I'm sure if you have been following me for a while on the blog or on social media, then you know that I had a long, 15-year struggle with acne. From the age of 11 on to adulthood, I had moderate acne. It wasn’t cystic or severe, but due to my need to pop my pimples to try to quickly remove the damn things, I unknowingly created acne scars that were even more impossible to get rid of than the acne itself. I piled on the makeup, and I tried all the over-the counter remedies that were supposed to help (they didn't). I stayed up on weekends reading the latest DIY beauty articles in Seventeen magazine and Essence (a sweet reminder that God gives you sneak peeks into your gifts). The DIY's always help more than the over-the-counter crap that I wasted my allowance, and later my summer job paychecks on, but nothing got rid of it! And it seemed that my acne was so much more visible than the other girls my age. They all looked pretty to me, and I looked a hot damn mess!
Now, don't get me wrong, I knew that I was not the only girl who had breakouts and was dealing with insecurities at the time, but you see, I also have had a pretty large burn mark and skin graft on the entire right side of my face since I was around 4 months old (long story...we'll chat later Beauties) and my acne only MAGNIFIED the fact that my face wasn't "perfect". I worried that boys didn't talk to me for fear of what their friends would say about them talking to the pimple-faced, scar-faced girl in class. I never had the confidence to get up in front of class, although I was always a star student and was often asked to share my works with my peers. I never tried out for dance teams or sports teams because, god-forbid I have to be seen by a huge arena of people staring at me as a sweated and my pimples bulged and pulsed from my face and my scar blended in with the sweat like river running down the side of my forehead.
No, I was safer hidden. I hid in plain sight. Acne would leave after I left high school, at least that's what I believed at the time. Until then, I would wait patiently for the day acne would pack its bags, and confidence would come knocking at my door. Once I graduated high school, the horror of ugliness, and the pain of comparison would leave, and I would finally get to be.... well, normal.
It's safe to say that I was in for a rude awakening when I graduated and the only thing that left was me from my mother's house, off to attempt college. It was also an attempt at changing my approach to how I felt about myself. I still had acne, but I had had a few boyfriends in high school, and that gave me a small boost of confidence to use as a stepping stool to higher self-esteem. I still compared myself to the other girls, now older and curvier, and much more mature looking than I was (or at least it seemed that way to me). I compared, but I also saw that they themselves were comparing.
They were comparing themselves to each other, to the girls on television, to Beyonce (because, like who doesn’t, right?), comparing themselves to even ME! The shock, the horror! The thought that anyone would compare themselves to me, was beyond my wildest imagination. But it happened one day. I was with my best friend at a college step show. I had learned to compensate for my facial issues by showing off other, more attractive assets (meaning I was tall, chocolate, skinny and had a nice rear end at 18 and I wore clothes that made sure you weren't missing any of those positive points. Looking back, this was sad, tragic, and absolutely not the way to handle my low self-esteem, but it happens to the best of us
A girl from another school, who was obviously an upperclassman, walked past me, and then turned around quickly to look at me again. I braced myself for her to tell me that I was ugly, or to ask 'What happened to your face?' (as rude folks often asked me throughout my life about my facial scar). But she didn't. She stared a little bit longer, and then said "You are REALLY pretty!".
Well, I just about broke down in shock, but somehow I got myself together to say "Thank you". That was the day I looked at myself, and other women differently. It was the day I found out that we are all flawed in some way, but beauty can always be found if you look for it. I still worked to get my face clear from acne, and of course I found a solution, but not until 9 years later. I became more comfortable with my facial scar and renamed it to my 'beauty mark'. I also decided, from that day on, I was going to look at the beauty in every woman, and TELL HER about it. If one simple compliment made me feel that much better about myself, imagine what I could do by telling women they were beautiful every chance that I got. Could I get them to believe me? Would they believe me? Would they believe in the beauty within themselves?
I’d like to think that although I offer solutions for those struggling with acne, I also hope that I provide confidence for women who may have lost theirs along their journey, by reminding them in social media posts, by the way I speak to them, and by my emails, that they are flawless!
How has acne affected you? How have you discovered your self through it? Have you learned to accept yourself flaws and all? TAG @mybutterbar on social media and #MyFlawlessBeauty
Buy My Flawless Facial System: