At some other parts of this board, a few people have touched on what seems to me like an excellent point about how sometimes we assume the worst about people and create a self-fulfilling prophesy about relationships. We start putting out “get away from me” vibes. Everyone has relationship problems from time to time. Those of us with birthmarks, I think, tend to ascribe any such problems to our marks when it may be something entirely different. It’s like that joke about the [insert whichever race/ethnicity] man who stuttered and when he was turned down for a job as a radio announcer, he called the hiring committee racists.
It’s a natural reaction to build walls to protect yourself from hurt, but sometimes the walls are what are really causing the problem. For me, I first noticed I was doing this when someone told me they’d been wanting to try to get to know me but hadn’t tried earlier because I always looked like I wanted to be alone or like I was busy or something. Of course, I did! I’d been cultivating that image because I thought I had to be alone because of my VMs, but I also had too much pride to look needy or lonely, so I tried to look like I wanted to be alone! Even after this, I went to college with my best friend whom I’d known since childhood and even he said he was sometimes a little too intimidated to approach me when he saw me on campus. Now, that’s pretty bad. I mean, it’s not like I wear a spiked collar.
I do notice that sometimes guys look at me (I’m a woman). Automatically, I assume they’re thinking “Ew, what an ugly freak!” or at best “Oh, poor thing!” so I freeze up and get defensive. But what if they’re thinking “Hey, what a hot babe!”, but then I don’t smile back so they think, “Oh, looks like she’s not interested.”
I think the same thing goes for anyone with a physical difference. Sometimes we have to be the one to make the first move and do what we can not to become icy and unapproachable because we’ve been hurt in the past. (Easier said than done!) Even then, maybe you try flirting, but it doesn’t work. Maybe that’s not because of the mark, but something else.
Once, some of my women friends and I were sitting around complaining about why we had no boyfriends, boring jobs, and other problems. Being women, we blamed our bodies: “If I were thinner, I could get a better job”, “If I didn’t have such a big nose, I’d get invited to more parties” and on and on. It finally reached the point of absurdity and one of the women said, “You know, if I just had bigger breasts, there would be peace on Earth!” and we all laughed. I think of that line every time I feel myself slipping into self-pity. I think it helps sometimes just to imagine what you would ascribe relationship problems to if you didn’t have the birthmark. After all, if someone can’t love a person just because that person has birthmarks, it would make me wonder if they really know what love is.
Well, that’s my 2 cents, anyway. I’d better get down off the soapbox now.