Growing up is tough, but for teenager Ciera Swaringen, 19, it has been an even tougher job than most of us could ever imagine.
The teen, from North Carolina, was born with a rare skin condition called Giant Congenital Melanocytic, which has left her face and body covered in oversized mole-like birthmarks - the largest stretches from her navel to her lower thighs.
Since she was small, she has endured cruel taunts from other children and adults who insulted her with names including 'spotty dog' and told her she looked 'dirty'.
After dealing with bullies for years, she's finally finding her body confidence and learning to embrace her differences. In a brave interview with Hotspot Media she said:
"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 [...] Everyone is born to look different, and we should all feel beautiful in our own skin."
“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.”
Talking about where she finds the strength to shrug off the comments and cruel stares she credited her close family for building up her self-esteem: “I remember when I started school my mum told me that my birthmarks were angel kisses - and that really stuck with me.”
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