Back in December I did something from outside of my comfort zone. While searching YouTube for videos about vitiligo, I happened to find a video: “The Beholder: Beauty Through the Eyes of April Mitchell”. I knew I had to contact April. So I used my investigative skills and tracked her down through her mother, Lori.
April and Lori Mitchell have been active members of the vitiligo community for many years. They have attended national conferences. They told me of the several big research organizations they were involved in. Lori even wrote a children’s book featuring her daughter called “Different Like Me” which teaches acceptance and awareness of our differences and similarities.
So one fateful day in January we all met at a Starbucks and shared our experiences. They are both artists and amazing, genuine people. This was the first time in decades that I had ever spoken about my skin condition in depth with someone who had it. It felt like finding a missing piece of my family. I was moved by April’s confidence and self awareness at such a young age and how she had been brave enough to share her story.
At this point I had been tossing around some ideas for a vitiligo project. After I met them I became even more inspired and knew that I was headed in the right direction.
The idea of a social event just for us (Vitiligans?) appealed to me. The idea of a photography show/book also was very clear in my mind. Over the past few months I have been pursuing both of these, although it has been daunting at times. I have a lot of the old difficulties and blocks which I learned as a child with vitiligo. Self-promotion, asking for help, taking bold actions all are still new arenas for me.
But as a result I’ve gotten people’s attention. I’ve had people offer their help. People across the country have contacted me out of random connections. My vitiligo beach party event is taking place in June. And this feels like just the beginning.
So I encourage you to take one step out of your comfort zone. Talk to that person you would like to talk to but still haven’t yet. Share something you care about with as many people as possible. See what happens.
Find Lori’s Book