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therepublic

My story + some advice on happiness

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Please bear with me. I’m writing this in a rush so my thoughts don’t escape me. I had a realization about my acne struggle today that warmed my heart and I need to capture it in words. Before that, my story:

 

Birth - 2014

 

I was a quiet & happy kid. In fact, I don’t remember when I first started getting acne. I never paid attention to it nor let it affect my daily being. People would point it out, but I’d shrug it off and continue living. I was a quiet & happy kid, until more recently.

 

2014

 

It all started when I was hurt in a college relationship. I felt something tear inside me. Emotions ran wild and insecurities magnified. “I wasn’t good enough” I told myself for the first time in life and actually believed it. I stared at myself and saw something else -- a hideous monster.

 

From that point on, I nitpicked every single flaw on my face. I cried when I looked at my scars and panted when I got a new pimple. They say ignorance is bliss. And it was. Self-awareness tore me into pieces and recovery felt impossible. I tried everything: more water, less dairy, vitamins, benzoyl peroxide, salycylic acid, retinoids, antibiotics, you name it. All to no avail. Cluelessly, I scrubbed and scrubbed and, in turn, my face retaliated. Every single pore on my face rose in order to fight the injustice I was performing on myself.

 

This was the first time in my life I had a suicidal thought. And it scared me.

 

2015

 

Time went by. I continued researching into what the hell was going on. And I read something that made a lot of sense. Why bother? Why do anything? Hasn’t human skin evolved over millions of years to function optimally? Isn’t skincare an industry that puts product first and consumer feelings last? So I stopped.

 

2016

 

I showered with water only and went to work. No nothing on my face. And it felt kinda good. My skintone normalized. That light brown kid hidden under the red mask came out. Breakouts started disappearing. Oily skin became less oily. And I smiled -- genuinely for the first time in a while.

 

2017 (this is what I really wanted to write about)

 

But there was still a larger battle -- that of self-acceptance and self-love. The large pores, the scars, the oily skin were still there, though, they weren’t as loud as before. You see, I was so obsessed over my skin imperfections, I refused to be happy. Every time I would see someone with clear skin, my insecurities would trigger and I would curl into myself. This went on.

 

December 28, 2017:

 

I went to the gym as part of my daily routine. And in that harsh fluorescent bathroom lighting, I saw that battlefield once again. “I don’t look normal and I don’t think I ever will” I thought. I sat myself down and did something I had never done before.

 

I went through my phone and looked at digital photos of me from the past. “Holy shit” I said. “I had acne in high school.” My skin from that high school photograph had pimples and I never noticed. “Why didn’t I obsess over them then? Why didn’t I scrutinize every single scar I had already? And finally, why was I so happy?”. I was dumbfounded. The answer was so obvious. It was because I didn’t care. I treated people well. I laughed. I loved. Acne was not part of the equation. And as a result, I was happy.

 

This warmed my heart in a way I cannot describe. I sank into my car seat on the drive back. And I felt this calmness take over me. I had finally realized first-handed that “acne is not everything”. The way you treat others, the way you laugh, and the way you love matter a lot more. We tend to obsess over our imperfections and devalue our lives. But the real fun is in the journey. Smile. Give a compliment to a stranger. Say “I love you” to your parents. Hang out with that nice friend of yours you haven’t had time for. Trust me, you’ll be a calmer soul.

 

“you must want to spend the rest of your life with yourself first” - rupi kaur.

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I admire the optimism of this post. But i don't think im alone in saying i don't feel im the problem, in fact im ok my acne so long as it doesnt kill me. But try telling that to all the assholes and dumb bitches of society who's seemingly only purpose to being in my life is to remind you how much of a freak i am according to them...
 just because your ok with it doesn't mean everyone else will be and that's really what the core of the problem is for me personally. 

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