For as long as I can remember I have been incredibly anxious about my skin. In particular the way my face looked.
I have freckles - all over my face. Over the last few years I have grown to accept them, and in more recent times, love them (even when they change colour and glow bright when I've been in the sun).
Growing up people made fun of them. Which essentially shouldn't have mattered. However combining that with other image issues, depression and anxiety, it really did become an internal battle for me. I became so overly aware of them that I was never at ease.
So I turned to makeup. I used concealer... but I'd use that stuff like it was foundation. Then I'd chuck the foundation on top. And finish that with a coat of powder. I wore heavy make-up daily from about the age of 15. My skin could barely breathe, it made me sweaty faced, and it meant breakouts. Lots and lots of breakouts, which in my eyes meant more covering up to be done.
On school camps I would make sure I woke up earlier and put "my-face" on so nobody saw my freckles. When someone would sleep over, or in later relationships, this same overly anxious and obsessive pattern was present and this constant panic of making sure I woke up before the other person became truly crippling. I barely had a decent sleep, I constantly felt like I was ashamed of myself, and it reinforced this idea to me over and over again that I was not pretty unless of x, y, and z.
I refused to go swimming (for this reason as well as body image issues), but if I had to I would wear water proof make-up or skin coloured zinc. I even got a fringe at one stage to cover my forehead (where my freckles were most so it meant one less area to fret over). By doing this I held myself back from experience and enjoying so many different moments.
I carried make-up with me everywhere and a compact mirror to reapply regularly because I was so afraid of being seen as the "ugly-one" or the "spotty-one" as I was so often teased with at school (this then turned to being called "clay-face" from so much make-up by a few particular people). Also, there was never really any images of people with freckles in magazines, or beauty campaigns, and this solidified this idea in my head that "I was ugly." The weird thing was though that everyone else that had freckles around me, I saw them as being so beautiful and pretty and unique, but when it came to my liking my own freckles I had beaten my self up so much that I simply couldn't see past them and see the person I was underneath.
I tried as many whitening creams as I could, I would even pick at a cut on my face to encourage scarring so that area was "freckle-free" and I constantly researched about facial peels, laser and other surgical cosmetic options that I dreamed of having when I reached an age when I would be allowed (and be able to afford) to make my skin 'clear.'
I think I'm painting the picture for you here. Serious image anxiety. Every single day. For about 8 years. This may seem extreme to you and absolutely over the top if you haven't experienced something similar you may feel like strangling 15-23 year old me and saying "stop being so damn silly." And I totally understand you. Basically I want to hug the old me and tell her that she is perfect just the way she is and that she does not need to change what she looks to be accepted... but we go through these issues in order to grow and learn, so hang tight, I do sort my shit out (which you'll see by the end of this blog).
I never really thought there was anything incorrect in my way of thinking because I had become so obsessed with this way of thinking that I had made it 'my truth.'
Over the last few years something amazing happened. I began to lessen (and finally release) my attachment to my need for make-up and finally began to feel comfortable. I finally had a strong loving relationship, and someone who made (& makes) me feel incredibly loved and beautiful. I had never really felt as though I was good enough or pretty enough or worthy enough in the past but over time and with incredible patience of my partner I had unconsciously let this wall down (that wall being not needing to hide myself behind make-up). After hearing daily that I was beautiful (whilst getting incredibly shy and all like "erhrhhh no I'm not"), that I was loved, and that I was a good person, I finally felt as though I didn't need to change or be anybody else. I finally began to believe what I was hearing.
Through daily unconditional love, hard work, and constant acceptance and repeated positivity I began to absorb these values and began applying unconditionally love and acceptance towards myself and others (although I'm still smoothing a few things out and working through them intensely in Bali).
Changing my negative though patterns didn't happen over night because I had them so deeply ingrained in my way of thinking that it took quite a while to work through, but by putting in the effort and facing the things I was avoiding, actively working towards loving myself, and facing any internal demons I got to a stage of self love and acceptance and no more holding myself back (ps if any of this resonates with you or you need to work though some self-love and acceptance issues as well as getting to learn so much about food and healthy living, let me guide you here.)
Currently I'm sitting here spotty skinned, mascara free, wearing nothing on my face except coconut oil. And I feel pretty damn content and confident with that.
So what's the point of the story here? Well you are fricking amazing, beautiful, and perfect just the way you are. And if you feel any different to that, definitely face it and work on it - because you deserve to live a life that you enjoy and can gain the most out of.
With Love and Light,
Cat ElliottSuggest a correction