‘You don’t need anyone’s validation in this world, just be yourself’

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On World Vitiligo Day, today, we speak to Digital content creator Aastha Shah who shares her journey of struggle with Vitiligo and acceptance.

At the age of eight years, she first got diagnosed with vitiligo. Back then it was a nightmare but now it’s her identity and the face of her confidence. Aastha Shah, 24-year-old digital content creator now surely knows how to embrace her real self. “I remember I fell down while playing and right after, a white patch appeared. We visited the doctor and he just gave us some creams to apply. My dad thought there’s something else to this, so he went home and googled it and it turned out to be vitiligo.  Next day we barged into the doctor’s cabin asking him why he didn’t tell us it’s vitiligo ? He just said ‘I know how parents react when their child gets vitiligo’,” says Shah.

After trying all kinds of medications like homeopathy, allopathy, naturopathy, UV rays, what really worked was acceptance. “People used to give me blank stares in public. In school I did get a lot of hate comments like ‘Dalmatian Dog’ ‘Half Indian, Half American’ ‘I won’t sit next to you in the exam because you have disgusting skin’. All of this made me really under confident. I used to cry and ask myself why me? My dad used to tell me every night before sleeping ‘don’t care about external looks because the day you become successful in life, no one’s going to care about the way you look,” says Shah who at the age of 14 went up to her dad and told him that she can’t do this anymore. “I want to stop all the medications and daily doctor visits and that’s when I started living a happy life. I started focusing more on myself and my career. I remember having coke for the first time because earlier I had so many restrictions, it felt amazing. My mom would encourage me to wear shorts clothes and flaunt my patchy skin,” says Shah.

At the age of 21, the white pigmentation naturally spread all over her body. “Over the years I realised that focusing on yourself and ignoring other people’s opinions is the key to growth. It’s never that easy to accept yourself the way you are but once you do it, there’s no stopping. You don’t need anyone’s validation in this world, just be yourself,” says Shah.

Her turning point was looking in the mirror and realising ‘ One cannot attach their self worth to the way they look’. “My main mantra is ‘Your skin doesn’t define you’. It’s easy to say this but I know how tough it is to accept yourself the way you are. Society has its own definition of ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful’ but you have to ignore it all and define it on your own. Another one is ‘Grow through what you go through’. You may have many rough patches throughout your journey but use your weakness as your strength and show the world you’re not different. All of us with vitiligo are just like one of you. #ViAreNotDifferent,” says Shah. 



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