A stranger’s unexpected words about a woman’s facial birthmark reminds us that beauty is everywhere
Far too often when a man walks up to a woman waiting in line and says, “Can I ask you a question,” what comes next nothing you want to hear. But when Crystal Hodges was standing in line at the post office, a chance encounter with a complete stranger reminds us all that there are still kind people in the world, those who recognize inner beauty when they see it.
She writes, “Standing in line at the post office today, there was a middle-aged worker helping us. Looking at me, he spoke up, ‘Do you mind if I ask you a question?'” Hodges has a port-wine birth mark on her face that’s been there since birth. She says that 99.999% of the time when a stranger approaches her with a question, it’s about her birthmark. So when the worker at the post office asked if her could ask her a question, she thought she knew where the conversation was headed. But Hodges was only partially right.
“Replying with a smile, I told him, ‘Sure.’
Then, instead of asking me a question, he told me, ‘My daughter has the same birthmark as you do. And actually, so does my niece. I know many people can be unkind with how they react to birthmarks like yours, but just ignore them. You are beautiful.’
Dear sir…Thank you for your kindness. You’re making the world a more beautiful place.”
Hodges was so touched by the experience that she shared her story with the popular Facebook page Love What Matters. Readers were just as moved by the postal worker’s insight as Hodges. Not only are people echoing his statement that Hodges is a beautiful girl (to which we say, duh), but many are sharing their own photos of visible birthmarks and tales of being comfortable and proud in their skin.
“I also have a birthmark on my face and many people have made fun of me for it or made rude comments. I used to be ashamed but through the years I’ve grown to love it because it makes us different and sometimes it’s better to stand out. We’re perfect just the way we are! You’re absolutely beautiful love!
“Some people can be so rude and just stare. But as we get older we learn to just ignore it and be proud of the way God made us💗”
“:) I love my birthmark and wouldn’t change it for anything! It actually is almost like a temperature gauge; when I’m sick it gets brighter. Haha!”
Hodges told Scary Mommy she’s happy that her story has inspired so many. “The majority of strangers who react are unkind. People stare, people have called me contagious, and I’ve been turned into a meme because of my appearance – which went viral to over 30 million strangers. Sadly, most reactions are on the negative side – and it’s my goal to help change the world’s perception of how people with physical differences are seen,” she said. “Whether I’m writing, speaking, or making a new friend – it’s my goal to make a difference with my difference. I want to pave the way for future generations, hoping that their journey will be filled with less hardship and cruel comments, and with more joy and acceptance. So, when the happy, kind strangers come along? How can I not share about their kindness and the encouragement they bring to my life?”
Hodges has both a port wine stain birthmark, and Sturge-Weber Syndrome. She was 24 before she met another person with the same conditions. In an effort to help others like her feel less alone and to educate people she’s started a Facebook page where she features her writings on what it’s like living with a visible birthmark.
Hodges knows that when you have a physical difference that sets you apart from the crowd, there might be days when your self-confidence calls in sick. But she feels it’s important to stress to others struggling with those same emotions that those bad feelings won’t be there forever. “You’re not alone. You’re not the only one. And you should never feel ashamed of your natural appearance,” she says. “And while it may seem that the majority of people are cruel – please know that there are at least twice as many kind, genuine, and caring people out there who are on your side…sometimes they’re just found in beautiful, unexpected places.”
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