Can we talk about birthmarks?

Posted by

Yep, that's a birth mark.
Yep, that’s a birth mark.
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.

Comments on Can we talk about birthmarks?

Read more comments

Join the Conversation