Thursday, July 28, 2005

What's The Benefit?

I was startled and interested to read this article in today's New York Times. I have terrible skin that is actually doing pretty well right now, but I will ALWAYS consider my skin terrible. At my last visit to the dermatologist who put me on a topical regimen that actually seems to work, or at least hold the most gross parts at bay, he mentioned the same thing.

I was talking about how I'm 26 years old and I'm still having the skin trouble of a teenager. I'm also very sensitive about it and get embarassed so easily if someone points it out (which they never do) or if I notice something awry. After moaning and groaning about how this can't really be my fate, forever, he said this - Try asking yourself What's The Benefit? He went on to describe that oftentimes, patients, or people, hang on to things that they perceive to be bothersome simply because on some level they gain something from it. In my case, the situation would be that I psychosomatically produce my acne or keep it around or something, because of some other reason. Um, like I really want to feel freaking ugly all the time? Not so much. But then, when I started thinking about it, some things began to make sense.

Its easy to hide yourself behind a mask, if you will, much easier than showing a true face to the world. By "keeping" my acne, I could be doing several things. Maybe I am clinging to my youth, perhaps to the time before my father got sick and died when I still believed in life and protection and possibility. Maybe I am using it to hide behind, as in its easier to be confident when you think that noone is looking anyway because of your ugly face. Or maybe its easy to feel ugly so that you can blame shit on it or not have ot deal with being pretty and the social pressures that come with it.

If these are the benefits, is it worth it? If I let go of this shield, what's really going to happen? In all likelihood, I'll just feel better about myself. Or be less focused on the physical attributes of my face and more on what's going on inside my head. Though, I don't know how much more focused I can be in there without spontaneously combusting. But seriously. There is no benefit to emotionally clingling to acne. Its a manifestation of other, deeper ills. I don't need acne to miss my dad or to be at peace with the girl whose life ended after hearing the words, "Daddy has cancer." I don't need acne to hide behind instead of owning my true nature. I can be beautiful without qualifications or quantifications. Or whatever. Now I'm just getting soapbox-y.

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