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My name is Chelsea De La Rosa and I am 15 years old. I am a young girl with quite an interesting life and to top it off, I have vitiligo. My vitiligo story is the following:
My mother had noticed a few white spots appearing on my legs. Like any other concerned mother, she took me to the doctors to check what was going on. We were at a community center at the time, and we had gone three times and each time they had a new excuse. The first time we went the doctor told me that it was the sun. Since I have been allergic to sunscreen my entire life this made complete sense to me, but of course not to my mother. My mother kept me away from the sun for a few weeks expecting a change and of course nothing happened. The second week my mom had decided to go in again and check in with a different doctor. This doctor told us that it was the change in climate. Since we travel A LOT that made sense to me, and of course it didn't make sense to my mom. She kept asking herself if the change in climate is affecting me then why wasn't it affecting my sister. Two weeks later my mom went in again to a different doctor hoping to get answers. This time their excuse this time was that it was the water we were showering in. This one definitely did not make sense to me or my mother. This reasoning was just ridiculous. My mom is very impatient. As a result, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She saved up a bit of money and looked at me and said if they won't give me answers here, they will over there.
It was 4:00 in the morning and we are in the waiting room of a dermatologist office in the Dominican Republic. We waited for hours and hours and we finally got in. The doctor greets us and asks whats wrong. We quickly explained to her about the marks on my legs and she asked me, "Can you please pull up your pants so that I can see your marks?" I showed her and she looks at me and says, "Do not worry, it is only vitiligo." In a matter of ten minutes, we were already headed back home.
Growing up with vitiligo has been a struggle. I was always embarrassed to show my legs, which was why I decided to throw away all of my shorts and stick to long pants. Until I joined the basketball team. I tried so hard to convince the athletic director at the time to let me wear long sweatpants but he did not budge. My genius solution was to wear knee-high socks.
Another struggle was seeing people I had not seen in a long time. They would say things like, "Wow! you have changed so much" (smirks). Then there were those who would point out every single time I had a new mark.
Then there was my aunt, "Wow Chelsea, you are getting whiter. I guess you are gonna be the first White member of the family."
There was also the regular which included people constantly looking at me like I had three heads. The kids at school calling me names like 'Chocolate chip'. And my FAVORITE, the "You should try this remedy" or the "I once knew someone with that and he/she did this to get rid of it."
These experiences made me constantly ask myself, "Why do people always have something to say?"