Disclaimer: I could not possibly be more pleased with myself for coming up with that title for this post. It’s the little things.
I’ve discussed before how no one comes across this blog by searching “incredibly good looking hilarious person,” which really is quite a shame because I mean, come on:
As disappointing as it is to have my hilarious stories and super good photography be largely ignored by the Internet, I legitimately love that the only search terms leading people here are variations on “pimples on chest.” (Or, on occasion, “acne crazy person.”) I am fully aware that my readership is indeed smaller than the average college lecture, but I still enjoy that I am, in some small way, giving the acne sufferers of Google somewhere to go to feel less alone.
In high school, at the height of my acne insanity, I would have given anything to feel a little less like the total singular monster I felt I was. At the time, I was the only person I knew (aside from my mom, who took Accutane in the late 70s) who had such terrible skin in so many places. I was a sprinter for seven years before quitting track my junior year because I was too embarrassed to wear the low-cut jerseys. I suffered through humiliating drugstore conversations with strange old ladies, who would ask me earnestly (and loudly) while motioning toward my head, “Have you ever tried washing your face?” I wore t-shirts every day for six years and washed (and made up) my face twice a day.
Just before Accutane, on the advice of my third dermatologist, I started taking the highest dose birth control available, in the hope of banishing my acne forever. My entire body ballooned up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. My acne didn’t go anywhere:
I’m wearing about ten pounds of concealer in this photo. And twenty pounds of water weight. My body’s transformation from “normal human” to “estrogen overdose” was so rapid, guys on my dorm floor thought I’d gotten a boob job over summer break.
Here I am being “sexy” at 19 on Halloween in West Hollywood. Notice the only part of my upper body visible are my arms. I had that horrible dress, with its high halter, custom made in order to hide my chest:
If I could give my teenage self (and those who aren’t here for pictures of cats) some hard won advice, it wouldn’t be to just get over it, because living it sucks. Having no control over your body (be it due to acne or weight or depression or restless leg syndrome) is a nightmare. Don’t get over yourself. Be sad. That’s understandable and totally acceptable.
However, do not let it rule your life. One day, like when you’re in your twenties and writing a blog, you will not give one shit what anyone thinks about you. (You will prove this by talking at length about your menstrual cycle and pregnancy tests and cystic pimples in a public forum.). And you will regret all the things you did when you were too busy giving a shit, like for instance, refusing to swim freely in the Caribbean when you were lucky enough to go there once because you didn’t want to wash off your concealer or dating that toolbag for far too long in college because you were afraid no one else would ever be attracted to you.
Never let your perceived shortcomings rule your life because the simple truth is that no one who loves you cares. No one who might love you cares. And anyone who does care is a sadistic jerk who isn’t worth it in the first place.
Finally, feeling like a physical mutant in my formative years forced me to sharpen my academic and social abilities. I assumed people were going to stare at me and I wanted their attention focused on things I could control, like doing well in school or being an entertaining personality. Thus, I wouldn’t be nearly as remarkably intelligent or hysterically funny or obnoxiously loud if it weren’t for bad skin. For that, Acne, I thank you.
Google searchers of the world, come for the key words and stay for the life coaching!