The first time acne made me cry

This is the title of one of the Youtube videos by Brian Turner. I watched it and it brought tears to my eyes too, not because of the fact that I also have to deal with acne but because it was one of the most honest and heartfelt videos I have ever watched.

Acne is one of the most powerful ways to beat down your self-confidence. I think only people who have gone through it will know the damage it can do to you, especially when you are in your teenage years surrounded by the stupidity of teenagers. If you have passed your teenage years, then you know what I mean.

I had to deal with acne since the beginning of high school, so you can imagine how self-conscious my high school years were. There is nothing worse than people staring at you and your friends and family offering you solutions on how to treat your acne when they really didn’t have a clue why you have acne. I think I wanted to murder the sales people at skincare stores whenever I stopped to browse and they started telling me the acne products I needed to treat my skin when I was still in denial. The worst was when I had diagnosed myself with a skin disease called pityriasis rosea and went to the doctor to confirm it (he did), only to have him shove Oratane (Accutane derivative) down my throat.

It’s difficult to accept that you have acne. And it doesn’t help when people can’t stop themselves from commenting on it. It’s almost as if they don’t see you anymore, only your acne.

The first time acne made me cry was really out of anger. There are only a handful of people who have to deal with severe acne and I was just so frustrated to be one of them. I was tired of all the comments about it, of how people think it’s because of bad hygiene or bad diet. I believe that these are some triggers that make it worse, but definitely not a cause.

I was beaten by acne at one point. Self-confidence was at an all-time low. I just wanted to peel my face off. I tried all sorts of ways to treat my skin, from vinegar to face masks to expensive face washes. I didn’t try any oral drugs though, because I already had a weak immune system so I didn’t want to damage my body with more drugs. Looking back at those years, it was one of the most challenging things I had to deal with.

But having acne allowed me to build my character out of steel. It gnawed at me daily until I was so raw that there was nothing left to gnaw at. And since I was left with nothing, I could only take everything that was thrown at me and build on it. Every day that I looked at the mirror, every time someone made nasty jokes, every suggestion I got for curing my acne was like putting down the foundation for my character building. I no longer needed approval from anyone because I didn’t have any. It didn’t kill me.

It was also through acne that allowed me to see the true nature of human beings. When you are not cool or pretty or outgoing as a teenager, you don’t have much to offer. When you don’t have much to offer, people treat you with their true colors because they don’t need anything from you. That is when you see who is worth the effort. I learnt that there will always be nasty people and compassionate people and it was your choice whom you associated yourself with.

Most triumphant of all though was that I learnt to beat self-consciousness. I began to see who I was without an attractive shell. I began to see value in my character and not my appearance. And when you see the value of who you are, you have already gained confidence.

Brian is an inspiration to me because he was brave enough to share his most vulnerable moments in order to help someone else who might be going through the same thing. I would like to help him share his experience. If anyone is reading this, please be kind to one another. We really only need to spread kindness to make the world a better place.

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