Sharing Raw Stories is a way for us to connect, acknowledge the beauty, strength and perseverance involved in every journey. We hope these stories enlighten, inspire and encourage you as you walk your own path and help you to know that you are never alone. What is your Raw Story?

 

It’s one of many beautiful days today and I find myself reflecting on life and really acknowledging the journey and along with it, the maturation of the woman who stands before me in the mirror. It has been 20 years that I have lived with Vitiligo and with it, has bestowed immense growth. I can’t say those years came and went with the breeze. In fact, the majority were quite trying and haven’t completely come to a halt and so I’ve certainly had my share of insecurities. I’ve had people stare, which continues to this day. I’ve had people not want to shake my hand. I’ve even had people laugh. Those situations were at the time, crushing and disheartening; but I am stronger now because of them and in the best way possible. The experience of living with Vitiligo has definitely been humbling and honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ve come to learn that it’s okay for people to stare. Some people are not educated on mental health or certain conditions that exist in the world. So, I believe it’s my…or more so, it’s our job to walk in faith and with confidence and to bring enlightenment to those around us and also on a grander scale. It’s okay to ask questions and discuss issues. That won’t always be easy either, but it’s a way of growth with a bridge to compassion and empathy. I’ve come to learn to love myself and accept my beautiful imperfections. They are me and we are all perfect. Today, I can stare back at the woman in the mirror with bright eyes and an open heart. I am a Mom and a wife. I’m a friend and I’m a daughter.  I am me and I need to be a light and an honorable example for my children and whomever or wherever else I can shine my light on. Let us be brave and let us be raw.

@jacqueline____montanez