As of today, I am nearly 22 years of age. I have been dealing with acne since the age of 14, although, back then, it was so mild that it hardly compares to my later experiences. Around the age of 17, give or take, my acne increased in severity. I have very fair skin, dotted with light to dark brown freckles, a few beauty marks here & there, hazel-green eyes, and brownish hair. As a child I was a blonde. Being so light complected, nearly every pimple that came & went left a bright, red mark behind. I just recently learned that these marks are actually not scars, but hyper-pigmentation. I also have a pretty good amount of true scarring though, which is indented, but it actually doesn't bother me hardly at all, especially in comparison to the red hyper-pigmentation that is patterned across the majority of my face. Around the age of 19, my acne reached an all-new peak of severity. This is *after* a course of antibiotics had been used up; quite a bit amount of time after (I'd say a year). Within a few months after being off of the medication, my acne began to flare up again, quite slowly, until returning at full force. Ah, If only I had a picture to show you. I took a few that were later lost, but the image of them shall forever remain in my memory. Funny how a camera can so amplify something like acne, making its true appearance so apparent that it nearly shocks you. I began the antibiotics again in desperation after the flare up, and my acne reduced again. My skin was still covered with the red hyper-pigmentation, however, because I never got to the point of receiving treatment for that (it's a long story). One of my only exterior consolations during most of my acne years, especially at this point, was makeup. I covered my face in it every day. Went to sleep in it. Avoided pools, vigorous exercise around others, etc, because I was so afraid of my marks & scars being seen. I am still highly insecure about my acne marks & I still wear a good amount of makeup, although I've lessened it just a bit. I've just started a routine here lately where I take it off before bed & sleep without it most nights of the week, which has in fact reaped some benefits for my skin. I still avoid activities where my acne marks may be seen, & I don't take off my makeup around others. My acne marks are horribly affecting my life & my relationships with others. I hate feeling like I have some huge flaw that makes me ugly. I feel like a true monster sometimes. My acne & its after effects are by far the biggest insecurities & disruptions in my day-to-day life. Often, I am late to work because of how long it takes me to apply my makeup. I miss out on a lot of fun opportunities & events with friends because it takes me too long to get ready for me to make it in time. Plus, there are often times when I just don't feel like socializing because my skin looks so bad. Right now, it's not horrible, but I am off of my antibiotics once again, & the flare ups are starting. However, despite all of this, 2014 is a new year & I am going to try some new things. I am going to overcome a lot of fears I have, later to be discussed, & I hope to be rid of my hyper-pigmentation within 6-12 months, my acne hopefully resolved by 2015. I am going to work harder to reach my goals of "normal" skin than I ever have before... Because that's exactly it. I want my happiness back. I want a carefree life & relaxation back. And I just want to feel normal.