I was dreaming of having smooth, blemish-free skin and envied other women with clear complexion.
My blemishes and acne promised me they would disappear by the end of high school. As luck would have it, my acne went from manageable to debilitating by the time I entered college. While most of my friends were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, my acne story was just at its dawn. Acne had declared full absolute rule over my entire being, and I let it.
Acne was a huge weight constantly dragging down my self-worth. It wasn’t something that I could hide. And too intense to hide with any kind of makeup. It was also something that was on the main feature (my face) you notice when speaking to someone. You see, the general public has a poor understanding of the underlying cause of acne. The more solicited and unsolicited advice I received, the more insecure and isolated I felt. The suggestions and logistics I received from strangers paranoid my delusion that what I was going through was a personal problem.
If I had just washed my face a bit more, washed it comparatively less, went to bed kind of earlier, drank more water, used this product, stopped using that product, ate more of this, and less of that, took these minerals, didn’t take those vitamins…I would be cured of this disease. Combating and trying to manage my tactful skin became a full-blown lifestyle. The funny thing is, even when my skin got visibly better, I still carried the baggage of someone with crippling insecurities.
It took me quite long time to realize that it wasn’t just my skin issues holding me back; it was my plummeted self-esteem. I’ve come across a guy who stated, “If you had a better complexion, lighter lips, no acne, and finer hair (not curly), I would’ve asked you out,”—like no Sherlock, I’m sorry because I wasn’t even eligible to take your offence. Adding to that, at times I feel like throwing up at the patriarchy of the society in raising their progeny, mostly sons who just have testosterone, attitude and flamboyance—the ones who pretend it’s ‘cool’ to go around criticising.
I learned that loving yourself comes from within. When the queer voice inside of my head was stating, “I don’t like myself because of my acne,” I should have told, “I love myself despite of my flaws.” When I lost it all, I finally started to build a relationship with myself. Yes, this is a cliché and I never quite believed the gravity of it, until recently. Most of the people around you are petrified what suits them, what comforts them, what they relate to and what is convenient to them. I do not want to do the same with myself. We do not expect the ocean to not rise and fall. We embrace her tides. I want to be able to do the same for myself. Learning to surf my high tides and not be afraid of the solitude in my calm.
It’s still a process, but quarantine has given us more of a reason to do something productive in this gap of period and so, I resorted to exercising. It has been that one therapeutic space that has helped me transform my mind and body. I had been looking forward for the marathons this year and started it with great enthusiasm and rigor only to find my body not cooperative as I had a few health issues.
This was my chance to reinvent myself. It was a gradual change, but I acknowledged my insecurities and told myself I would not let them affect any of my decisions.
This is not by any means saying that I am totally confident and no longer insecure about the image jabs. Quite in the contrary, I am still kind of insecure about my skin. But, I have consciously recognised that this is something out of my control and will subside in due time.
Featured Image Source: News Medical