A 25-year-old Instagram star was brutally bullied as a child and was called a Dalmatian said that she is finally happy after she accepted herself.
When Yulianna Yussef was a little girl, she never really gave too much of importance to her birthmark. Like any other child, she played with her friends and spent time with her family just like every other child. But things started to change when she turned eight. She started noticing people looked at her differently and also started pointing at her. Slowly, things got so bad that some parents won't let their children play with her. The reason? She was born with a birthmark stretching her entire back and was given the nickname 'dalmatian' because of the way she looked, reported Daily Mail.
But now, the 25-year-old Instagram star, who has around 100k followers on Instagram reveals that she finally feels happy and sexy after she gained support from hundreds and thousands of followers on Instagram who came forward and supported her. Her birth defect, also known as Congenital Melanocytic Naevus or CMN covers most of her back and stretches till her stomach. Yussef also has smaller marks over the rest of her body, including lots on her legs. She said, "I was quite a happy and carefree child. Before I was eight-years-old, I didn't pay much attention to my birthmarks."
She continued, "I remember myself looking at my skin in the mirror pretty much without any particular emotions. But after eight I started to notice all these eyes on me and fingers that were point on my legs, and words that people liked to say. In three words - I was bullied. It wasn't only comments, parents of other children didn't let me play with their kids because they thought that I was contagious." At present, she lives in Warsaw, Poland said that things took a turn for worse when she got older.
As a result of suffering from years of teasing, she secluded herself and she started to just stay at home and only go outside when it was dark. She said, "When I was 14 or 15 years old, I went with my friend to the beach, and of course people looked at me. Some old woman come to me with her advice on how to remove my "warts", some waitresses in the cafe said unkind words to me. Lots of things like this happened that morning. My friend said to me "oh my God, Julie! Walking with you just like walking with a monkey".
She continued, "I know it was just words and in some ways it was a joke. I wasn't angry at her, but after this I began to just sit at home all summer and walked for one or two hours in the evenings when it was dark. I would just ask "why me?", "why do I deserve this" and thought that nobody would ever love girl with a black and hairy back. I was thinking that boys would never pick up me because they have choice to pick up a 'normal' girl with perfect skin. I was a dalmatian, a giraffe, a cow, I was dirty, people thought that if they spoke to me my birthmarks would jump at them."
But as she got older, she decided that she has suffered enough abuse and it was time to start loving her body. She added, "I was so tired of hiding and being afraid of people, of their reactions and actions. I was hating myself for the weakness and that I felt so much pity towards myself. I then understood that nobody would help me just myself, to bring me up with my confidence. The first thing I thought when I started analyze the reactions is that maybe 85% people really didn't know what it is."
She continued, "So in some point they were afraid of it. And then I understood that if they all knew maybe my life and lives of the other kids and adults with CMN would be much easier." Yussef went ahead to set up an Instagram account to show off photos of her birthmark and her life, and look at where she is now! She has achieved fame and success and has around 100,000 followers! She said, "I'm happy I did. I want to be happy, healthy, feel beautiful and confident and sexy in my own skin and I am now. But it’s been a long way to this."
Yussef is of Ukrainian-Lebanese descent has also said that the doctors thought she was going to die when she was born because of her 'extreme case' of CMN. She said that her entire body was covered with a number of moles and the doctors said to her family that they didn't know how much time she would stay alive. Since there, it is inspiring to read how far she along the way she has come and she serves as an inspiration to all the people out there. Yussef will feature in a new exhibition at the Oxo Tower in London later this month called How do you C Me Now. In the exhibition, 30 other portraits of people who suffer from CMN are also taken by photographer Brock Elbank will feature in the collection.