We all have insecurities. Things that make us want to hide, things we fear others seeing, things we hate about ourselves.
For me, it’s often my skin. My skin kinda sucks. It always has.
As a kid, my parents would rush me to the hospital when I’d have a major eczema flare up. To date, I’ve had at least 5 steroid shots. A rash will appear and then within a day or so quickly cover my body. I’ll look like an alien. It’s frustrating, it’s embarrassing, it’s stressful. And yet when it comes to my insecurity about my skin it’s not just eczema; it’s also acne. The past few years I’ve been having breakouts more than usual on my shoulders, chest, and jawline. I’m not sure why. I try almost everything. What can I eat, what can I take, what can I do to rid of this? I’m 31 years old.I’m too old to be dealing with this shit! is often what I say to myself.
I theorize maybe all the antibiotics I took when I had a kidney infection messed up my internal balance. I theorize maybe it’s another food allergy that’s aggravating something inside. I theorize maybe it’s having too much yeast in my body.
I often observe what goes on in my head when my skin isn’t perfect. I notice how quickly insecurity spirals out of control. That’s been my mind’s habit for as long as I can remember.
At 13, I was a guest player at a soccer tournament in Ohio. I drove down from Michigan with the coach and his daughter who were casual family friends. I didn’t know them all that well, and I didn’t know anyone else on the team. To my disappointment, I was awkwardly breaking out. Super awkwardly. I had 3 enormous red dots on my face. One on my cheek, one on my forehead, and one on the tip of my nose. I looked like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. I remember holding my hand over my nose when speaking to my weekend teammates because I was humiliated. Of course, like everything else in life, my face healed, the dots disappeared, and my confidence reemerged. But in the moment, I wanted to hide.
It’s exactly how I can feel now, almost 20 years later.
Does acne suck? Of course! But it happens…to everyone!
While the degree to which I feel embarrassed has fortunately softened as I’ve gotten older, the insecurity is still there. Even though I love how I look and am quite confident in my skin.
We don’t want imperfections. We want flawless. But that is almost never attainable. Even the most aesthetically pleasing people in the world have physical blemishes. A pimple, a scar, a rash–something here or there.
My dog, the most adorable little pug you’ve ever seen, is what I call cute ugly. If she was a human, I’m quite certain she’d too judge her “imperfections” as such. Those little moles on her face that I find incredibly cute, she’d probably hate them. But as a dog, she never has judged her appearance. She is who she is, and the negative thoughts humans develop about ourselves don’t seem to be part of her dog’s psyche.
And yet, knowing imperfections is human and natural, it’s still a tough thing: embracing that which we judge as ugly.
But if wasn’t my skin, it could be the way my ass is shaped, or how I walk, or how my voice sounds, or how my hair is too curly, or how I grow a mustache. I’ve heard them all, from friends and strangers, women and men. We point them out on ourselves and to others.
Everyone has something. It affects our moods but it also shows us there are certain things we can’t control. And in that we learn to let go and loosen the fuck up.
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