Introducing our Young Ambassador Orla. This Air Cadet with CMN has successfully navigated her way through tricky times building inner strength. Finding peace with her birthmarks will help her soar through life.
My name is Orla, I am 14 and I was born with CMN. I had a CMN on my lower back removed when I was a baby, I still have CMN in places but fortunately I am able to cover most of my CMN but I still have some CMN that shows.
Growing up with CMN didn’t affect me too badly. I saw myself just like the children. My CMN never really bothered me and luckily for me I was never seen as different either when people noticed it or if I told them about it. I am very grateful for all of those people who never judged me or thought of me differently.
I started using social media when I was about 10 and began to realise I was different and started thinking more negatively about myself.I was very hard on myself and became quite self conscious, especially when i used to do things with my primary school such as going swimming. I used to wear a swimsuit which was longer in the legs and covered most of my CMN .Even so, I still didn’t feel comfortable seeing all the other girls and feeling different. However, I kept swimming and I loved being in the pool but I hated the walk to the changing rooms. I was so scared of what people might think if they saw my CMN as I was walking out. When I did get into the changing room it felt even worse having to change completely in front of other people.. Thankfully, I was at an age where people around me never fully understood and probably didn’t care.
When I started Secondary School, the fear hit me very hard. I joined a school in which I only knew 3 other people going and I lost all my confidence. Luckily, I made friends with some of the loveliest people and I started becoming very close to them. Once I got to the point where I knew I could trust them I opened up to my friends about my CMN. They told me they had already seen it and they didn’t see me as any different from them. They let me explain everything about my CMN and how sometimes I have bad days and they understood completely.
As I mentioned, I have my good days and bad days but the good days 100% weigh out the bad. Days. I love everything I do. I am an Air Cadet and I really enjoy that. I enjoy spending time with my friends and I love listening to music. I also enjoy meeting other people with CMN at the gatherings.
I do have a lot of fun with my friends and family and feel comfortable with myself about my CMN now. I understand that there’s no quick fix but I have found peace with my birthmarks. I am no longer scared to tell people about my birthmarks and how it affects me. Although, sometimes it does play at the back of my mind that some people will see me or treat me differently or give me sympathy.
I’m not sad about my birthmark. I try to look at it as a positive thing. I make the most out of it such as attending Caring Matters Now , meeting and seeing other people that I know with CMN and becoming a Young Ambassador. Caring Matters Now is a really great and amazing charity and just knowing that I’m not the only person out there that struggles with it and that I’m not alone makes just a little bit easier for me. That’s exactly what they do and I’m incredibly grateful for it.