There are as many unique individuals out there as there are stars in the sky. Just because someone looks different from the way a magazine or social media might portray beauty, doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable. After all, isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?
One man from the U.K. is working to change the way beauty is perceived. Though he’s only 25, Rory McGuire has already done so much to help pave the way for others like him.
Diagnosed as an infant with a venous malformation birthmark, McGuire has spent most of his life as the target of unkindness.
According to the Vascular Birthmark Center in New York, McGuire’s condition affects his blood vessels, resulting in a hindrance of proper blood flow. As a result, the vessels affected grow larger to compensate and regulate blood pressure.
“Most of my birthmark was removed surgically when I was around 4 years old,” McGuire told Love What Matters, “but due to the nature of the way the birthmark grows, it came back.”
For McGuire, the venous malformation birthmark just so happened to be on his face. It continued to grow until he finished puberty.
“Growing up, I experienced a lot of bullying, name calling, prejudice, and negative feelings about myself and about life,” McGuire shared with Love What Matters. “For many years, I had a very low self-esteem. I struggled with how I viewed my own appearance and I didn’t know where my life was heading and if I was ever going to be happy.”
He was called names by his peers. Everything from “ugly” to “I’d kill myself if I looked like you” came from their mouths.
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*Repost* I am reposting this in the hopes that it can provoke thought among new followers I have attained since I first posted this. . Here is a picture of me at around 10 years old & a very small selection of comments that were made to me in my childhood & teenage years. I was smiling in this picture. I smiled & laughed around my friends & family for years because I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me while I was enduring the adversity which my birthmark had brought me, but at home I wasn't doing much smiling or laughing – I was doing a lot of crying, questioning and thinking. . Each & every comment that was made to me when I was younger severely hurt me, made me hate the way that I looked and made me feel inferior to others even to the point where at one time I felt that dieing wouldn't be a bad option – & there are people going through those same feelings every single day because of prejudice & they shouldn't have to. . Everyone looks different & people shouldn't be treated worse than others if they fall outwith what is regarded to look "socially acceptable" or "normal". Sadly prejudice is always going to be something that exists, but I want to help and inspire as many people as I can so that less & less people have to go through some of the things that I had to when I was younger which caused mental pain that could have ultimately resulted in me no longer being here – all due to how I was treated because of the way that I looked. . I believe that if we teach our children from an early age that everyone is different & that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their skin colour, their religion, their sexuality, their weight, their social class etc….then less and less people will have to face prejudice growing up & more and more people will grow up being far more understanding & respectful of each other & everyone from all walks of life will start to get along better together. As the saying goes – "Prejudice is a learned trait. You're not born prejudiced; you're taught it." So let's teach each other about the harmful effects that prejudice can have on people so that more people can enjoy their lives & not have to worry about being prejudiced.
The young man anxiously awaited the day he was old enough to have the birthmark surgically removed. When that time came, doctors told him it was too large to remove.
They were, however, able to give McGuire a treatment called sclerotherapy which he was told would gradually reduce the size of his birthmark.
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On the 10th of November 2016 I endured a major and dangerous operation to remove most of my birthmark which took only a few hours to complete, but those few hours greatly contributed to me achieving what I wanted since I was very young – happiness and confidence. – My life previous to that day had been full of pain, confusion, frustration and sorrow. – I had hardly any confidence and I didn't know where my life was going, but since recovering from that major operation which was nearly 18 months ago I have probably laughed and smiled more than I did during the 22 years before that point which were filled with lots of unhappy moments for me. – Before having almost 20 operations I had always thought that my birthmark would need to be completely removed and my mouth would need to look completely "normal" before I could be happy and "accepted" by others but I now know that that is not the case – my whole mindset has changed. – Of course I realise that it is still noticeable to people that there is something "different" about my face and I have accepted that, which sounds strange for me to say because of the way that I used to think – that I would need to look absolutely "normal" before I could possibly be happy. – I used to want nothing more than to look completely "normal" and to blend in with the crowd but now I am content with looking a little bit "different" and standing out from the crowd and spreading the message that regardless of what you look like or what your background is you can achieve anything you set your mind to. – The remaining blemishes and the scar that I have are reminders of what I had to go through to reach the point that I'm at & I will continue to inspire others to stay as positive as possible and to persevere when in the face of adversity because things can and will get better. – Be proud of who you are, “blemishes” and all, and don’t let anyone get you down over how you look. – #VenousMalformation #Surgery #NeverJudgeABookByItsCover #StayPositive
All the while, he continued to fear going into public places where people might stare or tease. When he finally opened up to his parents about how he felt on his 21st birthday, things began to shift for McGuire.
More sclerotherapy treatments continued and during that time McGuire found an outlet on social media. He shared his story on Facebook and soon learned that his experiences and feelings resonated with folks all over the world.
Soon his birthmark size had reduced enough that doctors could perform the surgery McGuire had been waiting for. In the end, it was successful in removing a large portion of the birthmark and the young man’s confidence was boosted once more.
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Shout out to all of our amazing champions and campaigners past, present and future on #VolunteersWeek. We're here for you and we couldn’t do it without you.🦋👏👏👏 Interested in volunteering for us? 👉 www.changingfaces.org.uk/help-us/become-a-volunteer #birthmark #portwinestain #psoriasis #cleftlip #cleftpalate #cleftlipandpalate #burnssurvivor #acne #burns #scars #changingfaces #visibledifference #facialdifference #disfigurement #getyourskinout #cleftstrong #scarrednotscared #powerofwords #spoonie #instaskin #skinpositivity #beautyblogger #naturalbeauty #instabeauty #skinfluencer
“Documenting my experiences and telling my story has changed my life for the better, and having most of my birthmark removed gave me a further boost in confidence to do a lot of different things to tell my story,” McGuire said.
You can find out more about Rory McGuire by following him on Instagram. Remember, beauty has many faces. As McGuire noted, “nobody should ever judge a book by its cover.”
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