I started getting pimples when I was in Primary School; around the age of 10. Most of what I remember from that time was that being spotty was not cool and being one of the only girls with a spotty face was even lamer.
I recall a boy in my class, who occasionally got big pimples saying he used needles to pop them! So… I too started using needles on my face. All I had access to were sewing needles and more often than not, they weren’t the thinnest. I know, I know; it was bad – and painful too, but I did it.
One could ask why I took the advice of a prepubescent boy not much older or smarter than myself, but I suppose I felt I lacked the luxury of supportive parents and friends.
So for a while I had this routine of piercing and probing at my skin which became habitual; addictive? YES. Another facet of my developing self-harm tendencies? Also YES. Inflicting pain on myself has kinda always been my ‘go-to’ when I feel consumed with depressive thoughts. I’ve never really harmed myself in the more ‘conventional’ ways like drugs or slitting wrists. No, I’ve always managed to find ways though unwittingly, to take my pain out on my body, both physically and mentally.
So here we are… Skin: A Diary of Self-harm.
I’ve always been very introspective and contemplative to varying degrees. I’m both an over-thinker and a doer! my thoughts on topics can stretch for miles and miles in my mind but I’m someone who prefers action to inertia. When I think about it, a lot of my actions/decisions have been a response to fear and lack of control. I want things to move forward and to move fast! My skin and equally my mind and spirit are just collateral damage on my journey here.
Now I’m sure we all know to some extent how self-worth and esteem are affected by how we and others perceive ourselves. So our physicality has significance that way; What we look like impacts a lot of things. Skin is this huge organ we possess, but most of us don’t look at it as such; it can be something we disregard and take for granted, like how a smoker or binge eater might be indifferent to the health of their internal organs. It can also be something we value, kinda like currency; its worth can bring joy. Which leads me onto Beauty; our concept and ideals of it in our society.
When it comes to beauty and skin, I’m sure we can all agree that what we define as beautiful in societies across the globe is based on ignorance and superficiality, it’s skin-deep, basically, we live in a visual world where beauty is based on what we can see. If we focus on western ideals, beauty has historically been dictated by men. Rennaissance artists painted people simply as a result of their scholar, ambition and developing skills but art is a cultural device and people evolve with culture. The ‘perfect’ depictions in these paintings showcased unattainable beauty ideals for most people. Still, culture dictates lives and people from that period like today, resort to measures to achieve an ideal – ranging from harmless treatments to the dangerously toxic. Also, there is still a general belief that one’s physical appearance reflects beauty on the inside.
Clear, undamaged skin is a beauty ideal – it’s owner worthy of admiration. So it goes without saying, blemishes and damaged skin is the opposite of beauty, so shouldn’t be admired or sought after. There are other ideals, like skin tone and the fairness of it, but let’s talk about Acne and Beauty first and why admiration is what we seek.
We all want to be seen; want to be heard
Attention fuels our egos sure, but the significance of admiration are those feel-good hormones; we all just wanna feel good. Dopamine, serotonin, compliments – It’s all about feeling good on the inside. On the flip side, people with acne and blemishes like myself are may be doomed to have more of them feel bad/ stress hormones – cortisol… and that sucks!
So here’s a little intro to my Skin: a Diary of…
Do let me know if you want me to continue… The aim being it will evolve from A Diary of Self-harm to Self-love.
Thanks for reading.
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