Miles' story

My name is Miles and I was born with a giant congenital hairy nevus that resembles a brown t-shirt, cut above the naval with no right sleeve or back. I have two other birthmarks slightly smaller than a tennis ball on my back and bum. I also have at least a dozen smaller ones the size of a 10p coin and dozens of smaller moles all over my body. 

When I was between three weeks and five months old I had four operations that were precautionary rather than cosmetic as the Doctors worried that parts of my birthmark(s) would turn malignant if they were not removed. Treatment involved dermabraision and seaweed dressings of some kind. At least four smaller birthmarks were removed during this time. 

At school I was called names because of my birthmark but I do not believe I was bullied. Rightly or wrongly, I gave as good as I got growing up and I'm not proud to say I got into a few fights because of it. Whilst in Primary School, I'm sure I would have had it removed if it was possible. In Secondary School it did still cause me some trouble from time to time but it didn't impact on my early relationships and I grew to be more comfortable with my appearance. 

In later education and after school I have rarely experienced any negativity towards it. Adults generally have a glance and then politely ignore it and kids are usually just curious. Other cultures generally seem interested in it; when in South East Asia I was told that I had been touched by God. A man I met in India would have bet all his worldly possessions that if I rubbed it with coconut oil every day for one month it would disappear. 

I concede that I am fairly fortunate the main mass of my birthmark ends at the collar line of my neck and does not continue on to my face which would no doubt attract more attention. On the other hand I feel immensely lucky that my birthmark is all that I have "wrong" with me. I have to shave it a few times a week because the hair is quite coarse but I have all my limbs and am perfectly healthy. 

I have never tried the coconut oil and even if I thought it would work I don't think I would. It is part of who I am and I don't believe I would be the person I am today without it. Very broadly speaking I believe that life is not a level playing field but that we must do our best with the hand we are dealt. From about the age of 16 I had concluded in my own mind that my birthmark in itself was unlikely to limit me, however, if I allowed it too, my attitude towards it might.