This is one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write. I’ve written this post so many times and with each time that I’ve wrote it I deleted it. Just typing the words harelip or cleft pallet has my heart racing. So you’re probably wondering what in the world I’m talking about. Especially if you’ve been following me for sometime. Well today I’m sharing a secret that I’ve been hiding. It’s something that even though I’m a 50 years old I still have a hard time dealing with.
Here we go. I was born with what I was told was a harelip. I guess they call it a harelip because it resembles a rabbits mouth. Pointed at the top. I really hate that word so much! I’ve had two surgeries. One surgery was when I was an infant. The other was when I was five years old or so. I can’t remember. The second surgery was supposed to make my scar less noticeable and my lip look more shaped like a lip. But the surgeon did a horrible job in my opinion and it looks the same as it did before I had the second surgery done.
Because of my defect, another word I hate, I was bullied quite a bit in school. Yeah, school was pretty much hell for me. From kindergarten all the way until High School I was constantly put down and teased. My parents told me to ignore the haters but it’s hard to ignore people that constantly call you ugly and make fun of the one part of your feature that you hate the most.
One of the best things that happened to me as a teen was meeting my husband. I honestly don’t know how he fell so in love with me but he did. He seemed to not even notice my lip at all. Like it never happened. He was and still is the sweetest guy. I hit the jackpot when I met him.
As an adult I was bullied as well. That’s something that actually hurt more than the kids I went to school with. It was seven years after I graduated High School. I was at a nail salon getting my nails done and the whole time I was getting bullied by the nail techs as they said things like lip liner isn’t going to change the way your lip is, it still looks the same. And so on. Yeah nice huh?
But I’ll tell you something that you probably find hard to believe. I don’t hate any of the people that bullied me. I really don’t. When I think back to those years it hurts me deeply. But I don’t have anger. I guess that’s the funny thing about words. They can cut you like a knife, deep in your soul. Time can pass but those words, those words are still there and no matter how much time goes by they still hurt. So please don’t ever tell your children that words don’t hurt, they do, believe me they do.
I decided to go to beauty school because I always loved messing with my hair and makeup. I think that was one of the best things I did because I was sort of shy in High School. Not the kind of shy that’s afraid to make friends or talk to people. But afraid to look someone in the face for fear that all they will do is look at my different lip. I knew that I would have to work on clients that I would have to be face to face with. This scared the freaking hell out of me. But I did it. I graduated from beauty school and started my career. I was always a little nervous when I met my clients for the first time. I always wondered will they stare at my lip? Will they ask questions? I have to be honest I’m not one of those people that enjoys someone pointing my lip out and asking what happened. I truly don’t like to talk about it. I try to ignore it but it’s there.
My husband well he’s pretty amazing. He had a horrific accident 20 years ago. A machine he was working on amputated half of his arm ( Click to read) Even though he wears a prosthetic arm if someone asks him what happened he doesn’t mind. I mean he’s totally fine with that. It doesn’t upset him at all. Me, well I hate it. I have friends that I’ve known for years and they’ve never asked me about my lip, ever. I’m thankful for that.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I prayed to God that she would not inherit my birth defect. I didn’t want her to get teased or bullied as I was. When my husband handed her to me after she was born I saw that her lips were perfect. I was so happy I can’t tell you how happy I was to see her perfect lips.
Last summer I went to speak in front of my peers at a seminar. I wasn’t nervous about getting up in front of people to speak. But I was worried about what they would think about how I look. Were they listening to me or just looking at my lip. I’m always self conscious when meeting people for the first time. Even when I’m out and about it’s always on my mind. What will people think about the way I look. One way I try to hide it is by smiling a lot. Smiling makes my scar and lip less noticeable.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well when I started my blog for a while I never wanted to share my photo of myself. I wasn’t confident in myself. The internet is a big scary place. Some people feel the need to point out imperfections. But I decided I needed to put a face with my blog. I really feel that doing that connects me with you. If you were reading this story and you never saw my face well you’d probably wonder what does she look like, am I right?
Recently I decided to start a Youtube channel. I have to tell you I love creating videos. I love being able to share a painting technique or decorating tips. I even enjoy sharing makeup tips and skincare. This was really scary for me because it’s not just a photo of me, but me talking. That’s when I feel my lip can stand out a little more.
One thing I’ve had to do because I basically have no upper lip is I over draw my lip to make it look like I have one. But when I’m filming the lights are very reflective and it makes my lip stand out more making it even more noticeable. The lights always make my scar stand out a little more too. So I’ve been playing with the lights to try and disguise my lip. Recently I’ve had a few comments like I love your videos but you’re lip liner is so distracting, or you’re lighting is way off you’re too washed out. The reason for this has been explained above. I’ve been trying to disguise my lip as much as possible. I mean I know you see it, but I’m trying to make it less noticeable. And by the way those of you that left those comments I want to thank you. I’m glad that you said something. I needed to be upfront with you and not hide behind the camera and lights. Your comments helped me to share this with you so thank you.
People think that because you “Put yourself out there” they have a right to critique. And I’m not talking about someone mentioning my lip liner or the lighting. I’m talking about someone being nasty about my deformaty. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m waiting for it to happen. Being bullied most of my life I’ve learned to turn on the defensive.
I’m working on getting more comfortable in front of the camera so please be patient with me. I’m trying to figure out the lighting so you can see me better and I feel more comfortable. I guess that’s why I fell in love with makeup. Even though it doesn’t totally hide my flawed lip, for me it makes it a little less noticeable. It gives me confidence when I’m out in public. And truth be told I would love to have something done to fix it a little more. I’m going to talk to my dermatologist for a few options. I don’t know when I will be able to do it because it will be costly. But before I get too old I would love to have it fixed so I can walk with real confidence instead of walking with my head down.
So there you have it the story of me. I wish I could tell a younger person that has this birth defect that over time things get better as far as confidence, but I can’t. I think it’s the fact that I was bullied so much. I still hate the way my lip looks. I wish I could be someone like Lizzie Velasquez. Even though she was born without adipose tissue, she’s had her challenges with her health. But when I look at her I think she’s beautiful. I think that comes from her confidence. I do feel more confident that I was as a teen. But I still have a part of me that’s not confident. I guess that’s why I’ve had issues with the lighting. I know I need to let it go, and maybe after putting this out there it’s part of the healing process that I can start learning out to let go.
It was hard to do but I shared this on a video. You can watch it below.