Hyun Jin; She/her; Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a condition where skin cells build up on areas of the body causing dry, scaly patches. It's thought to be an immune system problem and may go through cycles where it flares or subsides, however it is a lifelong condition. Certain treatments may offer some relief but it is incurable. The patches may be in areas that see a lot of friction, such as the knees, elbows, knuckles, etc. Around 2-3% of the world's population have psoriasis.
The subject of this piece described her lifelong experience with psoriasis. As a visible condition, she discussed being self conscious and the impacts it had on her family and the cultural differences around judgement. She talked about how temperature can impact the symptoms and cause a burning sensation. Other times it feels prickly and hurts. It was fairly easy to see a metaphor there between the heat and prickling to cacti. Since the psoriasis patches are affected by friction we decided the cacti should be surrounding her, showing how difficult it is to move through life without exacerbating the condition, even just sitting on the couch.
Although I almost exclusively work with people who have invisible conditions, I made an exception for Hyun Jin. I think her story shows how important it is to challenge our judgements of others, and even though she has faced a lot of difficulty due to a challenging condition you can still see the beauty she radiates to the world.