What I've Learned: Reflecting on Life with Psoriasis

Last updated: July 2019

What truly matters is how you see yourself. The version of you that is the truest form is how you reflect back at yourself. It is something that stems from your soul to your skin. Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder, but beauty is also within all of us.

How you see yourself

It is said that it matters not how others see you, but how you see yourself. This is often accompanied by a photo of a small ginger kitten looking in a mirror and staring back is a majestic male African lion- his impressive mane framing his strong face. This is a stark difference to a small ball of ginger fluff looking into the mirror. I was blessed enough to be raised in a home where our looks were not the main focus of our upbringing. I've always been a little softer around the edges, but I focused on being a good person. These days when I look in the mirror, I see someone different than who I used to be.

Remanants of my prior self

Psoriasis has taken its toll on my body, that young woman with beautifully smooth skin is replaced by an older, wiser woman with kind eyes and grey hair. My skin has seen better days too; I now have laughter lines, some frown wrinkles, and some crow’s feet for good measure. There are marks from my psoriasis that have never gone away. In winter they are red and have flames dancing on the edges, causing pain and restless nights. In the height of summer, I see a small reminder of that young woman if only for a short while, I get to ride on her coattails. Carefree, tanned, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed with clear skin and a world of possibility ahead of her. Getting old is truly a privilege that not everyone is given.

Beyond what you see on the surface

These days, I see so much deeper. I see a woman who has overcome so many obstacles. A woman who has suffered more physical and emotional pain than some people will experience in a lifetime. She is still standing. I see a fighter, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister a woman of the world. My psoriasis has such a deep impact on the person that I am today. It has made me that much more accepting of people and how they look, it cemented my feeling about being non-judgmental. Seeing past people's physical attributes is wonderful.

Love the skin you are in

Always remember that you are so much more than your looks. You are so much more than the scars that remain from the battles that you have fought. So much more than the lesions that dance across your skin and settles in the most inconvenient place. The fingers that are slightly crooked from psoriatic arthritis do not mean they are less worthy than the ones that are still getting there.

Love yourself and be kind to yourself.

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