A piece of art.
An exotic creature.
A different species of human being.
A circus freak.
My child is a young girl with white hair and gorgeous blue eyes. She is clever, bright, hard working and sweet. She loves everyone she meets, but she loves me and her older sister the most.
For the most part, Ms. Cheeky is exactly like her peers. Being slightly biased, I would say she is a bit smarter than the average girl her age. A bit quicker. A bit kinder. A bit more accepting.
The last comes, I think, from years when she was not accepted. Years when she looked so different from her peers that all she could ever be was an outsider looking in.
Here in the States, that is not the case. Her white hair is very white, but most people assume she is a platinum blond. Her hair is deeply admired by teenagers and young adults who often stop and ask me how I managed to get it so white. As if I would bleach my 11-year-old's hair!
It is true that Cheeky's vision stinks. Corrected, it is 20/200. She has no depth perception. Somehow, she manages to dance, to knit, to read, to run, to play. Just like any other child, she enjoys being with her friends. Most of them don't realize how bad her eyes are. Most adults don't either. I don't usually bother mentioning it unless I know Cheeky is going to be playing outside. My daughter does not, after all, need pity. She just needs to be allowed to be herself.
We were at the dance studio a few weeks ago. The mother of one of the new students was sitting next to me. She asked which girl was mine, and I pointed Cheeky out. She commented on her beautiful hair and then mentioned casually that Cheeky holds books very close to her face when she reads. She asked if I'd thought about getting her vision rechecked, because it seemed her glasses weren't working.
I explained that my daughter was born with poor vision, that it couldn't be corrected to anything close to perfect.
"Tsks, tsk, tsk," the woman said. "Poor baby."
"Why," I asked, "is she a poor baby?"
"Well, because, she can't see well."
"But she can sing well, dance well, knit well. She is an A student reading above grade level even though she only learned English four years ago. She has friends and a family that loves her. There is nothing poor about that."
The woman looked at me for a moment and nodded solemnly.
I'm not sure she agreed with my assessment of things, and I'm not sure I care.
The fact is, there is nothing to be pitied about my daughter. She is amazing. Maybe she won't ever drive a car, but she won't be sitting on her butt feeling sorry for herself, either. She has everything she needs to be a happy successful human being.
Which brings me to back to the beginning.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend found this while she was researching contact lenses for her daughter (who was also born with albinism).
Yes. It is. My daughter. In oils. The painting is on display in an art show. If you think I'm pulling your leg, go here and take a look.
I've known for a while that the photo this oil painting was painted from had been taken from my blog and posted all over the Internet. If you do a google search of Asian Albinism, you'll usually see it in the photos. That's why I went private on my family blog. I got sick of the sickos who think my daughter is a thing.
Seriously, people. She's a child. Not a piece of art. If you want to paint her, ask. If you want to post her photo all over the Internet for every creepy troll to see, don't.
Because if she were your daughter, your sister, your niece, your friend you wouldn't.
At least, I hope you wouldn't.
But, maybe this world is a crazier place than I think it is!