Please accept my apologies for the long absence. I've been trekking across the outer Hibridean islands on horseback for the past three months. That, of course, is a lie.
Well, I finished my accutane course as quietly, unceremoniously and discreetly as a 67th birthday. There was no fanfare, nor a specific moment I feel I shall remember forever. I was actually surprised when my final pill came, and I can't even remember specifically when that was.
Five times out of ten I look in the mirror and think, "Man, I still don't like my face, I still wear shitloads of make up and I still don't want to go camping," and then try to remind myself that only the red marks remain and these will fade in time. But I hear (read) other people talking (writing) about red marks, and when I see their pictures, their red marks are only a fraction of what mine are like. How long will it take for them to piss off? Seriously. Anyone? Anyone?
I actually wrote all of the above about a month ago. Since then, I can comfortably report that my red marks have been sloooooowly fading. My former bitterness over them now strikes me as having been a little over the top. After all, Jesus didn't walk on water on day one, did he? I think it's easy to continue to skeptical, but at the end of the day my life has entirely changed from the skin perspective. Yes, I still wear make up (lots of it) and I am still not entirely comfortable putting my hair in a ponytail due to fear of pitting and make up line being seen, but the biggest transformation was emotional. I don't feel defeated every day by the discovery of newer spots or worry about my skin looking like the Rockys. I can declare with 100% certainty that I haven't had a new blemish for this long since I was quite literally a child, and even with lingering red marks that feels damn good.
My biggest worry about finishing accutane was, of course, the acne returning. I couldn't imagine the oiliness coming back without the acne too. The oil did indeed come back, particularly affecting my previously adored hair washing schedule (I am back to washing once every two days), but the oiliness is much less severe and seems to have settled down now rather than gradually worsened. But most importantly, I've had maybe one tiny blemish since finishing accutane several months ago, which disappeared within and day and caused me no more than a pitiful wisp of worry. Of course, I say all this whilst not just touching wood, but laying and gyrating across a vast wooden table in a bid to avoid tempting fate.
I will post a picture update soon (I've been touching my face a lot so I don't feel it's looking as good right now as it could) as well a few more words, of which I have many, but right now I need to figure out what to do about my foster cat having just ingested two elastic bands and how to paint my nails given that I cut a giant gash into and through my finger and nail this morning.
Just a quick one, peoplings, to bust out some photographs. I did some cheeky comparison shots too.
Then I thought, "I wonder if any of my scarring (pock marks, eugh) have gone down, so I took this photo (WITH make up on, please note).
Then I compared it to one I had taken a little over a month ago (also with make up on) at a time when I'd declared how bad it was, and thought, "Ooh, it's improved loads," before realising that lighting most likely played a significant part in proceedings. So I took another photo, but this time tried to get as much shadow on the bastardish craters as I possibly could, and then compared it to the photo from over a month ago, producing this photo. There still seems to be a difference in shadowplay, although I do believe I should have achieved some sort of award for my efforts towards trying to capture the very same angle. Either way, I would like to believe the scarring has improved. What do you think?
Oh, I just showed Pedro the before and after photos and he said, "Why one's which?" Oh, what a funny, funny guy.
Aaand, here are some other pictures that have absolutely nothing to do with acne at all.
Soup I made from heirloom carrots (some are bright purple) and potatoes.
Paintings my friend and I did to be auctioned off for a local cat rescue (mine are the ones on the right). Believe it or not, together we raised a few hundred dollars.
Screenshot of an awesome drawing game for the iPhone that I would urge everyone to try out. It's free and ridiculously addictive.
Hmm. It doesn't feel like it's been that long since I last posted, but it appears it in fact has. Although compared disgustingly unbusy compared to many, it feels like I've constantly been doing things, important things, or doing a good load of well deserved nothing. Anyhow, you may remember I've been to Hungary to see family. How was my experience? Standard, I'd say. It was tricky remembering to take my pills outside of my normal routine, but taking my mini pill (that's contraception, lads, not a merely diminutive form of an average pill) at exactly the same time as usual regardless of the time difference was more of a... slag.
