Every so often a story really catches my attention because of the impact it has in giving other people courage. Particularly, when a message tackles the top of “insecurities,” I am quite thankful. Of those, insecurities about the way we look can affect us to our core and damage immensely.
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When Crystal Hodges walked into a post office one day, she didn’t know how one stranger’s words would soon impact hundreds of people. One of the first things you notice about Crystal is her prominent port-wine birthmark on her face. Crystal is often stared at and asked about it, so when a post office worker asked if he could ask her a question, she was prepared to explain her birthmark to him.
“Standing in line at the post office today, there was a middle-aged worker helping us,” Hodges recounted the story on the popular Facebook group Love What Matters. “Looking at me, he spoke up, ‘Do you mind if I ask you a question?'”
Crystal knew what was next but still smiled through what could end up a painful conversation bringing up more insecurities.
“Almost instantly, I knew he was probably about to ask me about my birthmark (As 99.999% of questions from total strangers are about that very topic.) Replying with a smile, I told him, ‘Sure.'”
What happened next shocked Crystal and motivated her to tell the story to others.
“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 story inspired others with birthmarks on their face to share their pictures and stories of how they have faced mean stares but are proud of their distinctly beautiful look.
“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,” one girl shared on Facebook.
Hodges told Scary Mommy she’s looking to make a difference with her difference.
“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,” she said.
“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. 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?â€
Crystal started a Facebook page to share with others what it’s like to live with a visible birthmark. She wants to inspire others to be comfortable in their own skin.
“You’re not alone. You’re not the only one. And you should never feel ashamed of your natural appearance,”Crystal 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.â€
Let’s all strive to be like that kind stranger at the Post Office – make others feel beautiful.
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