Ciera Swaringen, 19, was born with a rare skin condition that means 70 percent of her skin is covered in birthmarks. But the teenager has learned to embrace her condition and instead tells her bullies: “I’m proud to be different.”
Swaringen, who is from Richfield, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, has faced years of taunts and attacks from bullies because she is different. But she has now fought back against these attackers, and instead has embraced her condition.
Swaringen’s response has proved to be hugely inspirational, as she has now taken to posing in her bikini and posting the images to Facebook to show just how little she cares about what people say about her.
Speaking to the Mirror about her years of bullying, Swaringen explained, “One day I remember being on the school bus and hearing a young boy laugh at me and call me a ‘spotty dog’. Teenage boys are usually the first ones to comment when they see me. They say things like, ‘You look like you’re dirty, take a wash.’ “
There were hard years for Ciera, who now works as a shoe shop assistant, as she admitted that the variety of comments “really knocked [her] confidence,” as each remark made her feel “like something was wrong” with her.
However, Ciera has now admitted that she has managed to overcome these comments about the marks, which her mother has referred to as “angel kisses,” and she’s explained that she’s proud to be different from everyone else.
“Over time I’ve learnt to brush off negative comments and remember that most people stare and say cruel things because they’re not used to seeing someone with my condition,” she continued. “I’m so proud to be different and, at the end of the day, we all have something about us that’s unusual, whether it’s on the inside or the outside.”
Ciera Swaringen’s inspirational words continued with, “Everyone is born to look different, and we should all feel beautiful in our own skin.”
Ciera Dawn Swaringen’s condition is known as giant congenital melanocytic nevus, and it affects one in every 500,000 births. Normally, these birthmarks cans be surgically removed, but Ciera possesses too many of them, so she can’t undergo this treatment.
Ciera admitted that it can still be hard when she leaves Richfield, which has a population of 600, as people aren’t used to her condition, but the continued support of her friends and family means that she is now stronger for what she has gone through.
[Images via Ciera Dawn Swaringen / Facebook]