College student Amber Williams began noticing her skin was changing at the age of 10. She visited the doctor and was diagnosed with vitiligo. Williams thought her life would never be “normal” after that.
“I truly thought at that moment that my life would never be the same, and I was right,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Coming to terms that I had the same disease as Michael Jackson was an extremely difficult thing to do.”
Williams struggled to love what made her different, even with the support of her parents and church. When she began developing spots on her face, her first instinct was to try to cover it up with makeup.
After many failed attempts to find a makeup technique that worked, she gave up and began to accept herself.
“Every day I looked at myself in the mirror and I said ‘by his stripes I am healed,'” she shares. “I would look at the spots I liked the least and find something I did like about them.”
The 21-year-old says that finding her confidence was a process and that it was made possible with the help of prayer, family, and friends.
Williams credits her mother with being a big help in coming to terms with what she looked like, “My mom would always tell me I had to trick out my skin, meaning that I had to carry myself with confidence by dressing the way I wanted to, trying different hairstyles, and playing with makeup.”
The Chicago native says that dealing with stares, bullying, and ignorant questions can be difficult. It takes daily work to stay positive, confident, and calm in those everyday situations. “I want to be honest,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Having vitiligo is hard at times.”
“It is a consistent fight to stay this strong and confident. Once you get there you have to fight like hell to stay there.”
That said, Williams wants to help others find and celebrate their unique beauty. “You have to look at the parts of you that you don’t like about yourself and find something positive about it,” she advises. “For people that are spiritual, prayer is the best thing you can do. I pray a lot and talk to God about certain things.”
She also recommends to others to follow her mom’s advice: “You have on trick out your flaws.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- How a Woman With Vitiligo Changed This Makeup Artist’s Outlook on Life
- Woman Called ‘Skunk’ From White Streak in Her Hair and ‘Vitiligo-Like’ Birthmarks Becomes a Model
- Chic New Marc Jacobs Ad Features Model With Vitiligo