Growing up, I loved going to department stores, where I would sit at the makeup counter and look at all the different types of eye makeup, face makeup, soaps and lotions. I started wearing makeup pretty young. I still wear it almost every day.

I have a birthmark on my right cheek. One of those port wine, flat, oval/ kidney-shaped ones, like Mikhail Gorbachev’s (remember him?). In my young preteen mindset I felt an odd sense of camaraderie mixed with awe and disgust that here was someone who had almost the same thing I had (if not worse—on his forehead, the poor guy!); but, while I spent hours figuring out I have a birthmark on my right cheekways to cover it, here he was displaying it to the world.

While my feelings are mixed towards this blemish now, I can honestly say that back then I totally hated it. First I tried wearing my straight hair down, but this offered only a paltry, temporary solution: with a gust of wind, or even simply moving my head, the mark was easily visible. As I approached my bat mitzvah, the thought of having a photographer take my picture with my birthmark (gasp!) showing prominently was too much for me. So, I begged my mother to let me wear makeup and concealer to cover the mark for the big day.

She agreed.

I think it was a mistake.

I’ll tell you why.

With the unconscious message of “blemishes are not good” ensconced in my brain, I continued on in my teenage years. Like any good teenager, I learned different methods of hairstyling, and I soon became an expert at teasing, blow-drying and spraying my hair into some acceptable but cheek-covering style (since this was the late ’80s/early ’90s, it was big).

When laser surgery came along, I took advantage of it. This minimized the size and intensity of my birthmark—but it’s still there. And it still (unfortunately) bothers me.

It’s interesting, because in all the years that I have been going to makeup counters and buying concealer for this birthmark, it wasn’t until recently that I had a salesperson question my reason for wanting to cover it up.

“Why not celebrate what makes you different?” she asked.

I gulped. (Yes, gulped.) Celebrate? This? She’s gotta be crazy, I thought.

Sensing my hesitation, she continued, “After all, hon, it’s part of who you are. Why hide it?”

Why not??? Why not celebrate what makes you different?I thought. I didn’t know what to say, so I bought the concealer and hastily left the store.

When I got home, I told my husband and daughter the story, and my daughter replied, “Yeah, Mom, why do you hide it?”

And, though I mumbled that it bothered me, that I’d always hated it and, well, anyone else would feel the same, I realized that it didn’t have to be this way.

So, every morning, when I get dressed and (still) put on my makeup, I ponder this idea. There is a big part of me that knows that the salesgirl and my daughter are right. After all, this birthmark is no less a part of me than my brown eyes, the freckle on my left wrist, or my long eyelashes. But there is that small part of me that compels me to put on the makeup every day.

I think it’s because of the idea of imperfection. Why does imperfection scare us so? Don’t kid yourselves; it does. But we have to remember that our standards are usually superimposed on us by industries that are making a lot of money off of our feelings of imperfection.

So maybe we (ahem, I) should focus on a new standard, accepting ourselves entirely the way that we were created. And, just as G‑d has created all of us perfect in our own way, we should strive to remember that what makes us different from each other doesn’t make us weaker, stronger, more beautiful, more important or more special in the eyes of G‑d and our loved ones. It makes you more you. And me more me.

And maybe the next time I run out of concealer, I won’t run out so fast to buy a new one.