Inspiring

Woman called ‘ugly spotted dog’ learns she was born with a skin condition for a reason

May 8th, 2020

The world can be a tough place, especially when there’s something that makes you different from everyone else. It’s all too common for people to judge others by their appearance. So, what happens if the way you look doesn’t fit “the norm?”

This can be a difficult predicament for just about anyone. But it’s even more challenging when it involves a child or a teen. Unfortunately, some people know all too well what it’s like to be judged.

Just like Ciera Swaringen from Rockwell, North Carolina

Ciera was born with a rare disorder called Giant Congenital Melanocytic Nevus. This condition only affects about 1 in every 500,000 people. So, it’s not something you see too often.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

The primary symptoms

This disorder causes a large mole to grow on the body along with smaller “satellite” moles. Because of this, about 80 percent of Ciera’s body is covered. The particular variety of the disorder she has is known as “bathing trunk nevus.”

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

Feeling confident

Ciera loves the way she looks…just as she should. But things weren’t always that simple for her. When she was younger, she struggled a lot with her appearance.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

Social impact

Although Ciera’s lived with this condition her entire life, she didn’t start to feel the social effects of it until she was eight years old. That’s when she noticed people staring at her and commenting on her moles. That’s not exactly what any eight-year-old should have to experience.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

It affected her mental health

Of course, hearing what people were saying while being so young can take its toll. Ciera said by age 12, her mental health started to be affected. She began to feel depressed and anxious.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

Most people she knew were kind to her

Since Ciera grew up in a tight community, everyone knew her. But whenever she did something outside of her normal social circle, that’s when she noticed weird looks and comments. She shared one incident,

“We would line up after a game and high-five each other and complement each other with ‘good game.’ A few girls would remove their hand from the line because they didn’t want to touch my hand.” [sic]

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

Horrible name-calling

While some people made quiet comments, others were more outspoken. Ciera explained, “There was also a time I was riding the school bus home and the kids in the seat in front of me were picking on another kid. I stepped in and said something about them needing to quit and as a result, I was called an ‘ugly spotted dog’ by one of the kids.”

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

He had to apologize

After the incident, the boy who’d made the mean comment was forced to apologize. But that didn’t make any difference to Ciera. She’d already been hurt by his words — the damage was done.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

Opening up

When tasked to do an assignment in high school, Ciera chose to do it about her condition. Through research and learning more about the topic, she found a way to accept herself. She said, “I had to write a 10-page paper about it and give a presentation on the information. This is what helped me come to love who I was and the way I was born.”

“I was born with a skin condition for a reason. It made me who I am. Everyone has a purpose, everyone has a reason, and everyone should love themselves for who they are. All the trials and battles we face make us who we are,” she said.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

Embracing herself

From that moment on, Ciera embraced herself and her looks. She even posted a picture on Instagram of her in a swimsuit. And she uses social media to spread awareness about her condition. She looks amazing — she’s showing people you don’t have to look like everyone else to be beautiful.

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Instagram/ciera.swaringen Source: Instagram/ciera.swaringen

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Source: Western Journal, Instagram

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