Reevaluate, recharge, reinspire

Do what you’re good at.

That has been my greatest advice to those who ask me how they should handle their insecurities. Whether it’s feeling body-conscious. Whether it’s feeling inferior at work. Whether it’s feeling like you’re not good enough in your relationship. Whether you feel like you’re not quick enough, smart enough, pretty enough.

Do what you’re good at.

Lately, that has been my greatest advice to myself.

I’ve been having to remind myself. To do the things I love to do that remind me what I’m good at. The things that send my spirits soaring. To render the insecurities I have obsolete.

Remember that acne problem? Well in the span of just a few months, it went from bad to ridiculously, seriously bad.

I tried all I could the all-natural way: I changed my diet, I made sure to exercise and sweat daily. I changed my pillow case and sheets often. I tried tea tree oil, avocado oil, olive oil, castor oil, all the essential oils. I tried LUSH, Shea Moisture, all-organic, chemical-free.

But yesterday, I caved. I finally went to see a doctor. And I didn’t want to. Because I knew exactly what they would prescribe because I’ve been doing this whole acne thing since I was thirteen. I’m now on antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and tretinoin creams. Exactly what I knew they would give me, and exactly what I’d been trying to avoid.

In two days I’ll be marching against Monsanto, protesting against the genetically modified shit they feed us, yet two days ago, I willingly decided to put harsh chemicals in my body, to slather it on my face.

My skin has been bad, and I know it has been. In fact, it’s better than it was a month ago but people are still jarred when they see my face. My doctor walked in the room, and as she looked up at me – sitting there on the crinkly white tissue covering the examination table, legs swinging like a dejected toddler – and she was no exception.

What…happened??

She told me that I should have come to her months ago, and that aside from very active, angry, painful looking acne, beneath she could identify very problematic, permanent scarring appearing all over my face. And I erupted into tears.

If you are a friend reading this, chances are I have likely been avoiding you.

I use the excuse of trying to stay out of the sun (there is truth to that, especially now that I’m on these meds), but really, I’m hiding from you. I’m hiding from everyone. Every time someone stares at my face I want to crawl in a dark hole and not ever come out. My dad said I should just wear a bag on my head and call myself a Lakers fan. (Ha ha ha.)

I also have this lip allergy that I get from time to time. It’s usually the cause of significant stress. I remember every so often I would get it in college, usually around finals time. My lips swell up, and they become very red and irritated. Usually it would last a few weeks, max.

I have the problem again, only this time it’s lasted three months with no signs of stopping.

So let me paint a picture of how I look right now, since I’m not brave enough to post a photo:

Face completely covered. Bumpy, red, inflamed. Dark spots where the scarring is forming. Dry, cracked lips, bleeding at the corners, and a lovely dry red rim around my mouth like I just chugged a whole pitcher of bright red kool-aid.

Attractive, I know.

It’s a no-brainer to me that at this point: all that I’ve been going through is stress-related. And thinking back on it now, it makes sense.

I dismissed this early on as a cause. How could I be stressed? My first three months of traveling my skin was the clearest it had ever been. Why the last month all of a sudden? Why being home now? I don’t feel stressed.

My doctor said that just because I don’t necessarily feel the same kind of stressed as say, finals time, or working on a tight deadline at work, doesn’t mean my body isn’t experiencing it. Many times our body is a lot more stressed than we realize.

My lips physically hurt. My face is always itchy and I can’t scratch or it will cause more scarring, never mind the pain it induces. I feel like I’m allergic to everything. Maybe it’s all in my head. I feel so insecure. I feel lost. I feel unproductive. I feel useless. I feel helpless. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a rut.

Do what you’re good at.

I am a girl. I am human. I have been insecure about many things in life, all throughout it, like everyone else.

A main obsession of mine ever since I was young was what I “lack” in the breast area.

I got made fun of in school all the time in elementary school. “Itty bitty titty committee.” (So original, I know.) I stuffed my bra in junior high, then moved on up to padded bras in high school. I had a guy tell me when I was 16, when I told him that I wanted surgery one day, that I would be a “dime” if I got a boob job.

Do what you’re good at.

Then in college I gained a little weight, but it consumed me. The freshman 20, or whatever they call it. I looked at my fashion magazines and I wasn’t thin enough. I couldn’t even get boobs to offset it? I felt gypped.

I started going on crazy diets. I started working out like crazy, doing two-a-days, cutting meals.

Then one day, I said enough.

I wrote poetry. I painted. And for some reason, getting lost in my art brought me back to reality. And I felt good about myself again. Because as much as stress can be self-induced, so can be the surge of self-confidence.

Do what you’re good at.

Evolve

I know what you’re thinking. That I shouldn’t let my physical appearance deter me from “living my life.” And I get that.

But the truth is, I’ve also become more introverted as of late. Whenever I would take the C.Jung and I. Briggs Myers personality tests in the past, I always maintained a position close to the middle of the two, but I always leaned slightly more extroverted. Now I’m a bit more introverted.

I am enjoying it. It has been a great opportunity for me to just relax. Because when I am with others, I open my whole heart and I give so much of myself, that it gets exhausting. I need time to recharge.

I do get together with friends now, but not as often. And only with the really close ones, the ones who are deserving of my energy. The ones I truly feel safe with. But even then, for the most part, I am happy to use the majority of my time being alone time. It has been a time of introspection.

Do what you’re good at.

I’m going to paint. I’m going to write more poetry. I’m going to practice more yoga. I’m going to meditate instead of stress. I’m going to get stronger. I’m going to work hard. I’m going to keep creating, keep giving, keep scheming. So I can keep traveling.

I’m going to make myself happy.

I’m so happy I’ve matured past my old body-conscious issues. I love my little boobies. I love my body as is. I don’t think I’ve loved it more.

It is strong, I love what it’s capable of doing. It may not be curvaceous. It may not be model-thin. But I love it.

Now, I just need to handle the rest with the same mentality.

The assurance and acceptance I need is going to come from me. And I’m getting a little bit closer each day.

 

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