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Accepting every bit of our bodies ain’t easy. But when we see someone like beauty blogger Ash Soto, who has vitiligo, a skin disease that lightens patches of the skin, publicly flaunt what her mama gave her, we can’t help but be inspired. We’re holding our own head a little higher already.

When Soto was 12 years old, doctors diagnosed her with the disease. “I remember my mom sitting there crying and I just sat there confused and scared. I didn’t know how much my life would change from that moment on,” Soto said in an interview with A Plus.

Shortly after that, the Florida native says she stopped wearing shorts, covering up her marks with pants and hiding under long-sleeved shirts. “I excluded myself from everything and everyone. I tried to be happy and smile, but over time I was filled with so much self-hatred for myself that I stopped doing the things I loved,” she said. “It was so bad, I couldn’t even look at people in the eye anymore.”

But now, at 21, Soto is learning to love and accept what makes her different. Using Instagram as a vehicle to spread her body positive message, the makeup artist is painting her skin like a canvas. The results are moving.

Exposing her skin in its natural state like this didn’t come easy. “It took me a long time to share my true self. I decided to post when I felt like I was strong enough and mentally able to handle the reaction, which ever way I was meant to receive it,” Soto told A Plus.

But the reaction from the Internet has been wildly supportive and full of praise. Many of Soto’s 85,000 followers pointed out that the outlines on her skin, which she traced around in paint, looked like a map. And so Soto has one painted onto her flesh, captioning the photo “the girl with the world painted on her body.”

Soto is proof that the same things that make us different are often the same things that make us one of a kind.

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