“Try walking in my shoes”. It’s such a simple phrase that people say all the time, and yet no one has ever literally done it. It’s almost an excuse you use if you just used your last one, like if you can’t tell a person exactly how hard your life is, then that is what you say. And you can always say that because no one else has ever, really, been you. Well, I’m here to make that a bit complicated.
I would tell you when it all started, but it never really started at one specific time, it was just always there. Like when I was a kid and i visited relatives on holidays, they always said I was growing so fast, and that they could barely recognize me. Or when I really liked the TV show Pokémon, my eyes starting looking more brown like Ash Ketchum’s eyes instead of my regular blue. Small stuff, ya know? Little things that you would never notice. And I didn’t, until puberty started.
Good old puberty, right? Always throws everything out of whack. Except I one more thing changing in my body than anyone else. I thought they were some form of bruises at first, but then I noticed that were all different skin shades. Every time I would bump into someone else and make direct contact with their skin, mine would change color. Eventually I started really looking closely at these discolorations, and saw that the people I bumped into had the exact same skin tone as this new spot on my skin.
I started dressing to cover as much of my body as possible. I couldn’t let anyone touch me and get anymore blotches on my skin like that. They all went away eventually, usually a week or so after they appeared. So the only thing I really had to deal with was making contact with others. And I could do that most of the time, and I got all the way through middle school and part of high school until this condition evolved.
Halfway through high school is when puberty really starts to kick into gear. So of course, this strange chameleon skin I had went into phase two also. I would bump into someone’s arm in the hallway, but no big deal because I had been through this many times before. So I covered it up for the rest of the day, until I got home. I checked it out, remembering that I only barely grazed my pinky on this guy. He looked pretty tan, so I knew I would be able to see where he touched me.
Half my hand was discolored. Did he really touch that entire side of my hand? No, but then that would mean that it… spread? I remember I could barely sleep that night, but eventually I did. I know, because when I woke up, the discoloration was gone. I figured out that my strange chameleon skin condition was increasing it’s speed, both acquiring other’s skin tones and losing them. This process kept speeding up until my skin became similar to foam, where if you touch it, the change is quick, but if you hold on or press it, the change will take longer to have my body go back to the way it normally is.
This was a massive secret I never told anyone else, mainly because I knew I would be seen as a freak. I would say that I wasn’t good at secret-keeping, but if you have to do it all the time, you get pretty good at it. That doesn’t mean I was ever okay with this being a part of my life; it has been nothing more than a nuisance. This curse has made every social interaction terrifying, even with my family. That is why, as soon as I got out of high school, I pooled enough money to move off the continent.