By Jaskirat Kaur
My name is Jaskirat Kaur, I’m an 18 year old student near London and I don’t remove any of my hair.
I also have vitiligo which is a skin condition that makes patches of my skin white and my hair white in the affected areas.
My parents brought me up without ever cutting my hair. When I was about 12 I asked my mum if I could shave my legs so that I could wear a skort (skirt-shorts) during our sports lessons during the summer. At around 13 I started plucking the centre part of my eyebrows. Why? Peer pressure.
I didn’t accept that peer pressure drew me toward it at the time because I didn’t want to be known for being weak and following social norms. I wanted to be better than others and not want to feel like a carbon copy of the “popular” girls. But I still removed my hair. I started shaving my armpits too to wear sleeveless tops, I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious of having stubly underarms quite often though.
My friends and best friend (still my best friend to date) urged me shave, ever so slightly, suggesting it because “everyone does it.” What they truly wanted to say was that shaving would make me look “nicer”.
But, by the time I was 16, I stopped removing any of my hair. I kept it all.
So, how did I (and how do I) deal with having white hair AND a uni-brow AND a moustache?
I tell myself that it is that last thing in life I need to worry about. So what if someone calls me Mc Donalds? (I’m referring to the “M” logo and the “m” shape of the unibrow). I respond to them by saying “Yes! I am.” That usually shuts them up. I’m not going to cry on my own or to my friends because people verbally bully me. Ultimately, I feel sorry for the bullies. I am sorry that their life revolves around denouncing others, sorry that they can’t think past society and popularity, sorry that they think I am the one being humiliated. I smile, ignore, walk away, carry on living and pray that God awakes their soul. Life is more important that that.
I say, don’t be sluggish and don’t get down! (Although, I know that at a young age it can be hard not feel happy with yourself at times like that.) It’s important to understand that we are humble servants here to courageously serve humanity.
I’m not going to lie, I had an emotional breakdown at a London underground station because I felt segregated by intense stares from people. These things happen. They made me stronger because I let them make me stronger. People stare at me every day because I have white hair. I smile at them, say “Hello” or “Good morning!” etc, and go about my day. They are just alarmed or curious. I try never blame things on society, because in essence I AM society.
Questions for my sisters:
WHY SHOULD YOU FEEL ASHAMED OF THE WAY YOU WERE BORN?
WHY SHOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR APPEARANCE FOR THE HAPPINESS OR COMFORT OF OTHER PEOPLE?
The answer is, you should not!
I could have covered a lot more but would like to keep my comment short enough to get my point across.
I’d be more than happy for anyone interested about discussing their insecurities, self consciousness, wanting to know more about my skin condition, coping in Sikh society, or anything else on the matter to get in contact with me.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram: @bobkirat06 | Twitter: @bobkirat
Please note, the above photos are not of Jaskirat Kaur but are medical photos of other women.