Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scars Go Deeper Than You Think

I am a girl with prominent acne scars and they make me feel unpretty.

I've never written that, or even said it aloud before, but the fact remains that it's still truth. They were right; truth hurts.

I would suppose it started when puberty did, around 11 years ago when Mother Nature went all "I've Got The Golden Ticket" and dropped Aunt Flo by for her first of many visits. Until that point I'd seen teen aged girls with acne and I thought it was like on TV, just make up that they could take off at any time they wanted to. That was until I started getting pimples of my own.

I was so self-conscious and always trying to assimilate to new surroundings as a shy girl that acne was the last thing I wanted to happen, and so it began. It was a cycle; the pimples would come and I'd feel ashamed, I'd pop, squeeze, tease, poke and prod them until they popped, I'd feel ashamed, they'd scab, the rough patches would drive me crazy with how they'd never just smooth over and go away so I'd pick, only to make huge scars, which made me more ashamed. Rinse, repeat.

It never occurred to me that it was a stress reaction until recently when I noticed I was doing it again (that and gaining weight). I don't think I know how to un-stress; my reaction to stress is to get depressed which, as you can guess, really doesn't help the situation at all, but rather perpetuates it.

I try to hide it; I'm the peppy, friendly girl. I've got the headful of confident curls and brains, an easy smile and a soft voice that speaks strong words but... But the sides of my bath tub should be sponsored by Bath & Body Works in conjunction with SoftSoap. My sink looks like a dermatologist's spread with creams, ointments, treatments, astringents, scrubs and cleaners. And I stand in the middle of it all holding a make-up brush inches from my face.

I try not to be ashamed, and I try to feel prettier. I try to see past the scars into the person. I want to will myself not to hide who I am, my flaws behind CoverGirl's mask of pressed powder and feel okay about it. Other people keep their scars and insecurities inside, why can't I? And with a decided flick of the wrist, I tell myself I'll stop wearing make-up tomorrow. Or Saturday. Two weeks. Until. Maybe.

And the funny thing is, even with all the make-up on, even with all the discoloration hidden and smoothed I still feel the same. I still feel as if the world can see that I'm a girl who doesn't handle her stress well, and I take it out on my own face. I wonder what it would take to make me feel confident enough to not be ashamed to say that I get stressed. That I get depressed. That I get lost. But I just turn away and I don't think of it again until I have to face another mirror...

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