One day, when I was about 8 years old I got this stupid kid suspended from school. I pointed him out as the riot starter, the agitator, the mischief-maker. The case? He and his friends chased me around on their new neon mountain bikes with a mission: to beat away the strange looking spots on my arm with branches since scratching and coloring upon it didn't make it go away. I kind of resented one of the teachers as well but i didn't manage to suspend him. He refuted the current discourse that I might or might have not started myself and told everybody that it was in fact nót contagious; you coúld touch me and nothing would happen. Instantly, the power of me chasing those stupid kids, while having fake epileptic foam running over my chin (a technique practiced and perfected over and over with the help of my best friend) was taken away from me and the branches were picked up. Inevitable, unfair and no where to go. Stupid kid, stupid teachers. I hate school.

 

One day, when I was about 14 years old, puberty hit hard. Self awareness in school gave me the time necessary to think. My mother bought a little everyday innocent pink rouge for my cheeks and my friends in contrast gave me some not so innocent concealer for my arm from time to time. All given with the best intentions but received with the highest irritations. Although me and my freckled marks (or should I say ‘friends’) were the subject of a few questions and odd looking faces, there were other concerns to puberty that got everybody's attention, including mine. One kid grew about 3 inches during the summer! Can you imagine, he was instantly popular! I realized that my spots grew a few inches as well, but you know, who cares? Prom is coming up, just buy some more concealer as I recall my friends would say. I didn't by the way; I didn't have a date and so no extra make-up was required in order to look pretty for others. I just added on some corsage flowers with a permanent marker myself. Funny enough, I was instantly popular.

 

One day, when I was about 17 years old, I appeared to be part of the newest hippie like trends around; an embodiment of imperfection as the new perfection, the new beautiful. To be ‘odd’ now seemed to be morphed into being ‘special’ and a brave statement for not going with the flow, but rather going against it. For once I found more then my own reflection; I found acceptation, invitations, role models and future plans. All the while others didn’t look, or pretended not to notice, I do not quite know. I found it all quite swell to be honest; I was ‘embracing the natural me’ overnight without having to do a thing. In the mix off it all it still gets confused with a tattoo or henna; luckily I did not had to be in a chair for hours and hours waiting while alien liquids relentlessly made their statement. Lucky bastard. Pour you.

 

One day, when I was about 19 years old, I learned to know the importance of my yearly check-ups. Suddenly the birth marks, that only my mother and I shared, became an unreliable source of information. It was something that I never thought of before, nobody mentioned it and the results were always fine. It did not change the fact however that I never saw her again and so sequentially I wanted those things gone too, afraid that it would happen to me some day as well. But whereas the others only had her big blue eyes in commemoration, I shared her marks. They represent a bond between a parent and her child; a connection, a keepsake, a souvenir, whatever you want to call them. And most importantly: there mine! So I decided to keep them and live as a proud daughter and activist. I skip school for motivation talks. I'm like a reversed rebel.

 

One day, when I was about 25 years old, a young child asked me if I spilled some chocolate milk on my arm. I faced the child and answered a sincere ‘yes!’ like there was no other explanation possible. Although right after I did confess to him it could have been the daily amount of fluffy pancakes I ate as well. He looked down at his red lolly pop and I could just see him think: 'Will I become a bright red balloon like figure when I grow up?' A lady sitting nearby overheard our conversation and interrupted our intellectual intertwined brain spines and said that I must be thankful that they are not on my face. 'I suppose I am madam, otherwise I would be hungry each time I looked in the mirror and I have no desire in being obese’. Stupid grown-ups.

 

One day, when I was about 25 (and a half years old) I found myself writing for summer school, irony kicked in. My beautiful birth marks, my unique self that I was willing to show off proudly, they were taken over by the roary urban streets. The plaster that almost reaches my elbow reveals my little bike disaster and at the same time hides away that of which i got to know so well over the years. Only one small mark on the elbow itself shows from behind the white mask; you can only see the tip of the ice berg. Luckily, I learned to handle my own disasters.

 

One day, I will hope that a little creature in my belly carries the marks as well. I will watch it grow and learn as I still do and always will. For it is not just a reflection; although it is mine and mine alone, it is an embodiment of so many other things that I cannot control. They are the fickleness and resilience of time and context. The fickleness and resilience of mé. Although sometimes a bit challenging at heart, I have learned and will pass on to just pick up the bigger branch.

 

- Telissa