I was lamenting the other day over the fact that I still tend to break out like a 13-year old. My acne is the bane of my existence. At my age, other people’s stress doesn’t show up on their skin, so why should mine? I also do EVERYTHING possible in terms of skin remedies. In other words, I take care of my skin 100x better than people who don’t even wash their faces and still have glass-smooth skin. Grr!
In addition to using a staple face wash and spot treatment twice a day, I have tried various mudmasks and a plethora of homemade remedies. Among these are: lemon juice, lime juice, grapefruit juice (known for having antioxidants and brightening the skin), tomato juice and cucumber juice (when combined, I call this the “salad facial”), turmeric (known for being an antiseptic…and also for staining skin yellow for a good 24 hours before it gets washed off), honey (antibacterial), COFFEE (yes, I have rubbed the coffee grinds remaining from my morning brew onto my face…known for having antioxidants which will brighten the face), green tea leaves, and lastly, olive oil.
One Friday evening, I came home from work after a crappy day to find that both my roommates would be engaged in their awesome social lives and I would be spending the evening alone. Poo. So I arranged myself a self-pity movie/spa night. I took a long, relaxing shower in which I used up all the hot water, and then proceeded to the kitchen in my bathrobe to concoct a new facial potion. I mixed together tomato, lemon, and cucumber juice for a ‘salad course’ and then made a yogurt, honey, oatmeal mixture for the ‘dessert’ (breakfast?).
At one point while I was brewing, I realized, “hey, this is fun!” Then it occurred to me that my acne problem inspired what is now my fun hobby of coming up with wacky facials.
My point NOT being that I’m okay with acne. What I realized then was that if it were not for my acne, I would never have been driven to develop what is one of my few good habits – taking care of myself. Making facials is now not something I do just to combat my acne – it’s how I rewind, relax, remind myself after a stressful day or week that it is okay to take time for myself sometimes. I have a tendency (like so many others, I assume) to get too caught up in stress, worry, and obligations, so it gives me something to look forward to. I also feel good knowing that I am doing something to improve myself, even if it is something as surface level as skin. My acne also always served as a constant reminder that I should eat healthier, and to cut down on grease and sugar. Let’s face it, vanity will drive me to do things that plain concern about my health will never do!
When my Freshman 15 caught up with me in sophomore year, it was a huge wake up call that my high school metabolism wasn’t here to stay. Until that year, I had never stepped in a gym in my life. My friend practically had to drag me. Then, she forced me to stay even though I couldn’t work any machine for more than 2 minutes straight without running out of breath. (A testament that thin people are NOT necessarily fit! I only thank genes for that.)
To be honest, I didn’t return for the rest of the semester. But that summer, I had more free time and made routine trips to the gym to attend the Zumba classes because they were actually fun. Then, I downloaded my favorite upbeat club hits onto my iPod, which helped me get through 15 minutes on the elliptical twice a week. By the end of the summer, I did 30 minutes of intensive cardio on the elliptical three times a week and yoga once a week. (So I will never be a gym buff but it’s a start.)
Now I don’t remember what my life was like before I needed a good run to blow off some steam or yoga to reinvigorate my muscles and calm me down. Exercise makes me feel GOOD. Those endorphins are the best high I can get all week. I will always thank my delayed Freshman 15 for discovering that high.
I realize that I started with a discussion about my acne and rambled my way to how I started using the gym. But I want to end with my epiphany that so-called negative parts of life, or flaws, need not be wholly bad if we decide to learn from them. That they turn our attention to what we really need. Sometimes, the journey to overcome obstacles becomes an enjoyment in itself.
Now go exfoliate!