Whilst I'm on the subject of Hungary, I did have my highlights touched up there and my hair cut. I figured it would be much cheaper, and it was, even despite the hairdresser allegedly regularly featuring in a popular weekly women's magazine with her makeovers. She does make up and everything, so when she complimented me on mine (the elaborate eye-corner swoop is what I presume she was talking about), I admit it felt a little like having my ego stroked... then fondled... and teased... and maybe even caressed, firmly yet sensually (if that's even possible). I was somewhat taken aback, however, by the strange highlighting protocol, namely that I was silently expected to hold the box of foils, which were merely pieces ripped from your average household kitchen foil, and hand one to the hairdresser each time she was ready to foil me up. Unaccustomed to this, I failed almost every time, so I naturally explained my unfamiliarity with the process in an attempt to refute my dumbass appearances. Her response? "So how do they do it in Canada?" I defy any reasonable person to deliver the sentence, "Well, they usually have an equipment cart from which they kind of take the foils themselves" in a way that does not sound patronising or facetious. Well, let me tell you, she was aghast, and so were her colleagues, but definitely more about the wondrous other-wordly technique that I'd explained to them rather than my actual delivery. The most peculiar part of the experience, however, was when she pretty much straddled me whilst working on the front of my hair. I'm sure it's fun when you're used to it (and maybe drunk?), but I've personally never had a woman straddle me, so I admit I felt slightly stilted, but I guess the more perverse (and perverted) part came when she bid fairwell to a couple of clients/friends whilst still working on the front of my hair. Thrusting her pelvis and boobs even closer to my non-breathing face, she proceeded to heartily kiss these clients/friends right over my shoulder, which was the first glimpse I'd gotten of what it might be like to star in a pornographic film. It was... special.
Back on topic, I am mildly aware that I finish my course in, what, a few weeks' time? Sometimes I feel a very fleeting spurt of worry over my course possibly not being long enough (after all, I still have plenty of red marks), but then other times I just give my smooth face a good old stroke in the shower and welcome the warm, satisfied sigh of relief. Speaking of showers, our plughole has been clogged up for a number of weeks now to the point where I feel like I am bathing rather than showering. Enough, at some point, was enough, so I untwisted the stopper thing and went about clearing out all the hair and skank that was stuck down there. I apologise, potentially squeamish readers, but what I found down there could not have been human, even though I sadly know full well that it was. The amount of hair (my hair, God damn it) that I pulled out literally (LITERALLY) could have provided a VERY generous and rich head of hair to, say, a bald toddler. In fact, that toddler would probably have available to it the option of braiding or even dreadlocking. Anyway, I wasn't sure what to do with it, so for a few moments I was gulping back nausea and blinking away tears of disgust before I made it disappear down the toilet.
Right, okay, so I guess I should post a picture in case there has been some kind of magical change with my face since last time. Hmm, I don't know. Maybe I will take one tonight and post it tomorrow or something. I realised that in the past three or four months, I've probably had two or three small blemishes alone. That's pretty impressive, so hopefully these red marks will just sack themselves off sooner or later. Why do they take so stupidly long? And what are these ridiculous little inconspicuous lumps under my skin that have been there since the beginning of my torturous adventure with acne? Meh. I'll have to keep my eye on them.
Arrgh. Sorry about the crappy post. I feel tired and uninspired (although clearly not enough to avoid a nifty little rhyme, tee-hee... arrrrgh).
Oh, but on the bright side (for me), I got accepted to university! Yay! I shall learn once again! Aaaaaand not be able to have a real job again until I'm at least 29. Hey ho.
