I know. I was marked from birth. My Birthmark is the type known as a “Port-Wine Stain” or, if you grew up in the 80’s as I did, a “Gorby Mark.”
I’ve had to deal my whole life with everything from annoying teasing to severe and brutal beatings over this thing that looks roughly like a map of India growing out from my left eye. People have often asked me “what happened?” and I had no idea what they’re talking about.
As a child, I tried to hide it behind sunglasses. I found out then that sunglasses are great, but only in the daytime, only outside and only when you don’t forget them. Even then, they usually don’t cover the whole birthmark. I gave up on the sunglasses. I even thought that safety goggles might do the trick, but realized that they just look silly outside of the shop.
Marked for life (photo by Cindy Lopez)
After being repeatedly and horribly hassled about it when I was a teenager, I tried to cover it up with theatrical makeup. For my efforts, I got beaten up pretty badly and was branded a “faggot” for the rest of high school.
That led to endless suffering at the hands of psychotic teenagers who seemed possessed by the devil. Most of these high school bullies are now millionaires with great lives, wives and kids, while I’m still in the proverbial gutter, living out of my parents’ basement, alone and childless. Well, maybe that’s a bit exaggerated, but the point is, I was marked from birth.
Using a laser to fade or erase my birthmark doesn’t work because that artery is too important to destroy and it’s too close to my eye. I cannot erase my birthmark by tattoo either, because the blood vessels are too close to the skin and again, it is too close to my eye. Regardless of the pain, it would also be against my religion.
I grew my hair long toward the end of my teens to try and hide it. That seemed to work for some of the time, but my family disapproved of my growing my hair long and they insisted that I at least tie it back into a ponytail. For reasons I couldn’t understand, they didn’t want me to hide my face.
Mostly though, it has fortunately been a non-issue. Sure, I didn’t get some of the shallower girls that other guys might have, although this might also be because I am fat. I admit that. According to Hollywood, if you’re not deathly anorexic, then you must be obese.
I admit I’m overweight, but not to such a ridiculous extent and come to think of it, the other fat guys in the room got more attention than I did. My birthmark strikes me again!
When it’s hot or when I’m tired or when I’ve had too much caffeine or when I’ve been eating spicy foods, it glows a brighter shade of red. Recently, I was in a public restroom, when the local security officers burst in with an EMS team. They nearly broke down the stall I was in. Serves me right for having a spicy lunch that day, especially since it was hot out.
Physically, at least, it usually doesn’t hurt, except I get headaches in that area more frequently. I should consider myself lucky that I don’t need to wear glasses.