A juicy, throbbing pimple is gracing my left cheek. It’s such a presence in my life that I want to acknowledge it to everyone around me. “Yes, I know, I have a juicy, throbbing pimple gracing my left cheek. What’s new with you?”
Instead, I have to walk around with an exclamation point painted on my face and pretend everything is normal, even when it feels like I’m wearing a fake mustache at a cocktail party.
My friend in high school came to school with a similar dilemma and handled it perfectly: “Hi! Have you met my friend Bob?” I want to emulate that brand of self-confidence, but the only things I can stand to do take place in solitude. I poke it in the mirror before bedtime and will it away. I haphazardly slap on some Proactive that my aunt gave me in a bout of well-meaning generosity. I sit in the bathtub and wait for the steam to puncture the offending pepperoni.
It brings me back to high school, when I walked around with thin, pockmarked skin, terrified that someone would point at me and laugh. Even with friends, good grades, and a loving family, my outsides ruled my life.
Your skin is your wrapping paper. It’s what people see before anything else. When there’s a blemish outside, it feels like a blemish inside. It feels like a mark on your soul.
But what can I do? No amount of popping, pinching, or crying can change it. My face is rebelling. I wish it wouldn’t—I really wish it wouldn’t—but can I blame it? Can I blame my face for puckering up and turning red? That seems like a really big waste of time.
My pimply face is what it is—a rebel, a big bummer, and a challenge. Can I arrive in my life with a sense of humor and enough confidence to introduce my messed-up face as a part of me? “Hi, have you met me? I’m Sarah, and here’s my face, just like this. Even with a juicy, throbbing pimple gracing my left cheek.” I hope so, and I hope you can, too.