Arrrgh. I feel like a turd that's been quietly decomposing behind a shed. I'm in the magical land of Hungary and have still not recovered from the nightmarish journey and jetlag, even though I arrived on Friday. All I will say is that I strongly resent British Airways, Heathrow terminal 5 security and human beings in general. Fuck it, that's not all I will say, because I am rarely able to pass up an opportunity to moan about something, especially when it's so moanworthy. In short (or at least as short as possible) my day started out on Thursday morning at 7:30am when I got up for work. I was only supposed to be working a half day because my flight was in the late afternoon. Having previously been a bit of a tit about taking time off, and therefore having been rather desperate for me to work right up until the point I would have to leave for my flight, my manager decided to hold back on work for me and send me home early. He claimed he didn't think I'd complete my work as fast as I did, even though he had said it should take me about an hour and it in fact took me longer. This is actually standard titishness on his part, much reminiscent of when I'd told him about my booked flight to Hungary in the first place (he told me it wasn't a good time to be taking off, even though I clearly wasn't about to cancel the $900 flight AND I'd told him I'd be booking it a month earlier). He's not a bad person or has anything in particular against me: he's merely a tit. Anyway, I was a bit annoyed because I obviously don't get paid if I don't work, and it's already a financial stretch to be taking so much time off as well as paying for the flights. Speeding up a bit here, my flight was delayed by three hours and the 400 year old British Airways jet had the least comfortable seats that I've experienced in my life, on or off a plane. The delays obviously caused me to miss my connecting flight to Budapest at London Heathrow, and naturally the next flight was in four hours' time. This time was spent having my tasty, unopened fruit drinks confiscated and disposed of entirely unnecessarily, in my opinion, by rude airport security staff, having my favourite nail varnish bottle broken (again, by airport security staff), causing it to leak into my handbag and all over most of my other favourite possessions (I only discovered all this later on) and having exquisite yet repulsively-priced designer clobber flaunted at me at every turn I took. I also had to face rude, petty staff at Boots, tried to wash nail varnish off all my belongings, which only left me with what looked like heavily blood stained hands, and then basked in the wondrous moment of receiving my period, which forced me to face the rude, petty staff at Boots all over again. Additionally, I left my scarf in Wagamama and stared longingly at people achieving MY dream of sleeping on the sofas in the only comfortable section of the Godforsaken airport and consequently taking up all the space. 40 hours after I woke up in my bed back in Canada on Thursday, I finally found myself in another bed on the other side of some ocean or other.
I could go on, but I'll spare you. I feel headachey, weak, and only just got over a sore throat, something I most likely picked up on the plane as a result of a chorus of people sneezing throughout the entire eight hour flight to the bloody UK. Anyway, I knew my mineral foundation would hold up much better than my old oil-based one used to, but I hadn't anticipated how dry airplanes are. This caused the area around my mouth in particular to gradually become more and more flakey and thus insightly. I had a fantastic idea of buying some make up remover pads at Heathrow and reapplying the foudation in the toilets, but then I remembered that I'd placed only my concealer in my hand luggage. I decided to just reapply the area around my mouth with the concealer, but even after 10 minutes spent in the cubicle fiddling, poking, preening and toying with my face whilst listening to the only other occupant of the washroom vomiting wholeheartedly, my face looked only about 2% less grotesque. The concealer is dry, you see, and the make up remover pads weren't moisterised (and, like a fool, nor did I have anything even vaguely moisturising with me).
Missing out some family related happenings (that I may mention some other time) and flashing forward to now, I was just writing this on my brother's laptop in my grandmother's kitchen when someone rang the doorbell. I was poised to pick the laptop up and take it upstairs to avoid being seen sans make up (even though it's 19:30ish and I usually wear make up every day), but my mum then assured me that it was only the milk lady dropping off some... milk and will not be coming inside. Fine. I stayed put and carried about my business. But lo and behold, the bloody woman only bloody came in, didn't she?! I turned to my mother upon hearing her voice drift into the house, narrowed my eyes and mouthed "Thanks" as coldly and guilt-inflictingly as I could, even though it entirely uncalled for. So in came the milk lady, clocking my shameful face, my green track pants, purple tank top and black fleece with giant white stars all over it, and wore an expression that I was unable to decipher. Or perhaps I was too aghast myself to read it accurately. Either way, it's not every day you see a spotty wizard-chav in an old lady's kitchen. I made a speedy, if not rude, getaway and have resumed my writing in the safety of an upstairs bedroom.
