We live in a superficial world – eyebrows fleeked, lips lined, teeth bleached, faces beat, bootys clapping, waists hiding, abs flexing and wallets sweating. We are served and fed a lie! The media is the greatest salesman there ever was and we continuously buy into these ideas that we need to be “socially acceptable” – that is a topic I will address solely, in another blog at a later stage, but right now, I want to share my story on how I overcame mild acne.
Since I was eight years old, I’ve been a swimmer, it started out at an inter-schools level which eventually progressed into an international level. During my swimming years my skin stayed sun kissed and blemish free – I was a silky smooth young lad who never even fathomed the idea of having bad skin. Of course I grew older and begun to meet more and more people, many of whom had skin problems ranging from the occasional pop-up pimple to the hostile facial take-over pimples and it never crossed my mind that I might have the same skin issues one day.
Even at the age of twelve when the first terrifying signs of puberty hit me like a G-wagon travelling at 640 km/h my face rarely had pimples. After several months of my voice sounding like someones first violin practice and then finally giving up my voice box decided it would remain as the confused prepubescent voice while the rest of me grew up – still though, I had no breakouts of pimples which made me feel like a badass. After a year went by and the abs and pecks were delivered after much time spent working out and swimming I began to feel untouchable – yes I had the occasional hormonal breakout, but they cleared up shortly after and so I was pretty much clear faced most of the time. My mom purchased many tea-tree based products which I do think helped regulate naturally smooth skin. I do recall how many classmates of mine had terrible skin conditions that left them feeling anxious and less confident – I of course could not relate wholeheartedly.
2011 was my first year at high school and I was beginning to witness what puberty really looked like – not on myself of course, but on the other more unfortunate teens. My swimming career elevated and I was spending no less than three hours in the pool a day. Life was pimple free until my mom and I moved to Limpopo South Africa. We had to adjust to a completely new climate – which was basically bipolar and could never decide if it would rain on us or scorch our scalps and singe our eyebrows. After we had moved to our new home I stopped swimming to focus all my time on my education. Little did I know that my clear skin was thanks to the chlorine and not the supposed “good skin genes”.
After 5 weeks of not being in the pool, my face turned into a fresco of reds and pinks. Even my cat and dog didn’t recognize me – if there ever were a white chocolate Lunch Bar I would’ve looked like it. I had completely transformed within a matter of days. I looked like one of those white chocolate and strawberry Heaven ice-creams. Goodbye clear blemish free skin, hello mild acne. I remember how dreadfully self-conscious I felt, I didn’t want to go to school – looks are so incredibly important when you’re in high school – LMAO – they still are! I even contemplated working the famous Nelly plaster or in my case plasters to try and cover up the hideous sight.
I suppose it wasn’t that bad, because only two people ever ridiculed me – to my pimply face that is. It was all self inflicted, I loathed my reflection and longed for a miracle – my fairy godmother was on strike, still is. I became anti-social and withdrew from all interactions outside of school. I basically shunned myself from society because I didn’t see myself as being socially acceptable – due to what I saw on Instagram on a daily basis. I would see the contoured and blended selfies, the white light selfies, the air brushed selfies and so on, and it all became a reality to me. I began to believe that what I was seeing was the truth, I believed that it was real and so I thought that it was the norm and should be the norm. I wanted to start a Vine channel and make people laugh in six seconds, but I never truly got round to doing it because I hated watching my pimply face and so I would just delete them – now I regret being so self-conscious.
After seeking medical treatment which I rendered useless after four months I lost all hope and just didn’t give a continental anymore. If I was meant to be scared for life by the ongoing traumatic experience I would just have to deal with it. Goodness I felt so sympathetic for myself!
I started to think about me as a person and who it was that I wanted to be – a bitter reclusive being or an outgoing confident person. It took some time but I chose to be the outgoing confident person, I dug deep into my being and discovered that I had so much other than looks to give – I was a person with depth to my knowledge and some serious passion that I wanted to share. So I blossomed and bloomed into a strong minded being and channeled my confidence into all that I did and slowly it was like all the people around me started noticing me as a human with emotions and not a 2D picture. As my attitude started to change so did my appearance.
About a year ago my skin began to clear up, it left minimal scarring – which only I notice apparently. I still get the occasional pimple from an oily meal or sweet drink.I live on green tea and use a bentonite clay mask every three of four nights. Sometimes I feel like a prisoner because of what I forbid myself to eat, but I simply remember what I feel like when I have clear skin and it keeps me motivated.
I know now that I am attractive, I may not be a super model, but I am good looking in my own unique way and I do not need any validation from social media. I am confident and as I grow so will my confidence. I’ve learnt that pimples are powerless. Work your blemished and bumps, don’t hide yourself from the world because you think you’re better off unseen. Be your confident happy self and your beauty will naturally shine through.