Like seeing a ghost, only different

For the past few weeks, I've been working on a photo montage for my sister's wedding. I'm using One True Media to build it. The video will play without music at the wedding reception, but I'm adding music to it anyway. I figure my sister and her husband might like to have it with the music if they watch it sometime in the future.

This project has been a lot of fun for me. I really don't consider it a chore at all.  Sorting and editing all of the photos has been a walk down memory lane, as the saying goes.  Recently, my sister borrowed an old photo album from our dad. She and her fiance scanned a bunch of childhood/baby photos and sent them to me for the montage. Naturally, I'm in some of them.

As both of my readers are undoubtedly aware, I have some chronic self-esteem issues. I can trace many of my issues to growing up with a fun little treat called Vitiligo.  I went through de-pigmentation treatment when I was 14. It took about two years.  Most people with Vitiligo fight tooth and nail to keep their pigment but for me, there was no way to get it back. I'd lost far too much pigment. My skin was tan in some spots and fair in others (spots where my oh-so-helpful immune system had already killed off the melanocytes).  The treatment basically helped the process along and killed the pigment cells that were left.  Adios, au revoir, buh-bye.

When I appear in my own dreams, I am my usual fair-skinned self. I hardly remember being any other way. The emotional pain stays with me, of course. The stares, the comments, the bullying. Those things have a way of getting permanently lodged in one's psyche. It's just hard to remember a time when I was the same color as everyone else.

That's why the photos I received this week are so jarring. First off, I was cuter than I remembered.  I couldn't compete with my middle sister's chubby cheeks and effervescent smile, but I wasn't the hunchback of Notre Dame or anything.  Second, 1970s fashion . . . it was kind to no one.

Me, before:

That's not Jesus on the couch behind us. It's my dad.


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