Rebecca Robinson "Popping My Pimple Problems"

 

 

Popping My Pimple Problems

 

"You can take makeup out of school, but you can’t take the girls away from the rest of the world. "

"You can take makeup out of school, but you can’t take the girls away from the rest of the world. "

 


 

In the eighth grade, my best friend and I hosted a Valentine’s Day slumber party and invited our

whole middle school girl squad. I was going to an all girl's school at that time, and just as you

might imagine we all could be a bit jealous, sensitive, and mean. As these clique situations

usually go, not everyone in our group was exactly fond of each other. In fact, my group of “best

friends” happened to include one of the most popular girls in my grade. But don’t be fooled – I

was by no means one of the popular girls. I was awkward and shy, and incredibly insecure. This

one particularly popular girl in my group - let’s call her Taylor for the sake of anonymity - really

disliked me. This was probably due to my serious lack of coolness, in addition to the fact that

she was trying to steal my best friend away from me. So there was a bit of a rivalry between the

two of us, but honestly I just really wanted her to like me.

My best friend invited Taylor to our Valentine’s sleepover. I was exceptionally anxious that

evening and was probably sucking up to her the whole time. We were all lying in our sleeping

bags, gossiping and gabbing about all of our flaws – how some of us still hadn’t got boobs yet,

how fat we thought we were, and every other imperfection a 13-year old girl could imagine

having. We were insecure and this was considered the totally normal conversation. I remember so

clearly how I felt when beautiful, perfect Taylor looked at me and said in front of everyone:

“Becky, you have perfect skin. Like, I’ve never seen you with a zit. You’re so lucky, I wish my skin

was like that.” Was I finally accepted by her? Would all of my insecurity fade away in this

moment? Nope! Definitely not. But it did feel good to be told that by a girl who had otherwise

been so mean to me.

 

 

"We were insecure and this was considered a totally normal conversation."

"We were insecure and this was considered a totally normal conversation."

The school I was attending when I was 13 was really strict. We wore uniforms and weren’t

allowed to wear nail polish or makeup. This was an attempt to make us young girls feel like we

didn’t need to look a certain way to be valuable, intelligent, and powerful. You can take makeup

out of school, but you can’t take the girls away from the rest of the world. All of us were still

very self-conscious and vulnerable to media messages. However, at this point my pre-

pubescent skin really was perfect, as Taylor pointed out. I had never needed to wear makeup or

worry about my face.

A lot of things changed when I started high school. The biggest change was moving to a co-ed

school, which meant suddenly having to interact with boys on a daily basis for the first time

since I was 9. This was rather stressful when combined with starting my period and everything

that comes along with that. My body was changing, my emotions were all over the place, and I

got my first pimple. And then more pimples. And then like tons of them, all over my face. I felt

like an ugly, oily mess at all times.

Due to my previous facial fortune, I suddenly had to learn how to put on makeup so that I could

cover up those horrible “flaws” all over my face that were making me so hideous. I bought all of

the cover-ups, concealers, setting sprays, foundations and powders that the ads in teen

magazines could convince me of needing. Nobody actually taught me how to apply any of these

things, I kind of just assumed I could figure it out on my own. I was wrong. My makeup was very

obvious and visible like it was caked on my face. I probably looked even worse with all of this

beige gunk, but I felt like I was supposed to wear it like I had to in order to be presentable to

other people. Not only did I spend hundreds of dollars on makeup, I also think I tried every

single acne treatment product that was available to me. The amount of money and time I spent

on worrying about my face was beyond wasteful.

I was so seriously embarrassed by my face, and I imagined that my acne was the only thing that

other people noticed when looking at me. At a big family gathering when I was 16, I was playing

with my 4-year old cousin when she put down her dolls, stared at my face, and asked “why do

you have that big red thing?”, pointing to a rather large zit on my chin. Mortified, I made up an

excuse to stop playing and went to the bathroom to cry. But children have no filter, they will

say exactly what’s on their mind! Obviously, my sweet little cousin had no idea she was insulting

me because she didn’t see my acne as a flaw. It makes me so sad to know that one day the

world will teach her to consider her natural appearance as anything less than perfect and

beautiful.

"But children have no filter, they will say exactly what’s on their mind! Obviously, my sweet little cousin had no idea she was insulting me because she didn’t see my acne as a flaw."

"But children have no filter, they will say exactly what’s on their mind! Obviously, my sweet little cousin had no idea she was insulting

me because she didn’t see my acne as a flaw."

 

By the time I finished my first year of university I was 19 and still covered with spots that none

of my friends had. I was convinced that something was seriously wrong with me, and I was

constantly judging my face, counting the number of zits my friends had and comparing them to

mine. At this point it was considered “adult acne” and I found myself taking more extreme

measures to solve my pimple problems. I made an appointment with my doctor and started

using harsher medical treatments to make my skin clear. With each of these behind-the-

counter creams or medications came a long list of side effects. After trying so many failed

methods, I finally decided to go on the most intense acne treatment there is, which is a

medication called Accutane. For several months I choked down four large pills a day and

suffered through severe side effects in order to get the perfect skin I always desired. To me,

dry, cracking skin to the point of bleeding, and painfully dry eyes that needed hydrating drops

every hour (along with countless other inconveniences) was only a small price to pay for beauty

and a flawless face.

Three years later, my skin is a lot clearer now. The medication permanently changed a

hormonal balance in my body so that the acne won’t return. I do still get the occasional period

pimple, but it’s nothing compared to what it used to be. Even though my acne issues went

away, the insecurity still lingers. Every morning I still spend 15 minutes slathering on a full face

of makeup, covering up every mini mark on my face in an attempt to fake the perfection I

desire. The dissatisfaction with my own face that has lived within me for the last decade has

become so ingrained in my self-perception that I doubt I will ever be able to release