To Whom It May Concern:
I am aware that I have psoriasis, okay? I’ve lived with it since I was 4. Seeing as I’m now 24, halfway to 25, I have become very adapted to living with it. I understand that you may have never accounted someone who looks like this. Fortunately, I made it through public school with a skin disorder and have developed a pretty thick skin (pun intended). What this means for you is that when you commit one of the following egregious errors I have taught myself not to violently snap your neck. So, please, read the following list and keep them in mind when you encounter someone who you suspect may have psoriasis.
1. What you think are innocent questions
Look, I get it. You see me and notice that I, well, look a little different. First of all, let me point out, that I take fantastic care of my skin. At most it’s a few read blotches and maybe some pale patches. Nothing extreme, for the most part I look like a normal girl in the western suburbs. But back to my point, you notice and ask one of the following:
a. Oh my god, is that a rash?
b. Is that poison ivy?
c. Honey, what did you get in to?
d. Are you allergic to something?
I know, you’re just nosy and want to ask. But, don’t. Okay? How would you feel if I walked up to you and went, “Oh, wow. Has your nose always been that big?” or “Have you thought about having that mole on your cheek checked out? It’s HUGE.”
2. “What’s wrong with you?”
Pardon me, but what’s wrong with you? That question is insulting NO MATTER THE CONDITION. If somebody is in a wheel chair, would you march up to them and ask? What about an amputee? It’s just rude and inconsiderate.
3. Doing any of the above while I’m at work
Look, while I’m working I am only obligated to answer your questions about what is being sold in the store and ring you out. Other than that, I do not have to answer any of your questions. Got it? So if you ask and I don’t respond, for the love of God, don’t keep asking. There’s a reason I’m not answering. I find it rude, and so do my coworkers.
a. Side note: If you find it necessary to grab my hand/arm/shoulder/etc and screech, “OH MY GOD, HONEY, WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” whilst I am working and the store is full of people, I may find it necessary to douse you with a glass of water. You have been warned.
4. Refusing to: touch anything I have, sit next to me, shake hands, be in the same swimming pool as me AND make a huge honking deal out of it.
Seriously. It’s not contagious. Or AIDs. You’re not going to die from it. It took me a number of years to stop feeling like a freak, thank you for bringing back those fond memories. If you don’t want to, fine. Just don’t make a big deal out of it, okay?
a. Don’t say (as one cretin in high school did) “What the hell is that? AIDs?” Just a quick shout out to my health teacher who laughed at the kid and did nothing to help me out. Thanks. You’re my hero.
b. When it’s first summer and I’m wearing short sleeves/shorts/dresses and my skin is a little drier and psoriasis is a tad noticeable. The sun helps, and I haven’t had a lot of it because it’s been winter. IN CHICAGO. Don’t have this following exchange (yes, this really happened about 7 or 8 years ago. To me.):
SCENE: 16 YEAR OLD GIRL, 30 YEAR OLD WOMAN. IN LIVING ROOM, GIRL IS BABYSITTER, WOMAN IS GETTING READY TO LEAVE
GIRL: So, you’ll be back at 2 or 3 in the morning?
WOMAN: Yeah. (looks at girls’ legs) What is that?
GIRL: Hmm? (looks down) Oh. Psoriasis. I’ve had it since I was 4.
WOMAN: Wow. That looks awful. So you can’t really wear skirts or anything, huh?
GIRL: (tries to point out she’s wearing shorts) Well, uh, I am wearing shorts…I mean…in
the summer it’s better
WOMAN: (still being an ignorant bitch) Yeah, but you’re a girl. That’s got to suck.
So, thanks to everyone who has attempted to derail my self esteem and confidence. You totally rock.