My entire life I’ve struggled on and off with my skin. I was blessed with a handful of physical attributes that I’m quite fond of, but the gifts through the gene pool ended with my face. Sounds harsh, but this is my pity party so sit back, relax, relate, and laugh at my pain.
Every human on the planet battles with acne in some capacity during the cursed puberty years. Unless you’re the few lucky unicorns in Middle School and High School with perfect, glowing skin; this post isn’t for you. Go be fabulous and bask in the glory and beauty that is the unfairness of the universe. All my friends at one point or another has fought the good fight with a pimple here and there, and some questionable greasy t-zones and scattered black heads. Once the blossoming and shaky years of puberty were past them they emerged into adulthood like the gorgeous butterflies they were meant to be. I on the other hand, have been losing the war and battle against acne, hormones and puberty for the better part of my life. I got my first pimple when I was in second grade. I repeat, SECOND grade. It didn’t matter how awkwardly adorable I was with my side pony tail, pink framed glasses and primo 80’s attire, if you look back at my second grade class photos there is a planet sized pimple on my chin. At that moment I should’ve known that I was headed towards a life of dateless Friday nights, therapy, and spending most of my time and money in the face wash section of any given store, ever. The breakouts would come and go as they pleased, rearing its ugly head(s) in my life and wreaking havoc at the most inconvenient times. Class photos, sleep overs, holidays, and school dances. Quickly leaving in the knick of time to avoid the responsibility of my bruised ego and sense of self worth. Kind of like my Father showing up for a weekend every other month and fleeing at the sight of a child support payment. It’s comical and sad that I’ve had a deeper and more meaningful relationship with my acne than my Father, but I digress…
In my late twenties I finally managed to get my acne and deep-rooted daddy issues under control. I stopped wasting my money on over the counter acne treatments and face washes and headed to a dermatologist. I’m not sure why I was always so hesitant about making an appointment. Maybe I just wanted to deal with my shame alone, during the late hours of the night in the puberty isle of the Target, than talk to a professional. Either way, with the support of a friend and the voices in my head telling me to stop being a baby I made an appointment and my life was changed, for just a scoatch. For a couple of years, my face was doing amazing. Months would go by without any breakouts and my self-confidence and inner joy was on the rise. I’m sure my personal life played a huge role in my newfound inner peace and joy; finding the man of my dreams, getting engaged, buying my first home, and planning a wedding. However, for the sake of this post and my point I’m giving all the credit to the way I felt about myself and my face. Maybe all those things finally fell into place in my life because I didn’t look like Freddy freakin’ Krueger. For the first time in my life I felt beautiful. Not every day, I am human, but for the most part when I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror I didn’t want to crawl into a hole and die. It was an amazing feeling. I got married feeling blessed and beautiful, and then a month later I got pregnant. The pooh sure did hit the fan in so many ways, it was coming at me at all angles. I had an unbearable pregnancy, I won’t go into it(on this post), but my hormones and face has been on the fritz ever since my husbands seed found its way home. I had to stop using the prescribed washes and treatments for my acne that were working so wonderfully, because they were not safe for the baby. Her health and safety will always come first, so my ridiculous face was just going to have to take a backseat until further notice.
My little chunker will be 14 months old in a week, and she has brought me more love and joy than I could’ve ever imagined possible. This post however, is not about how much I love and adore my daughter or motherhood. It is about how the universe has been screwing with my grill my entire life, and how pregnancy and breastfeeding has prolonged my “butter face” situation for almost two years now. I’ve been using a pregnancy/nursing safe acne regimen that my friend sells, but my temperamental skin just seems to laugh at it. I try to make light of the situation to avoid crying about it, but the reality is on most days I could fill a river with my tears. Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, its more like a small stream, a creek or maybe even just a New York sized pothole. It is a ridiculous thing to have to worry about at my age and an even more ridiculous thing to be bothered so much by it at my age, but I can’t help it. I’m pissed. For some people who don’t struggle with skin issues, you may think I’m being vain, but the truth of the matter is… When you’re talking with your friends and family, meeting new people, and doing business with customers and clients, the first thing that they are forced to deal with is your face. Some people will notice your hair, your clothes, your shoes and hands, but in the end your face is and should be the focal point unless you are dealing with an idiot who is staring at your lady parts. I can’t even begin to explain to you how embarrassing it is for a thirty-three year old woman, who quite honestly has a very good life, to be so consumed with her face she can barely make eye contact with people anymore. It is an awful feeling, no matter how old you are and it is my reality at this moment in my life.
Every morning it becomes harder and harder for me to look at myself in the mirror, to even recognize the woman I used to be. There are so many things about my body that have changed due to the pregnancy and labor alone, this is just the cherry on top of the hormonal baggage sundae. The thing is, the majority of the changes that have happened all suck pretty evenly, but all are a lot easier to conceal. The stray whiskers that seem to pop up in random parts of my body that I didn’t even know could grow hair, can be plucked. The saggy mom boobs can be hoisted and supported by proper padding, underwire and a prayer. The mushy bits of extra pounds can be managed with a decent diet, exercise, and God’s greatest gift to thick women every where, Spanx. Even the battle scars and stretch marks can be covered by some clothing. However, my face… well, I can’t walk around with a bag over my head, and considering I was raised by a raging, self-proclaimed and proud tomboy my make-up skills are quite sketchy. So, here I am! #NoFilter, full of blemishes, painful bumps and itchy scar tissue, trying desperately to find something positive about all of this and all I’m left with is ridiculously cliched quotes on inner beauty.
“Love yourself. It’s important to stay positive because beauty comes from the inside out.” ~J. Proske
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ~Kahlil Gibran
“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” ~Sophia Loren
“There is a crack in everything, thats how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen
Well, apparently if the cracks represent my acne the sun can shine and warm all the land through the light it is letting in. And leave it to an Italian super model to help women define their beauty. Listen, I know that there are bigger problems in the world and more important things I should be focused on. I get it. I know that it could be so much worse, and I should wake up every day being grateful for my health, my life, and all that I have. I should be concentrating on the qualities and attributes that I have and possess that actually matter. Like being thoughtful, loyal, kind, having a decent head of hair and an amazing rack. But, not today. Today, I’m angry, I’m embarrassed, I feel small and unworthy. At least when I’m with my daughter in public people are more focused on how stinkin’ adorable she is and less worried about staring at my bumpy face and that’s okay with me for right now. Because I know the second I’m done nursing I’ll be back at the dermatologists office waiting on the prescription for a fresh face and a new attitude. I’ve also realized that it doesn’t matter how amazing your life is or even how beautiful you are inside and out, everyone has their thing. The thing about themselves that they hate and try to cover up with clothes, make-up or plastic surgery. I guess the positive thing about all of this is that I’m not alone in my struggle and its okay to feel bad sometimes as long as it doesn’t consume me. Today I may be angry at the world because there are no filters in real life, but I know this feeling will pass eventually. I can find peace in knowing that as soon as can get through the obstacle of avoiding small talk and eye-contact with everyone at my kids daycare, and get that adorable little girl home she’s going to love me no matter what. I can have morning breath, bed-head, and smell like a sewer and she would still think I’m freakin’ awesome. It helps that her only forms of communication at the moment are single words, facial expressions and wrapping her little arms around me as tight as she can, while making kissing sounds. That feeling won’t fix my face, but it will warm this cold and bruised heart today. My days are numbered though, until she’s old enough to know better and ask me questions like, “What are those bumps on your face, Mommy?” and “Why haven’t you brushed your hair?” So, I need to get my attitude and my shit together, ASAP.
Send happy thoughts and calming vibes my way; please and thanks.