In other news, my auntie, who's 33, told me that my skin definitely looks a lot better. She told me that I no longer have little bulges coming out of my skin. She told me that, in fact, I had little bulges going into my skin, before giving a slight chortle. She was referring to the pitting, and whilst I know spectacularly well that she was not being mean and wouldn't have said it like that if she thought it looked bad, it was a little disheartening to have its presence confirmed by a third party. Arrgh. She had some crazy shit happen to her face last year that caused huge, weeping pustules all over one side of it and resulted in deep indentations, which later disappeared so miraculously that her face today looks like a 3 month old's arse cheek (in a nice way). Her secret? She bloody visualised perfect, smooth skin real hard every single day for a number of weeks, and away went the pitting. That's correct: I said visualised. Visualised. Or visualized, depending on what floats your boat. Amazing. Unfortunately, I'm not one for immense concentration during most activities, so I can easily imagine my mind wandering to meringue pie or the most recent episode of The Bachelor within moments of beginning the "visualisation". Perhaps I'll develop stamina for it at some point, but I think for now my pitting is limited enough for me to quite possibly be able to pass it off as an outcome of a shark attack: an admired and universally respected cosmetic accessory, if you will.
Till next time, peoplings, which I hope will be soon.
So I had my dermatologist appointment today. I reckon I had no more than about 70 seconds actual face time with the geezer, but hey ho. I wanted to give him an accurate impression of my progress, so I'd loaded up my before and after pictures (straight from this log) on my phone in preparation. Showing him was like showing every single co-worker pictures of your newborn baby. He pretended to care, but did no great job of masking his disinterest. Not rudely, though, he was just clearly pressed for time. In response to my 'before' picture, he said, "Oh yes, I remember that all right," and grinned cheekily. He definitely wasn't being sarcastic either. Hmm. Anyway, he prescribed me another 6 weeks' worth of pills and told me that I don't need another appointment or more bloodwork because my course will then be complete. I told him that I've occasionally experienced sudden short term dizziness over the last couple of days (by the way, I've been occasionally experiencing sudden short term dizziness over the last couple of days), but he didn't seem at all concerned. He said my cholesterol was slightly elevated (even despite my inadvertent mega fasting), but that it was nothing to worry about and was probably caused by the pill. About the scarring/indentation, he rolled his eyes good naturedly and told me not to think about it until six months after I finish my treatment. Just as I was leaving, he told me I was looking good. I told him he was looking good, too. I'm not sure if this is standard doctor/patient protocol, but it felt good at the time. Only seconds later did I wince at myself.
Opting to pick up my prescription from the pervy pharmacist rather than the incompetent pharmacist this time, I was again complimented on my skin. I'm pretty sure when I thanked him, I looked to the ceiling and very slightly fluttered my stubby European eyelashes, accidentally conveying flirty coyness. Typically, I have to go back later on in the week to get the rest of my prescription that they "didn't have" today. For some reason, I keep pulling facial expressions that leave the recipient of my gaze or any onlookers completely baffled by my intentions. Only yesterday was I crossing the road on the way home and attempting to shoot an "evil" at a car passing in front of me whose driver had lazily run a fresh red light. My attempt was this, but it unfortunately came out looking something like this, prompting the male driver to return a steely, pervy gaze. I'd forgotten to put lip balm on, you see, so my brain picked that split second to manually remoisten. I felt, and still do, like a penis.
Anyway, I walked about 400,000 miles today, so I was glad to get home. I'm going to put some fake eyelashes on and go out for some sushi, even though I don't eat seafood.
I came home from work 25 minutes ago and spent the past 25 minutes prodding a giant turd in the toilet bowl with the loo brush in order to unclog it. Sometimes I wonder what I did in my previous lives to deserve these sorts of things. It has to have been pretty bad. Multiple murder, at least.
Now, in the unlikely event that anyone's noted my two week absence, and in the unlikelier event that anyone was concerned by it, I've managed to avoid ditches and death and have instead been incredibly busy doing things that are so important that I cannot even recall them. Idling and watching TV, probably.
On the acne front, I'm still baffled by how different my face looks post-wash to how it looks after it's been untouched for long periods. I think I've been so selfish lately with my photos that it's only right I share with you what I mean.
Untouched for long period photo
I mean, I'm actually quite happy with the improvement when looking at the second photo. Here's what that side of my face looked like at the start of my course. Not miraculous, I agree, but it still makes me feel slightly giddy with joy.
