Monday, August 1, 2011

You're so vain....

This is my vanity blog. I don't mean the whole having a blog thing, though that's pretty much a vanity project as well, I mean this blog is about vanity. Specifically my own. So though the nature of blogging is that this is always all about me, this one is even more all about me than usual. Just thought I would warn you heading in.

I am pretty average looking. In fact I am so average looking that when people meet me they generally tell my how much I look like someone else. Their best friend from 3rd grade or their cousin or their best friend from 3rd grade's cousin. Sort of the girl next door face. Growing up my sister made sure to let me know, repeatedly, that she was the pretty one in our family. The blond with the blue green eyes. I had dirt brown hair and shit brown eyes. If we were out together and a boy took a double take look she would say, "yeah, I look good today."

My best friend through middle school and high school was extremely pretty. And we were labeled the pretty one and the smart one. Which wasn't fair to either one of us really. She wasn't dumb and I wasn't ugly, when you are a teenage girl being called the smart one you pretty much assume that you aren't pretty and if you are the pretty one then you must not be smart.

I did have a few things going for me. One I had nice boobs and I got them early enough that I learned the power in a good set of boobs much earlier than most girls. If you ever doubt the power that a cleavage shot has over a straight man, pay attention to your facebook feed and see how many grown up adult males fall for the scams over and over and over just because they use the promise of being able to see a woman's breasts if they click the link. Powerless.

Another thing I had was a good sense of humor. I would use humor about my looks (either going extremely positive or extremely negative) to keep focus off of what I really felt about how I looked. There aren't a lot of people who realized how self conscious I was. Those of you who read this blog do.

But my best feature through high school was my skin. I didn't break out. Never had an issue until I got pregnant with C. Then my whole body went crazy, developed new allergies, changed shoe sizes, grew another inch in height and broke out. But the skin cleared up again when he was a few months old and I went back to clear if pale skin.

Then in my mid 30s my skin freaked out. Completely and totally freaked out. And I freaked out right along with it. I went from feeling like a fairly average looking person to feeling like a complete freak. I would leave the house thinking I looked okay, that everything was under control and covered and either someone would make a comment or I would catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see nothing but the break out for the rest of the day. Any picture of myself from that time period through today that is the first thing I check. How does my skin look? And because my self image, the one that was formed when I was a teenager is not of someone with bad skin there are still times when a photo or a comment would take me by surprise.

At the beginning I tried everything. I tried every skin care regime that was out there, I tried dietary changes, Milk causes breakouts? Okay, dairy free for over a year! Visceral manipulation will ease the stress on my liver and clear the toxins from my body? Okay, go ahead an massage my internal organs! If I could find a positive review I tried it. My doctor recommended tea tree oil. I used that. Online forums said Pro-Active was the way to go, I tried that. And almost everything worked, for a little while...then like the Borg of acne my skin would adapt and over come. And it did over come. It over came so much of my life and my self thought that I should be a little ashamed. And I sort of am. But I am more vain.

See this picture?

I can tell you a lot about that day. It was KUPL's big summer concert. I was helping run the KFC VIP tent and we were all having a ball. I got to hear a ton of fabulous music that day. I got to meet Wynonna Judd and she was just as sweet as could be. It was a really fun day. But there are two things from that day that mar it for me and they are both about my skin.

The first is I was standing talking to two women who had won tickets to be in the KFC VIP tent for the event. They were sharing what a wonderful time they were having and how special we had all made them feel. This is the sort of thing you live for as a marketer. You know that they will tell everyone they know how great it was and that was the whole point. But then one of the women said to me, "I can help you with your face." Excuse me? You know it's polite to ignore my face right? So in the space of 5 minutes I went from on top of the world to feeling like the world was staring at my face. She was a massage therapist who specialized in visceral manipulation. I told her that sounded interesting, she asked "may I?" and I said sure...then she stuck her hand in my side under my rib cage and lowered my liver. Yep, you read that right. Visceral manipulation. Moving your viscera (internal organs) around. BUT...then she pulled out a mirror and handed it to me and I watched the red from my face fade. The lesions were still there but the red was fading. Amazing.

The next part is that picture. When I got that picture back from the radio station you would think all of my memories of how great that day was would come flooding back right? But instead all I could see was how bad I looked. For a very long time I wouldn't even show anyone the picture. Then I realized that nobody was looking at me, they all wanted to see Wynonna. But one thing I did when that picture came back was call the massage therapist and schedule a series of appointments for the next 6 months. Move all of my organs around...just clear up my face!

Now many of you are wondering why I did all of this other stuff but never went to a dermatologist. Good question. There are a few reasons. One is that I really thought I could fix it myself. Enough research, enough trying of different things and I could control it. If I went to the dermatologist I was admitting it was a really big problem and I didn't want to do that.

Also, you know those parents that insist on a prescription when they take their kid to the doctor? I am the antithesis of that parent. If C was prescribed anything when he was younger I questioned the doctor 6 ways to Sunday to make sure he really had to have it. I don't medicate myself unless I am not able to function. Fevers burn up what is causing you to be sick, don't take a pill. Painkillers should only be used if you can't function without them, otherwise they are just masking what is wrong so you can't monitor it. And I don't react well to most drugs. They make me off my game. So I don't take them. All of my experiences with dermatologists through friends going was you were going to get a pill and your skin was going to get worse before it got better. I fought it tooth and nail.

So what led me there this time? Parenting. C's has struggled with acne for the past few years and this summer I realized it was getting worse and as much as I was willing to struggle for the answer for myself for my kid I want it fixed. I don't want him to start to define himself by his skin or scars. Even though he doesn't seem to be any where near as vain as I am, I didn't want to risk it. So I made an appointment for him and one for myself.

Turns out there was nothing I could do on my own. It's hormonal. Which makes sense since the only other time I broke out was while I was pregnant. Hit my mid 30s and the hormone balance in my body shifted and with it my skin shifted as well. So no matter what I tried on my own I couldn't have fixed it. With C we are trying a combination of things to get him past the hump of time he will have issues. Also hormonal, just a different set of hormones and his are on the ramp up stage while mine are in the ramp down.

And yes, we are on prescriptions and creams and the warning is that it will get worse before it gets better. So I guess the point of this blog is to come clean and put a new face forward. (sorry couldn't resist) But more importantly I just felt like I needed to talk about it. So you all got to read about it. I am hopeful it works and we both are clear and fabulous by Christmas time. Best. Gift. Ever.

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