Braving the day without a stitch of make up on my face. That was today’s first. I tried it last week, but just as I started out the door I chickened out and came back in the house to apply my face. I just couldn’t do it.
Honestly, I choose to do it this day because it was a snow day with students out of school. You see, middle schoolers can be brutally honest. They can be the most wonderful, loving, kind, compassionate people, but they can also be the opposite of all those attributes. (But can’t we all?) I knew last week I would have to face more than 100 students in the course of my day totally and completely exposed. It was way too vulnerable. It was panic-attack inducing. And that’s just the 12 through 14 year olds. Don’t even get me started on the idea of facing (pardon the pun) parents and coworkers. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it.
It may sound melodramatic, but I have a lot of hang ups when it comes to my skin. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I had horrible acne when I was younger. We’re not talking about your run of the mill occasional blackhead. Oh no. Cystic acne is what one dermatologist called it; nodulacystic acne was another doctor’s term; acne vulgaris was another. And now, as an adult….I contend with rosacea/adult acne.
I began seeing a dermatologist when I was just 11 years old. I continued having seen 3 different specialists by the time I was 22 and finally found a dermatologist who wanted to give accutane a try. It was a wonder drug for me….although it was pretty horrible the 5 months I took it. I began occasionally wearing concealer and foundation when I was 10 years old. My mother, knowing how embarrassed I was, would kindly and patiently cover my spots in the morning before school when it was particularly bad.
It wasn’t just that it was ugly. I could have lived with the appearance, but it was painful. The cysts and nodules I developed were not limited to my face. Pretty much anywhere I have skin I’ve had an outbreak. They were inflammed, red, swollen, sensitive, painful.
I realize in the grand scheme of things, the way you look is of little importance. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize this. However, comments from others can leave scars on a psyche just as deep as the scars on my skin.
Today, I faced that fear. I know….it’s not quite the same as braving a classroom full of students, but it was still a pretty big step. Although it was a snow day, I did not stay at home. I took D to daycare, picked up some breakfast at a drive-thru, went to work for a little while, drove into town to pick up some snow day crafts (a first to come later in the week….), and then back to daycare to pick up the little one.
As I walked the aisles of Michael’s craft store, I kept wondering if people were looking at me. My eyes did not want to meet the eyes of others. I felt so vulnerable and …. exposed. I might as well have been naked I felt so self-conscious. And then I realized….nobody was looking at me. They were looking for paint, flowers, scrapbook supplies, whatever, but they were not looking at me.
And then on the way home my sweet son, E, and I began talking about my firsts. He asked me what today’s first was. I told him spend a day without makeup. And then, as if the words were given to him directly from the lips of angels, he said, “Really, I didn’t know you weren’t wearing makeup. You look the same. You’re lucky. You don’t even need makeup like other ladies.” Seriously. It sounds like a freaking Hallmark made for tv movie, but it really happened like that. Obviously, for today I have a favorite son. You know who it is.