and varsity cheerleader. In senior year I was voted the most attractive 🙂
I decided to move to Baton Rouge, LA for college. During freshman year, I was asked to model for a magazine. It wasn’t what I expected it to be. I was told my birthmark was exotic by the photographer and I was asked to model lingerie. However, I was more interested in high fashion modeling because of my personal values as a woman.
Once a year I visit a dermatologist to make sure my birthmark is healthy. The doctor measures and feels it to make sure nothing has changed. Larger birthmarks are more likely to be cancerous. I’m grateful that I haven’t had any problems with it. The birthmark foundation website is terrfic. I met so many people online who share similar experiences and whenever in need of someone to relate to they are always there.
I’ve experienced more questions and stares as an adult more so than when I was a child. I have debated surgery maybe twice throughout my life because of the negative reaction I would get sometimes from strangers. I was in a church choir when I was younger and at the end of the service an elderly woman stood up and asked if I could remove what was on my face or was it permanent. It was embarrasing and I was so hurt as a child. Back in 2013, whilst my daughters and I were grocery shopping, a particular individual offended me tremendously. He said that birthmarks are evil and he made his wife and daughter’s birthmark disappear. He followed me to my car. I felt offended and embarrassed. I felt as if I didn’t want to continue defending my birthmark for the rest of my life. This incident sparked flames for seeking removal surgery. The plastic surgeon recommended tissue expansion. Basically, my skin would be implanted to grow additional skin and my birthmark would be cut out within a four month process. I felt it wasn’t worth it and that it would be humiliating to undergo this surgery just because I felt discouraged at that point in time. I decided not go through with it and that I will never remove my birthmark unless it’s for medical reasons. I gained my confidence back and I feel so comfortable in my skin now.
Lately, I haven’t experienced any stares or questions. I would actually love questions so I can add more experiences to the book I’ve been writing to help others. I’m so ecstatic about it! It’s real life situations and encounters I’ve experienced living with my birthmark. It focuses on uplifting and encouraging people to be themselves and be proud. I’ve read so many depressing stories about people having numerous surgeries and life is just passing them by because they’re focusing on changing something that makes them extraordinary!
My birthmark has made me one of the strongest women on this earth. I can stand in front of several people and look them straight in their eyes. My birthmark does not define who I am, it’s only a small part of what makes me unique from other individuals. My goal is to educate people who don’t know anything about birthmarks or battle with self esteem issues. I wear my birthmark with confidence. People accept it because I accept it. If I would allow it to hinder me then others would as well. I know that I am uniquely beautiful and no one can tell me different.
My birthmark does not define who I am, it’s only a small part of what makes me unique from other individuals.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and within my view, I’m the rarest jewel around!
When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change, because you’re amazing, just the way you are! – Bruno Mars
Thank you so much Ferrin for sharing your story with me! I can’t wait until you take those pictures and publish that book 🙂
If you or someone you know has a birthmark story similar to Ferrin’s, I’d love to hear from you! I love hearing stories about women who are loving the skin they’re in!
Until next time…