My butt isn’t much to talk about: it’s pitifully flat, pale and even I don’t like looking at it. It kind of depresses me with the flatness, like a long stretch of squishy plains that not even skin tight jeggings can hold up. I’m okay with that feature, because that’s just one of the things Asian girls have to deal with (aside from the small boobs and vaginas*), but there’s just one small detail that I’ve recently realized that I’ll have to live with forever.
My butt is special because as far as I know, I’m the only one who has kept the mongolian birthmark past babyhood. We’ve discussed this distinctly Asian feature on 8Asians before, where 90-95% of our babies are born with a greenish-blue spots on their behind and we’ve all heard about how these birthmarks were often mistaken for bruises. We’ve swapped stories (or urban legends) about how concerned people have taken these supposed bruises as signs of child abuse and reported innocent Asian families to Child Services. I always felt like these were part of growing up as an Asian American child; as diverse as our demographic is, there are some biological and genetic features we share and deal with together. But what happens when the baby birthmark did not, does not and refuses to disappear?
I’m approaching my 30th birthday this year and my mongolian birthmark on my butt is as green, blue and bruise-y as ever. Fortunately (as I explained earlier), I don’t really look at my butt that much–and therefore, don’t think about my birthmark as often–but I still have to explain it to friends, doctors and even strangers when they catch a glimpse of this. Okay, no, I’m not implying that I show my butt to the whole world but even low cut bikini bottoms show a peek of my little mark.
I’ve heard questions like “Are you okay?” or “What’s that?” and even “You’ve got something on your butt.” Just this past weekend, I laid down for my first real massage and heard the masseuse make a remark as he adjusted the blankets over my lower back.
“Did you hurt yourself here?”
“Nope…That’s just a birthmark.”
My voice might have been muffled by all the pillows, but it was enough of a response to keep him from asking any more questions. I thought about going into my routine of explaining mongolian birth marks and Asian babies, but then I realized I was paying this spa to relax, not conduct a lesson in genetic traits among the Asian diaspora. (I did have a moment where I thought about bursting into tears and going on about child abuse, but that would have been inappropriate–and a little awkward.)
My mother claims my birthmark is the physical manifestation of my overall immature mentality: I was the baby of the family and will forever act like one. This is partially true but no matter how mature and grown-up I behave, this mark won’t go away. I’ve scrubbed it endlessly with a loofah sponge when I was younger, I’ve thought about using concealer to cover it up and even entertained the idea of tattooing a permanent outline around it–or maybe even making it bigger because why not, right?
Now, I’ve resigned myself to a lifetime with a mongolian birthmark. I was excited to see if my baby nephew would be born with one so we could share this awesome genetic mutation (at least, until he grew out of his) but alas, his butt turned out to be spot free. So I guess it’s just me and my butt for now.
*Author’s note: This is a joke. Please don’t start a petition against me.
[Photo courtesy of yanwai24]