It was not alive when I was first born. It started growing as I reached my third year of life. Then it suddenly appeared with me in photographs when I was four years old. There it is in the picture of me with chocolate ice cream all over my face when I was six. And again in the picture of me sitting at my desk writing when I was nine. They told me to kill its associate when I was fourteen. It decided to stop growing when I was sixteen.
I have a mole right above my lip on the left side of my face. It is a symbol of joy (people can recognize me right away), but at the same time, the mole is the black hole of all my challenges (including the decision whether to make it disappear in digital photographs). It got darker and more noticeable as I grow older. And today, I still have that mole or what my parents call a "beauty mark".
Quite often, the mole is the cause of my troubles. It was the demon that I constantly had to overcome. It is small enough to be considered benign, but yet large enough for someone to notice it from a distance. Sometimes I stare in the mirror in wonder of the roundness of it. It is a symbol of misprint of the skin cells that naturally chose to be another color than my normal creamy peach. Then I stand back and think that the skin is the center of evil and the bane of my life. It caused me to fall down last year on the last day of school. It made me stutter and lose my lines during my oral final in Spanish. It caused me to make an accidental dent in my mother's car while I was backing out of the garage.
When I was young, I was never overly concerned with any appearances. The mole was just another part of being me. It was much like being the only one in third grade who knew how to spell refrigerator. However, soon consciousness appeared. In sixth grade, one of my classmates noted, "Hey, you have got an earring!" So it was called an earring. An euphemism perhaps. But it was a black earring. A piercing on my lip already by the time I was 11. I stumbled my way of life toward rejecting my "earring" as I entered the world of consciousness. I no longer wanted to adopt the motto, "Don't be normal be different!" I wanted to be like everyone else-without a mole.
I could kill it. I can erase it. I have the power to simply make it disappear. It. The mole under my chin-alas not the very noticeable one-was the first to fall into my rejection of being different. Now today, I stand before the mirror and see the light scar under my chin that now takes the place of a mole.
A few months later, my uncle came to visit. While we were eating dinner at a fancy restaurant, my mother suddenly exclaimed, "Aiya! Nay been joh wah!" You have changed!
My other mole under my chin-the one I purposefully killed and laid it in peace-had reached its ultimate fate during my freshman year. I read a lot of fashion magazines during that time which had in fact made me reach a decision that I had most often refused in the past. To alter my appearance to look better. And perhaps have that so-called perfect complexion so prevalent in the magazines. I could look like them too.
I got out of school that day early. My mom drove me to the fated place. The hospital where she worked and to the doctor of doom who would perform the delicate operation. My mom knew the doctor of course, but my hands were wringing by the time she rapidly swished into the last parking space on the street. And by the time I returned, it was gone.
With its associate gone, I have only the other mole left on my lip. I stand in front of huge audience and wonder if they are looking at it. Watch it move as my lips form a "no". Watch in slowly sigh back down to its normal position as the lips form the word "yes". But yet there are benefits also. I know for a fact that I can never get lost. My distinguishable marks would be the single mole. How can one miss that?
She, another girl in my school, also had a distinguishable mark. Instead of a mole like mine, hers was a large round brown circle flattened on the side of her face. Sometimes when we passed each other in the halls, we raised our eyebrows at each other noting the incredible recognition we each possessed. During the middle of my freshman year, she suddenly appeared walking down the hallways with a pad of gauze glued to the side of her face. Then a few weeks later, the pad of gauze came off and it seemed as if it was never there. It was no longer alive. That led me to thinking that one day I must I must I must kill this evil of mine.
That is my challenge. The mole is my blackest hole. It becomes larger when in Spanish, the teacher starts going over the vocabulary of appearances. ¿Quién tiene los ojos azules? Who has blue eyes? The girl next to me raises her hand. Then my teacher goes on to the next vocabulary word. ¿Quién tiene un lunar? ¡Ay! I think. Don't pick me. Don't pick me even though it's my little mark above my lip is the most obvious. Who has a mole? Ah, Mateo, tú tienes un lunar.
Yesterday, I touched the underside of my chin again. The faint scar still lies there. Right there in the center of the mirror was the absence of a black bump. A soft bump. Now the attention has transferred to its fortunate associate above my lip. How lucky is it to be able to stand on its own and shout to the world, "Hello! It's me!!!"
My sister recently told me as a result of her struggle in physiology, "Do you know that if you cut your skin that your tissue will never be the same again? Your epithelial tissue disappears! And it is replaced with connective tissue!"
But then because of my "mole", it gave me a reason to pursue ridiculous, extraneous activities. I joined the cross country team my junior year. Many people with moles do cross country. My "mole" gave me the determination to run a race with a smile on my face. It probably also scared my opponents and gave them a name call me, the girl with the mole passed me on the way up the hill. Not just a girl from Acalanes passed me. Recognition is one of the most useful purposes of a mole. Nobody can ever forget who I am or who I was (despite the fact that I had one teacher who constantly got me mixed up with another girl who had the same hairstyle but no mole) Clearly, it was much like being part of one race. I was the only person in that ethnicity. Jenniferism. Nobody looked like me. I did not look like anybody else. I was I.
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