There are mornings I'm afraid to look at myself in the mirror because I expect my 15-year-old self looking back at me.
Or my 18-year-old self.
Even my 22-year-old self.
You see, ever since I was in middle school, I've struggled with my skin and being comfortable in it. The red bumps that took over my face and sometimes my back became all too familiar. My parents never stopped making suggestions on how to make them go away but it never helped.
It was bad enough that for the longest time, I didn't know the word 'acne'. With English as my second language, I learned about the typical teenager woes through the books I read.
It wasn't until I was in high school that it really started becoming an issue for me. I was gaining weight, and as a Middle Eastern, I tend to be a little on the hairy side. Add pimples to that equation and all I needed were braces to make me a complete teenager nightmare.
I began to identify myself by my acne. There were good days, bad days and days no amount of make-up could ever make it feel OK. I was ashamed to wear tank-tops in the summer because of my acne.
I felt as if the entire world was watching with disgust.
My senior year in high school, I began wearing make-up on a regular basis, not even realizing it was making it worse.
At 20, I even took birth control just hoping it would make it go away. I only lasted 3 months before I gave up.
I was doomed.
I would be a 30-year-old with the face of a 15-year-old. I would get carded for all the wrong reasons and I would never find love.
Today, I can look at myself in the mirror without disgust.
My skin is smooth to the touch, although the evidence of my pimple-popping days remain. I can walk out of the house without wearing foundation and be confident.
I wish I could outline a cure here. I did go to a dermatologist but the treatment he gave me didn't make much of a difference. I don't know when my body decided to stop torturing me.
Last summer, I put on a dress and when I went to look in the mirror, I noticed something.
"Where did all my bacne go?" I actually mumbled that out loud.
My skin was clear. On its own.
There are days when a pimple will escape and poke its head out of my skin. That familiar bump will always remind me of the hopeless, insecure girl who would be proud of me today.
We did it, little girl.
We grew up and became beautiful all on our own.
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