What doesn't make me feel giddy with joy, however, is this issue of scarring/pitting. A couple of evenings ago, I looked in the mirror and was shocked by this. Even more shockingly, this is me with make up on, albeit make up that's been rubbed off a bit. Only last week I watched an interview with the woman who inspired the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, and I remember thinking, "She'd be really rather beautiful if she didn't have heavily pitted skin," which is an awful thing of me to think, and now look at me. Could karma be this efficient? Anyway, it really upset me, seeing my face like that. Then the next morning, it looked like this. What the fook? Is my skin mutating before my eyes? I think it must be down to the fact that I often rub my face quite hard in the evenings (strange as well as bad, I know), but I didn't expect it to make it look like this. In desperation, I started using Bio Oil on my scars. I have no idea whether I am meant to do this, and I'm sure some of you will gasp in shock at the idea of putting oil on my face, but it's worth a try. Mind you, using it to get some of those craters out is like putting it in my ear cavity and expecting it to close it up. Either way, I'm appalled. I really am. I'm also pretty sure these scars are from spots that inhabited my face a long, long time ago, as I've not had anything crazy-big there since I've been on accutane. Bleugh. It makes me sick. I better hold onto Pedro. No one will love me now. Just kidding. I do try to be more positive than that.
In other news, I have my dermatologist appointment on the 9th. I have no idea how he will gage my progress with my make up on, so I'm thinking of making him privy to my little snaps. Perhaps I should link him to this log, too, in case he fancies getting the real low-down. Ha. As if. Although, it would be fun if I had the guts to do that. I cannot imagine how he would respond to me insisting he visit my lengthy log and handing him a URL on a post it note. It would be mildly entertaining to see him looking awkward, but knowing my luck he'd actually check it out and strike up a conversation with me next time about the entry on my genitals. Pardon the pun.
It was my great grandmother's 101st birthday last week, and apart from genes, it would seem we have another thing in common: painful mobility. For some reason, I still get a joyous tingle when I'm duped into believing I've had glorious exercise due to the overall pain, and it's only soured slightly by the subsequent realisation that it's not my muscles that are hurting, but in fact my joints. Argh. That thought freaks me out a bit. Needless to say I groan and grimace at every opportunity in order to gradually build up a metaphorical flask of sympathy from Pedro that I can then redeem in the form of favours (not leaving giant turds clogging up the toilet will be a future one). Yet despite my compromised mobility, I've been to two weeks' worth of cuban salsa classes so far. Forced to dance with every man taking the class, I've already had more eyes on my breasts, sweaty, quivering hands on my shoulder blade and overly minty breaths on my neck than any woman should face in their lifetime. Still, it's a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the far-off day when I actually look half decent doing it. What hasn't been fun about salsa, though, is being made to demonstrate my moves to the iPhone-prying girl on reception, who's been dancing salsa for years ("You shouldn't do cuban," she said. "No one really dances cuban these days." Not like me, that's for sure.)
In miscellaneous news, I saw Avatar a few weeks ago and really, really enjoyed it. The effect's worn off a bit now, but I did declare at the time that it was the best film I'd ever seen. I cried through it like a real champion.
I've also been watching The Bachelor. It's the biggest, steamiest, foulest load of crap on TV, brimming with desperate, soulless individuals, but my God is it entertaining. I am secretly hoping that Gia wins, because I like her the most, but then I realise that the prize is Jake, and I struggle to understand how that can be considered a prize.
Oh, Pedro's home now, so there's my concentration gone. He just told me he bought some new mittens, before adding that it wasn't very nice of me to send him a text message starting with the sentence "Two days in a row now your poo's blocked up the toilet."
I went for my first ever PAP test on Saturday. It was absolutely MAGICAL. Just kidding. It was okay. My minky must have charmed the doctor though, because despite my having seen her several times before, it was only after she visited the magical cave that she asked if I wanted her to be my family doctor. I felt rather proud, actually. Also, in case you're wondering, I ended up going with the "au naturale" look, mostly because I hear North American tastes differ from those of the Europeans, and everyone knows that "au naturale" is the safe, conservative option. Besides, all that foliage adds an air of mystery, I feel. Wow, that's the longest paragraph I've ever written about vaginas, my own in particular, and believe me I write a LOT about vaginas. Just kidding. Anyway, Pedro saw the doctor straight after me for different reasons, obviously, and the first thing she said to him was, "You're a lucky guy." Just kidding. But it feels so liberating talking about vaginas...
