“By being true to myself, I created a welcoming space for others to be themselves too.”
My name is Anna, I am 15 years old, and I was born with CMN. My CMN covers my whole right arm and hand as well as that, I have multiple large naevi on my back and legs, plus many small satellites all over my body.
When I was 15 months old, I had an operation on my face removing a naevus, leaving a scar on my lower left cheek. Then when I was 7 years old, I had another removing a raised area on my right arm.
From a very early age, I was never really self-conscious of my CMN, but my visual difference always led to questions from peers and stares from strangers, which can be both uncomfortable and isolating. Now, in my teen years, being different is hard as society makes you feel like you have to look a certain way to fit in! Most people accept me for me, whereas a few others make it hard for me to feel normal. Somehow making friends always came naturally to me, rather than shying away from my uniqueness, I embraced it, recognizing that it was a valuable aspect of my personality. By being true to myself, I created a welcoming space for others to be themselves too.
I find summer the hardest time to have CMN. However, as the years have gone on, I have learnt how important it is to protect your skin in the sun. I always have to reapply sun cream and often wear long sleeves to protect my CMN from the sun, which is uncomfortable in the heat.
I am very grateful for my parents and siblings for giving me support and encouragement in anything I did and helping me build resilience and confidence. I am especially thankful for my dad for teaching me never to care what anyone thinks and if anyone said or did anything he would deal with them! Fortunately, he never had to do this as I get on with most people and my CMN doesn’t really bother anyone.
In conclusion, growing up with CMN is a different experience with its ups and downs, but at the end of the day everyone’s life is unique, and I wouldn’t change mine, even if I had the chance.