I had one of those horrible, crushing mornings. I tried styling my hair 3-4 different ways. I tried on different tops, bottoms, scarves and shoes, but no item of clothing did anything to relieve me of the shame and sense of vulnerability (like being naked, ironically) that my bad skin gives me. I stopped, looked in the mirror and started sobbing. Of course, the tears streaming down my face smudged my makeup.
I have hormonal cystic acne along my jaw, lower cheeks and chin. Despite my best efforts I can't seem to do anything to permanently fix it.
I also have a great life. I am a 30 year-old, female tech worker in san francisco. I make a really, really good living. I am married to a kind, intelligent engineer who is, frankly, way too good looking for someone in my condition. But I'm smart and sometimes pretty funny, so he likes me. In the last 12 months we've traveled to 10 different countries together. We have a hilarious pug that we love immensely. Both of our families are so kind and good to us.
And yet, on days like today my thoughts consist of "Why am I cursed"? Or, "I am the only adult on this bus with acne" or "Maybe I deserve to be ugly" or "Should eliminate corn and rice too"? I'm writing this with a lump in my throat. I am ashamed of how I look, but I am also ashamed that I let this affect me so much. Ha, double-shame. Stupid—it is shocking how a few dozen clogged, infected pores can make a person completely lose his or her sense of self-worth and appreciation for life.
For the record, here's what I do: Because I have money, I use good, clean and often very expensive products. I can also afford to buy organic fruits, vegetables, and experiment with complicated, exhausting diets. I can afford to go on 'relaxing' vacations, see dermatologists and aestheticians, and try prescriptions and also weird, holistic treatments. I have done all of those things and more over the last 6-7 years of my acne journey. To be explicit, I have tried being sugar-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan. I have tried juicing, have avoided sodium laurel sulfate, and have allowed no processed shit-foods near me (99% of the time). I have tried chemical peels, facials, antibiotics like doxy (NOPE), 2 kinds of birth control, and every topical known to science.
Still, I have angry, cystic acne that my friends, family and coworkers stare at and sometimes comment on. And I just feel so broken about it. I weep, I stay in, I get really depressed. I know it's irrational and stupid, but maybe I am irrational and stupid. At least I'm self-aware.