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Woman With Rare Birthmark Is Going Viral For Body-Positive Instagram

Allure logo Allure 11/29/2017 Gillian Fuller
a man and a woman taking a selfie © Courtesy of Sarah Taylor

Most of us use social media to share pictures of our pets, or share silly memes with our friends for laughs. But college student Sarah Taylor is using her social media, specifically Instagram, to help others learn to love themselves — a journey she knows all too well.

Taylor, a science major at New York University, was born with a large port-wine stain birthmark on her face. Though the 21-year-old is now proud to show off her unique mark on her body-positiveInstagram account, learning to love what others perceived as a "flaw" wasn't an easy journey.

"It's human nature to want to be accepted, and when you don't look normal, you tend to get singled out of the pack… As I grew up, people asked more and more questions, and they started to tint them with judgment. 'What's that thing on your face?' was the typical inquiry. I'd say 'my birthmark,' and they would say, 'Oh wow, I’m really sorry,'" Taylor tells Allure. "Their response[s] left me thinking that they couldn't be sorry for me unless my birthmark was really ugly… While I did have people explicitly insult me, it was the little nuances in how people acted whenever my birthmark was brought up that really made me ashamed to have it."

It wasn't until she became friends with a girl in high school that was "unapologetically herself, no matter what" that Taylor started to learn that her birthmark wasn't something to be ashamed of, but instead, celebrated. "Being around [my friend] made me forget that I was supposed to be self-conscious about my face," she says. "Once I stopped focusing so much on what I thought other people were thinking about me, I started to grow into myself…. Somewhere in the storm of me learning to love myself for who I was, I stopped caring what people said about me."

happy? confused? posing? abt to sneeze? u'll never kno cuz idk either

A post shared by Sarah (@sruhtaylor) on

Now, Taylor uses social media to help others through the same difficulties that she faced, and hopes to inspire others to embrace themselves and their perceived 'flaws.' In addition to sharing unedited pictures with her nearly 9,000 followers and talking candidly about her birthmark, Taylor says she receives several messages from people a day 'telling me that they're so happy to see someone with a port-wine stain represented in social media.'

"It's really validating to know that we're not completely alone in it," she tells Allure. "The best thing is when people tell me that I've inspired them to not cover up their birthmark, or even ask me for makeup tips to highlight it. I didn't have any role models growing up with a port wine stain, and I couldn't ask for anything more than to change that for at least some people who see me…. embracing what sets me apart doesn't make me special, because in my mind, everyone should be able to feel this way."

haha "mondays" am I right guys

A post shared by Sarah (@sruhtaylor) on

We couldn't agree more. Take a look at Taylor's beautiful, inspiring Instagram account here, and get familiar — because we have a feeling this won't be the last you'll hear of her.

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