Without a doubt, 2017/2018 combined has been a *very* transformative time for me. My boyfriend and I of essentially 5 years cut ties, I picked up and moved cross country… and then picked up and moved cross-globally (twice) in a matter of 6 months. I moved back in with my parents at 26-years-old (reality check) and took a job as a nanny (also, reality check). However, I’d have to say the cherry-on-top to this unpredictable ride of a year has been my struggle with a stubborn, self-confidence busting case of adult acne.
Breaking through this particular glass ceiling of persistent pimples has single-handedly been the most exhausting, heartwrenching, painstaking, embarrassing (…shall I go on?) process I’ve had to endure throughout this entire year. Call it vain, call it narcissistic, call it whatever you want, but I am telling you…when you wake up and look in the mirror every morning for 6+ months and hardly recognize yourself anymore, you’ll know why I chose those describing words.
Mid-October of 2017 marks the beginning of what I’m officially dubbing “the year of the ultimate breakout”. By December that same year, I was studded (literally) with cystic acne like never before. I was living and volunteering in Hanoi, Vietnam at the time and was due to go back home to the states to celebrate Christmas and visit with those I hadn’t seen in nearly a year. Although I was excited to get back to the loving arms of my family and friends and to share with them the many stories of my travels, I seriously struggled with the fact that I’d be returning, as what I thought, unrecognizable.
This tragically distorted view of myself lead me to dive head first into research on cultivating more self-love and acceptance–both things I’ve struggled with for years. Coming to terms with the fact that “honest-to-goodness” beauty isn’t just skin-deep has been a battle for me for as long as I can remember. What I find to be the most ironic thing about this all is that I’ve always considered myself to be a very accepting, non-judgmental person. However, not of myself…no, no, no. When it came to accepting myself–flaws and all–I could (almost) never do it.
The past 5 months have taught me so much about embracing my own imperfections, and how to become more okay with them. It’s also taught me just how tight the noose is around unrealistic expectations that Western society has set around beauty for women.
After months and months of research, trial and error, diet changes, and pretty much total agony, I decided to seek medical help after 4 weeks of being back stateside. I was tired of feeling like an alien in my own body. However, this deep-dive research also led me to find a plethora of resources and support involving young women who are experiencing or have experienced the same thing. And it got me thinking… man, did it get me thinking.