I hope you’re having a relaxing Sunday!
Writing on this blog has become such a therapeutic experience for me, as it has allowed me to share a lot of personal information with you and thus enabled me to get a lot of things off my chest. Plus, the support I’ve had for doing this has been incredible, so I want to thank everyone who has read my ramblings, reached out and generally supported Feelings of a Fake Adult so far! So, continuing with the theme of sharing details about my personal thoughts and feelings, today I want to talk insecurities. We all have our own insecurities, which a lot of us hide, pretend don’t exist and feel alone in. I’m certainly one of those people. I’ve been dealing with my biggest insecurity since I was about fourteen years old, and it dawned on me that if I wrote about it on here it might be a bit of an emotional release for me, and may be something others can relate to and feel less alone in having.
So, it would probably help to start by telling you what my biggest insecurity is, right? My biggest insecurity is my skin. I’ve had moderate acne since I was a teenager, and this is something that very much still bothers me today. That’s eight years of struggling to look in the mirror, which is a pretty crazy realisation. Sure, I know there are far worse things to feel insecure about, but unfortunately society conditions us to care about trivial matters such as having the perfect face, so it can be awful to feel like you’re not as pretty or conventionally good looking as other people. You’re told not to compare yourself to others, but social media makes it very easy to feel like you aren’t living up to society’s ridiculous standards.
As I’ve said, the spots started popping up when I was about fourteen years old. I hated it. I thought my face was absolutely disgusting. I looked like I had permanent chicken pox. So of course, being an insecure teenager trying to fit in with everyone else, I had to figure out how to hide what made me look different. Those who have known me for a long time probably can’t remember me not having a fringe. I guess it has become my signature look. When I was in my early teens fringes became all the rage, and I thought, why not try and look trendy and in turn also cover up all the spots which have camped out on my forehead. So from then on, I’ve always used my hair to hide the zits, and now I don’t know how I’d look without one. Around the same time I also started wearing make-up. I discovered this was the only way I could feel okay in myself, and so it became a necessity to wear it. Foundation and makeup powder became my mask. I absolutely hate the mornings when I don’t have my face on yet. To this day I still slightly worry that my girlfriend won’t fancy me anymore because of how I look, despite her constant reassurance. I used to dread sleeping over at friends’ houses during high school because I didn’t want them to be scared off by the disgusting creature crawling out of its sleeping bag. I know I’m being horrible to myself with these kind of descriptions, but I genuinely thought people would judge me and not want to be friends with me anymore once they took a glance of my true form. I’ve not really had many comments on my skin to be fair, except for one time where a friend told me his cousin had called me a ‘spotty monster.’ You never forget those sort of comments. They make you feel like a pile of shit.
I’m constantly conscious of how I look. If I’m having a day where I feel crap about my skin I will avoid taking or being in any photos no matter what. When I do look at photos of myself the first thing I’ll do is zoom in on my skin. Does it look red and bumpy? Do I look like a leopard with a rash? At work, if I’m feeling self-conscious I’ll keep a hand near or resting on my face when I’m sitting at my desk in order to block out a full view of my skin to whoever is sitting on my worst side that day. Reading that back I realise just how much I change my behaviour and focus attention on how my face looks, but when it affects you as much as it does for me, you just learn to accept it as the norm and put up with it.
I’ve been to the doctors many times for my issues. I’ve tried various creams and tablets. Not many of the creams worked, and the trouble is I’m terrible at sticking to routines. I also have problems taking tablets but more on that another time. It took a few years, but eventually I finally found a cream that works for me! It’s called ‘Duac’, and contains clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide which works at destroying acne causing bacteria on your face (This post is sadly not sponsored by Duac, I just think it’s great haha). So if you have acne problems like me and not found anything that works for you, it may be worth asking your doctor if it’s something you could try, because I find that it works super well for me.
I use it once every night, and it seems to keep the spots at bay (apart from when it’s *that* time of the month, then they all just pop up on my chin regardless, damn hormones). I started taking this cream again this year when my skin got worse; I’d hoped as I got older I would grow out of my acne issues, but unfortunately this hasn’t been the case yet! The cream really has helped a lot with both my skin and self confidence, to the point that I can now very occasionally go out to the shops without any makeup on, and for me that’s a very big deal. I do have a lot of scarring on my face left over from years of picking at myself because I hated seeing the many giant whiteheads and just wanted them to go away ASAP. Perhaps I will go back to the doctors and see if anything can be done about my scars, but it isn’t the biggest issue right now. The positive thing is that I’m certainly not as self-conscious as I was as a teenager.
Things are gradually improving but I still wish I was happier in my own skin. It shouldn’t be a big deal having a few spots. But in an age where 99% of people you see in the media have perfect skin, where on the cover of magazines every inch their face and body has been airbrushed to erase any trace of blemish or imperfection, it’s no wonder the rest of us feel so shit about the way we look. This idea of ‘perfection’ does seem to be being challenged gradually more and more though. I particularly admire the work of actress and activist, Jameela Jamil, who refuses to let any professional photos of herself be airbrushed, allowing us to see her natural beauty, scars and stretchmarks galore. I believe that more people in the public eye need to follow this example, and maybe then we can have more people feeling comfortable in their own skin. The effect of retouched photos can certainly have a damaging effect to the point that people develop serious eating disorders or desire cosmetic surgery which they certainly don’t need.
This post ended on a bit of a serious note, but we all need to work on finding ways to love ourselves a bit more. It’s important to remember that the people who matter won’t care about your ‘imperfections.’ If anything, your imperfections will just add to the list of reasons why they do love and care for you, because they’re a part of the amazing person you are. I need to remind myself of this too sometimes.
Thanks for reading!