By Rebecca Drew
THIS YOUNG woman is baring the large birthmark which covers most of her stomach and thighs to show that being unique is beautiful – and says she would never have it removed.
Occupational therapy student and keen artist Mathilde Arctander (22) from Stavanger, Norway, always knew she had birthmarks, but it wasn’t until she hit her teenage years that she started to notice other people’s stares and questioned what was wrong with her.
Since then, Mathilde has learnt to embrace her individuality after getting fed up of hiding her marks in big swimsuits and baggy clothes and now says she would never get rid of her marks.
“I always knew that I had birthmarks, but when I was around thirteen-years-old, people stared at me. I wasn’t bullied a lot but I often thought, ‘what’s wrong, why do I have these birthmarks,’ which wasn’t fun,” she said.
“In the beginning, I think it was a bit much. Now, I don’t even notice that people stare at me. I understand why they may stare and wonder what I have on my body, but I don’t know why they don’t just ask me.
“I am unique. I may not be normal, I don’t have normal skin, and that’s ok. My birthmarks are a part of me, and I wouldn’t get rid of them.
“I no longer wake up each morning and wonder why I have them. My birthmarks are a part of me and I wouldn’t get rid of them if I had the choice.
“When I look at other people with birthmarks I find them so beautiful too, because each of us look different and that’s so cool.
“I guess it was because I was tired of hiding it. For many years I used to wear a big swimsuit instead of a bikini. When I began to show my big birthmark at the beach to everyone, they said that I was brave and beautiful. Thanks to them I am stronger.”
Mathilde has Congential Melanocytic Nevus (CMN) and has attended conferences in the United States to meet others with the condition. She says she has never counted all the birthmarks on her body but knows she has a lot.
“I have been to nevus outreach conferences in the USA several times and have met others with CMN,” she said.
“Some of them cover themselves up with lots of foundation because maybe they are afraid of what other people think of their birthmarks.
“If you have CMN, don’t try to cover it with makeup, be natural.
“And get to know others with it too. It will build your confidence up and then you won’t care about those who do not understand how nice birthmarks are. You are unique.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/mathildearctander