Monday, August 18, 2008

The Uncovered Truth

I have grown up thinking I was unattractive and homely, not because anyone called me names or because I was forced to wear clearance items from Roses but because the person I saw in the mirror was someone who let me down. My mothers disappearance before my adolescent years didn't help, but my lack of beauty skills isn't really her fault it's just another thing I can blame on her because the list isn't long enough. But one thing about myself that has always bothered me, more than anyone could know, is my acne.

When I was in sixth grade I started to 'break out' and I thought that this was just one of those growing pains that everyone had to live with. Well, not everyone does and mine quickly seemed to worsen. By ninth grade I was ashamed to have my picture taken and it really started to affect my self esteem, not that I really had any to begin with. All the pictures I have from high school my face is covered with acne. I used to look at pictures of my girlfriends in pictures with me and wish that my face would clear up, even just a little.

Make-up, when applied, just made it worse and it made it look as though I was trying to hide the blemishes and doing a really bad job. Cleansers were often to rough leaving my face looking like a battlefield. I got use to the idea that I couldn't escape the acne and hoped that as I reached 18 my face would clear up.

It didn't.

It only got worse as more blemishes appeared and the old blemishes remained in the forms of red blotches and scars. When I was in college I tried a few stronger products, such as ProActiv, Clinique facial cleaning system and other products and approaches suggested by friends, nothing seemed to work.

The acne was bothersome in more ways than one and it often left me feeling self conscience and insecure but there was little I could do about it but go about my life. Several times however, over the course of the past few years I have endured some pretty painful comments over the condition. I remember when I was 15 my grandfather asked me what was wrong with my face. Another time I had a father of a child at a daycare I was working at ask me if I had ever tried anything on my acne because his wife did Mary Kay or Avon or something. I was shocked and embarrassed for both of us.

When I was pregnant my face only got worse. Having endured acne for as long as I had it no longer really bothered me, even though I still don't like to have my picture taken because of it. When I was seven months pregnant a close friend of mine begged me to come to her Mary Kay party. I told her that I really hated those things but she begged so much I finally agreed.

The 'party' was with a bunch of beautiful girls who in my opinion don't need Mary Kay's help to begin with and I instantly became the Mary Kay representative's charity case. She kept offering me samples and asking me if I had ever used any acne products and what I normally did to clean my face. It was almost a year ago and I have blocked most of the occasion from my mind but I remember two things clearly. First, I am not sure if I have ever felt more embarrassed and insulted and secondly, I left before the party was over because I was hurt and couldn't stand the way I was being treated.

Since the twins birth however something changed. My cycle is still absent but my face is a little clearer. I don't have anywhere near as many breakouts as before. I still have occasional breakouts and my face is still red from years of acne but when I wear make-up it evens the color and it doesn't look as though I am trying to hide anything. Several people have commented that my skin looks clearer but I find that I am still very self conscience about the matter and I don't like having my picture taken except with the children and as ridiculous as this sounds, I don't even like to look in the mirror because I hate the way I look.

Today, our Mary Kay representative called to speak with me. I was shocked she had my number and thought instantly that the recession must be hitting her business hard because I had no idea why she would be calling me. I told her I was busy with my children and she offered to call back later. I didn't want to be rude but I found her to be rude both today and at the party a year ago and didn't feel like there was any reason for her to call back, but being weak and afraid to hurt her feelings I told her that was fine. I don't know what it would be like to have clear skin but if I had it I wouldn't be hiding behind a bunch of expensive overly marked up make up.

When she called back a few hours later and I answered I wasn't as friendly. She asked if I was busy and I was busy with my sister and nephew here baking cookies. She told me that when we met last year at the girl's house (whose name she couldn't remember for either conversation) I was interested in their products and she would really like to come by and work with me one on one. I don't know where she got my number or the idea that I was interested in Mary Kay but I am not. Her tone coupled with a memory of that fine party a year ago made me tell her that I wasn't interested. Not even in our acne products, she said.

NO, not even in your acne products, I said and I hung up.

Some of us are flawed and we are aware of it. We don't need it brought up as though we may be ignorant to our physical shortcomings. I want to be a bigger, better person and say that her call didn't leave me in a funk but it did. I can live with being imperfect and far from beautiful, why can't other people. Why are we so hung up on outward appearances? If I wear sweats and no make up and hair that is boring and straight why does it seem to offend other people. Do these people realize (NO) that their words are hurtful and degrading?

Apparently not.

-june