“I am not my skin”

I don’t remember what it feels like to have clear skin. Even though I started to have skin troubles was in middle school, I just can’t remember waking up, and not worrying about it. When I met with Steve for the What I Be Project, I was sure this wasn’t my biggest insecurity, it had to be something with relationships or a different body image issue, but not this. He would ask me questions, and it was obvious because I was fighting it. If he hadn’t managed to make me laugh about it, I might never have named it, acne.

Growing up, I never got teased for my skin, no one ever said anything, only how pretty or beautiful I was. Throughout college and after, I had various casting calls for modeling opportunities with large organizations, even this didn’t convince me that I was attractive. Even in every relationship I have had, I’ve never had a boyfriend tell me I was anything but gorgeous. Still, I knew different.

I have this thing about makeup too; I wear it everyday. I tell myself it’s cool, because it’s mineral makeup, but I know it’s better not to wear any at all. In fact the only time in which I don’t wear any, is when I go to yoga practice in the mornings. And even then, some days I use a little concealer, even though I know I will sweat it out, even though I know it doesn’t matter because I am going to a safe space, with people that I trust.

Often times I wonder how much of it is just in my head, how much of this is actually a manifestation of my own thoughts about myself that I choose to reinforce. When I have tried every medicinal product from the commercial ones to therapeutic grade essential oils, and nothing works, the negative self-talk takes root, strongly. Sometimes it’s what I say to myself, or the way I look at myself, with disappointment, it makes me sad to think of it.

One of the reasons I went vegan initially was because I thought eliminating animal products would be the answer. Cleanses, colonics, naturopaths, the works shortly followed. In one small way I guess it’s a blessing; I now live a healthier, more socially conscious lifestyle partly in response to my efforts to remedy my skin problems. I know that I see it as being much worse that it actually is. I know that. And yet I haven’t given up that there is a different way of doing things that will free me from this.

I have grown through my struggle with it, and while I may not be healed yet, I can talk about it which has not always been the case. I am always learning about myself, thought my skin. I know it doesn’t define me, perhaps that’s half the egoistic battle.