I have a birthmark.
As the name suggests, it’s always been there. This red mark between my lip and my left nostril, a permanent wound needing to be kissed. Apparently, when I was born, my mother thought it was cute. My aunt commented that I would surely hate it.
I don’t, really. I usually forget it’s there.
I was teased for it a couple times: once in 7th grade a boy named Ben pointed and asked sarcastically, “What’s THAT?!” He shouldn’t really have poked fun though, because he had a birthmark on HIS lip, one that made it look like a small bruise. I merely pointed back at him and said, “I don’t know…what’s that!?” Perhaps he wasn’t being sarcastic. Maybe we could have been birthmarked lip friends, two 12-year-olds with our scarlet “A”s on our faces.
Little known secret: the birthmark goes all the way through my lip. It appears on the inside, as well.
The few times I’ve been on television, I always tell the makeup artists, “It’s a birthmark, it doesn’t hurt.” They always look relieved and spackle over it with foundation.
Once when I volunteered with a 2nd grade class, one of the kids asked me, “What happened to your lip? Did you bump it with a hula hoop?”
“It’s a birthmark,” I answered.
“Oh.” I could tell he was disappointed. “You didn’t bump it when you were hula hooping?” I told him that no, it’d been there since I was born. Not nearly as interesting.
Sometimes it seems redder than usual. Perhaps it’s my own self-consciousness barometer.
But most of the time, I don’t see it.
New friends will gently ask what that is on my lip, and I’ll stop and say, “On my lip? I don’t know! Is my lipstick smeared? Is it food!? Ack! Is there something in my teeth?!” Then they feel all bad about it and I realize that no, it’s just the birthmark.
As a holder of a birthmark, I find myself fascinated by other people’s birthmarks. Do you flaunt it? Cover it? Explain it over and over again? Tell me everything, Homies.