Acne acne acne acne. Well, it's still hanging around, but whatever. I'm sure it will be fine in the end. I usually worry about tears taking my make up off, but even though I cried pretty much all the way through The Lovely Bones on Saturday night (despite having read the book and therefore knowing exactly what to expect), my make up remained unchanged. Even if it had come off a little, the monstrosity beneath it was definitely at bay enough not to even be noticeable. Why my make up couldn't remain in tact the day it shocked the woman in the elevator, I don't know, but such is life.
I am still quite reluctant to put any photos up just yet because I truly feel it won't be doing my own perception of change any justice. It's remarkable to think that for endless years I'd accepted that washing my face daily would entail skimming over dozens of variously sized bumps on my skin, yet now it's smooth all over. With the exception of a few small, mysterious under-the-skin bumps that hang around for ages, that is. But the change is extraordinary. I can't believe there was a time when I contemplated slicing off those nasty protrusions that clung like miniature breasts to my foundation laden skin. Thankfully my better judgement prevailed (only due to the fear of awful scarring, mind) and hopefully I will never have to go through that kind of thing again.
When I look at my crater-like scars in the mirror, I wonder whether they're noticeable to others. Do they glance at me just for a fleeting second longer than they would at anybody else, registering the pock marks the same way I do others'? In the book that I'm currently reading, the character mentions a horrible man she knew who had ghastly pock marks that reflected a former acne ridden face. A tiny part of me felt resentful. I don't think my own scarring looks hideously obvious, but I doubt you'd have to be blind not to notice it.
Speaking of blindness, I'm pretty sure the vision in my right eye has deteriorated. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my right eye's abilities have paled in comparison to my left eye's for a number of years now, but I'm pretty sure it's gotten worse recently. I also wouldn't be surprised if indeed my left eye has got worse too, without me noticing. I also have this annoying floater right in the focus of my vision that chases my gaze like a manic puppy. I'm sure I've had floaters before going on accutane, I just think it's annoying me more now. Apparently they're permanent, which makes me scoff because I just do not understand the whole thing. If I stare at one spot in the distance, the floater starts slipping down below my focus of vision, therefore it can apparently move, so how come it always comes back to where it's most annoying? Is it just the membrane that it's on slipping down with gravity? Who knows. But in any case, I could choose embitterment over the deteriorating vision, or I could choose to accept that I probably would've needed some sort of vision aid anyway, and be done with it. I think even if God had appeared in my living room a year ago and said, "Okay, Jezika. Fine, you want clear skin. Here's the price: you're going to have to wear glasses or contacts and have dry skin for a while. Oh, and for good measure, I'll throw in a nice floater or two. What do you say?", I'd obviously take Him (or Her) up on His or (Her) offer. I mean, honestly, who wouldn't choose wearing glasses (a common, societally accepted thing) over having acne?
See, this is why I don't use eye drops. Apart from the whole process feeling like I'm murdering a small part of me, my eyes feel dry again less than ten minutes later. I'm not sure why they're feeling so dry today. Usually they're like the Sahara first thing in the morning but then I'm fine for the rest of the day. Oh well, it's hardly a huge burden.
That's it for now. I'm not feeling hugely inspired plus my feet are cold and I have so much housework to do (no captioning for me today). On Sunday Pedro and I resolved to do a thorough cleaning/tidying up of our tiny apartment, so I stuck to my end of the bargain by sorting through my mountain of clothes in our bedroom, hoovering the entire apartment and scrubbing more ominous looking stains from the bathroom surfaces in order to make the whole thing sparkling clean than I care to even think about. Pedro did a "man's job" on the kitchen (only 5/10 on my own scale, although he deems it a 10/10), moved all furniture to the middle of the room, folded up the rug and took his belongings off the new shelving unit and placed them messily on top. That was two days ago. It's still looking the same. I sent him an e-mail this morning pretty much saying this, and how he HAS to finish it tonight because it's looking much worse that it did before. He responded by telling me that there's a method to his madness and that moving the furniture into the middle of the room now helps us move them all to new locations. Move them all to new locations? What new locations? Our apartment is less than 600 sq feet! And when does moving furniture to new locations count as tidying/cleaning? Men are unbelievable. And to think Pedro's actually one of the good ones, all things considered. *Sigh*.
Off I go to tidy...