Acne shaming: When you realize it isn’t about failure
Adolescence is, but for all, the most intriguing phase of life. Period.
Now, doesn’t that statement sound even more intriguing?
Because in a world where even Kendall Jenner’s pimples covered in makeup call for scrutiny of certain tweeple, there also exist folks who take offense to Priyanka Chopra’s photoshopped underarms on a magazine cover. Body-shaming, face-shaming, underarm-shaming, you name it – it’s been all around, guys.
Well, fortunately or unfortunately, I lived my years of acne when there were no smartphones, let alone the photo-editing apps or Instagram filters. Oh, come on, the front-camera mobiles have been with us since just a couple of years. Now, I’m definitely not saying all this for you to think that I’m quite old. Because hey, I’m not 30 yet (umm, if you’ve been thinking 30 marks the beginning of ageing).
How failure set in
Guilty or not, I admit to ruining most of my teenage under the anxiety acne caused to me. I admit to letting acne push me into a dreaded corner, making me feel like a terrible wimp. For letting myself drift away from an individuality, running for a cover I couldn’t find for a long time. The frosty stares of close acquaintances, the stealthy glances that a few uncles & aunts took at my face (hey, they didn’t want me to go ballistic about it) just made me delve into a question – “Am I all about my face?” Even my parents’ empathy pricked me to the core.
So, slowly, that’s how I began to lose all my self-esteem & confidence. And there suddenly stood before me, an overbearing & bullying stage-fear. My acne had finally obscured my elocutionary skills too. I hated participating in speeches. Extempore or prepared, it really didn’t matter this time. However, I had this most cherished teacher of mine, who (I now know why she had to do this then!) entrusted me for carrying out a brief compèring session during a show. My ninth grade that it was, I remember that the compèrer was absent then. And so my teacher placed all her faith in my vocabulary to which I had absolutely no guts to refute.
I somehow couldn’t visualize an audience which would keep from booing. Well, that was not an uncommon thing at our school (I’m sure yours too would have been!). So, there I stood totally jinxed by a complex, that I could have let go because this time the audience didn’t start with their boos. They were quiet as I ascended to the podium. And were apparently keen to hear me out. But NO! I even took that as their engrossment in detailing my acne face. And as I uttered my first few words, they were still listening without any jeering gestures. “Alas! Why is the mic not even buzzing?!”, was my thought as I gulped a fat lump of fear down my throat. And the very next second, the mic did start attenuating. I gestured to the technician that it’s down. My teacher insisted on me to wait & continue.
But, this time, I let her down. And, of course, myself too.
I walked down the stage as I felt approved by my teacher’s reaction to my insecurities. That was a huge embarrassment & my biggest failure then.
“OH, WAIT! Was acne really a failure?”
Nonetheless, I soon found my inspiration in another friend who was on a little more troubled side of acne. Yet, she was vocal about it; something that I wasn’t capable of being then. Her trademark jokes on her acne left us in splits every time. THAT was a precious lesson I was learning from her.
When you poke fun at your problems (& not yourself), you ban others from poking fun at you.
That dear friend of mine naturally had excellent skills of oration & many laurels to its tune. Apart from being the prefect of our school group, she was a confident & lovable person to be with. During one of those random banters I had with her, I did ask her this million dollar question. “How do you speak so good at your speeches?” She just placed her hand firmly on my shoulder to say something that went on to become the spark that ignited my personality forever! I had my lesson no. 2 from her this time. She said,
Just believe that you’re telling the crowd a secret that they’ve never known all their lives. Give them some great lessons to remember, that they would have ONLY from YOU. When you speak, remember, you are the fountainhead of ‘gyaan’ (knowledge in Hindi).
That was IT for me. I had discovered my salvation of teenage life.
I learnt that acne is just skin-deep & is, but a phase. You never let it get deeper than your skin. And like every phase, it shall pass. The faster you decide to eliminate it from your mind, the quicker it gets away from your skin too. That’s when you’d free your mind to now think of actually getting rid of it. Solutions are only conceivable only when your mind isn’t shackled in your apprehensions.
First of all, I did not take to saying this because I’m done with acne now. I say this because I got over acne much before the good riddance callers I tried with my solutions. I would surely take that up in one of my next posts.
Those lessons I learnt from my sweetheart friend went on to shatter every fear I encountered in life.
Here I am now, somebody who just cannot live without speaking out to a group of at least 3. Who loves to talk to a crowd. Who loves being a trainer to some really fantastic people. However, the feeling behind my words now is different. I don’t speak to ‘give’ them knowledge. I talk to them to create engagement. Engagement of ideas & thoughts often spluttered with tiny humor.
Because, words are what makes us human. And so does acne.
Our lives, therefore, resemble an inception-like structure; where we stay in our body & our body stays in our mind. If there’s anything that can rebut failure, it’s only your mind.
Did something really spectacular change your failure into success anecdotes? Please share them in the comments. I’d love to know them. Who knows, they may end up inspiring so many.