This story isn't new — plenty of people spend years on trying to obscure their "flaws" and doing their best to comply with generally-accepted standards. However, as body positivity gains popularity as a trend, more and more people learn to embrace their differences instead of hiding them and feeling ashamed of them.
Sarah Taylor, a 21-year-old college student at New York University, is one of them, and there is a thing or two everyone could learn from her. She was born with a large port-wine stain birthmark on her face, and her journey to self-love has been quite a rocky road.
As a little child, Sarah didn't even realize that she looked "different" from other kids around her. But everything changed at school, where she was bullied by her peers.
"There was a lot beyond [that]. I had retail employees asking me if I had been burned, moms stopping me in the mall to ask if my parents hit me, and infinite strangers on the street double-taking when I walked by," she told Yahoo Lifestyle. The way people acted about her birthmark is what made her feel ashamed to have it.
"I never tried to cover my birthmark, but I was always silently resigned to the fact that I would never be ‘pretty,' or at least that I would always be prettier if I didn't have it," Sarah admitted.
But during the years, she learned to love herself for who she was and started to pay less attention to what people said or thought about her. Now she proudly shows off her unique mark in her Instagram account, which has inspired thousands of her followers and helped many of them accept what others may perceive as a "defect."
"When you accept your differences and wear them like badges of honor, other people realize they can't touch you, they respect you. Confidence is both a shield and a magnet," the young lady noted.
Hundreds of people leave grateful comments under her completely unedited photos, sharing their experiences.
"It's really validating to know that we're not completely alone in it," she told Allure. "The best thing is when people tell me that I've inspired them to not cover up their birthmark, or even ask me for makeup tips to highlight it. I didn't have any role models growing up with a port wine stain, and I couldn't ask for anything more than to change that for at least some people who see me… Embracing what sets me apart doesn't make me special, because in my mind, everyone should be able to feel this way."