Monday, July 28, 2014

When Skin Revolts

I like to think that I'm not a vain person, but this week I realized that even I have my limits. I don't know if it was the stress, or the change in climate from my move, or some terrible karma having it's way with me, but I had the worst breakout I've had since I was fourteen. It was like some small country decided to take up residence on my face, and no amount of coverup short of a prosthetic face could hide it.

This sketch is to scale. The zit was huge, I swear.
I tried my best to camouflage the invading forces with treated makeup but it seemed like all that did was make my normal skin paler giving the acne the opportunity to really stand out. I realized that this was a result of me never having learned how to properly apply concealer, but at five o'clock in the morning with a zit the size of Mount Everest above my lip the most I could do was I regret my lack of education immensely. 

The worst part of this outbreak was that I wasn't going to see people who had known me for years; this was my second week on the job and I was still meeting people who would think that the normal state of my face was total disaster. They will probably think I am totally unkempt and dirty. I thought as I continued to slather concealer on my face.

After about five minutes, I finally gave up. This happens to everyone sometime, I assured myself. I had put on acne spot treatment that promised a reduction in my problem by lunchtime. Everything would be fine.

But when I got to work I realized that not only was this my second week of work, but we had important people visiting from our corporate office to conduct an audit. And not only were there important people visiting from our corporate office, but I was scheduled for a random evaluation with them. For whatever reason I wasn't worried about the interview itself, just the disaster on my face... the miracle zit cream wasn't working at all! It seemed like if anything my problem had gotten worse. What if they don't realize this is just the worlds worst zit? They might think it's a cold sore and think I have some sort of STD...

By the grace of science, my evaluation slot was double booked and while my supervisor apologized to me for the "lost opportunity" a wave of relief washed over me. It was only then, as my panic was waning, that I realized how ridiculous my response to the entire day was. Why was it that something as simple as a completely temporary blemish on my appearance felt like the end of days? Why was it that I felt like people would be so distracted by a few zits that they wouldn't see my engineering prowess? Would a man give it a second thought if he were in my position? I felt terrible that I'd let myself get so distracted by something so trivial.

I know there is a dialogue today encouraging women to go natural and embrace their beauty, but what about some of our less beautiful days. Does the "natural look" still apply, or does it only apply when you are so flawless that makeup wouldn't make a difference anyways? I am not saying that I have all the answers, but I can't help but think that our society has not made it past the point where something as shallow as a horrible zit can impact how people think of you. It's hard to be comfortable in your own skin when it's covered in acne. Even in a profession like engineering, where it really shouldn't matter.

What do you think?



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