|I'll just work on taking care of myself the best I can|
My personal journey to this point has taken TIME. Much more time and energy than I would have liked but such is the process of growth. I am sure we all still carry around with us some unhealed hurts from our teenage years. Memories of non-acceptance can emotionally scar us. It’s just part of this whole-living-your-life-process. The right tools don’t always make their way into our hands and often people will look at us as ‘weak’ if we want to address emotional issues. One of the things I have struggled to deal with is my skin issues. When I say skin issues I mean my lack of ‘flawless’ skin. The pressure to look physically 'amazing' is always there. The struggle started in my teens and depending on my priorities I can always drown it out but it will always be there. I call this struggle the skin wars, because it felt like I was battling with my skin. I mean the way our skin looks can be tied to our self esteem in such a way that the journey ends up being an internal one before anyone can fix the external. Yes that cliche talk about people working on their inner wellbeing does apply here, maybe some miracle creams and procedures out there do work but some of us haven't got Beyoncé or JLO money so we just have to learn to get comfortable with what we DO have.
My skin wars began in my teens; the year my hormones kicked into gear. The minute I hit puberty I stopped being the cute little girl. Every thing stretched and got wider and bigger except my boobs and my voice. I don’t remember the first pimple I got, in fact I can’t tell when exactly the pimples and rashes started but they did. I wonder whether that’s a testament to the way my parents had brought up my siblings and I, that I had never considered the fact that my looks were tied too my value; I was already accepted and loved. Anyways one day my Dad came home with Oxy facial products, he sat me down and explained how to use them. That’s when I realised that my appearance REALLY mattered. From then I became aware of people's reactions to my skin. People offer unsolicited opinions all the time, you can enter a shop looking for shampoo and the assistant immediately starts telling you about their best selling skin care range. I feel like rather than just look for what was best for my body and skin I was taught to fight the pimples which I did for very long while after that.
By 2014 I know I had bought and tried every product available on a student budget and working woman budget ( this is an exaggeration I didn't buy ALL of them but I bought many many many products!) and actually introducing the famous salicylic acid to my skin made it worse. The amount of high to low end products I used on my skin without research is incredible. It was war. I was fighting against the pimples, thinking that I could tame my skin....
'the second you see a zit invading your face...'
‘Reduce oil production’
‘Unclog clogged pores’
‘Eliminate black heads’
‘Matte skin with a healthy glow no shine for 8 hours’
‘75% reduction in the appearance of spots in just three hours’
Remember all those slogans? They still use them today. I even tried tooth paste because my mum came home with a ‘success’ story from a co-worker. Worst of all I even tried baking powder, it totally dried out my skin, my skin looked terribly dry.
As I approached my mid twenties with no sign of change or improvement I felt deflated, I decided to be passive aggressive towards my own skin. I would just spend as little time as possible on it. I was convinced my skin was a rebel. I gave up on cream washes, scrubs, and special moisturizers for acne; tired of spending huge amounts of money only to see the results disappear after a month. Of course this reflected on my self esteem but I always brushed it off. I could not wear cover up make up because that would just aggravate my skin more.
Now because I am working on a relationship with God and trying have honest conversations. I prayed about it. It was an issue that was disturbing me. With my new commitment I had to mention it. I had to give God the benefit of the doubt even if I felt it was vain to pray about skin.
Well I am not sure if God answered my prayers I just noticed one day that when I stopped using castor oil on my hair the pimples stopped coming. When my 'expensive' moisturizer finished, I started using a sample of Livara Shea Butter product I had bought from EnrviriZaNacho. Bella the owner of the shop insisted it would help, and because this was ANOTHER unsolicited opinion on my skin I nodded believing she was just trying to get her next sale. But she was right. I knew I’d caught on to something, because when I travelled upcountry for work my skin didn’t break out. I waited and waited but the break out never came. Now I am mad because all a long I should have been using a product that my African ancestors knew was 'tried and tested' for thousands of years. Turns out raw Shea Butter has a ton of benefits! Google it. I can tell you that my skin feels fantastic! I don’t care what flaws anyone sees now it’ s soooo much better than where it was and for that reason I am happy. I am also a loyal Livara customer (note: I have not been paid to write this. )
I guess all I needed to do is learn to listen and pay attention to my body's needs. I found something that works for me and that is something I hope to teach my children.
The war is over. We are at peace now.