Is it really so vain?

Sergey Solomko Высокомерие

“There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.”
–Mark Twain

“Never ‘just run out for a few minutes’ without looking your best. This is not vanity — it’s self-liking. Your face is always on display.”
–Estée Lauder

I made an appointment today with a real-live dermatologist. Not the ones at my HMO. No, I’m going up to the big leagues. This is the kind of place that has a Botox and Restylane rewards program. (I don’t know how many shots you have to get before you get one free. You want me to ask for you, I will.) But I’m tired of feeling so bad about my skin. Maybe I need microdermabrasion and different products. Yeah, sand the zits right off my fucking face. I don’t know what they can do for me, but it sure as hell has to be better than what I’m doing now. All I know is that what I’m doing isn’t working, and the doctors at the HMO didn’t really help.

I think I’m attractive–underneath my acne. But it’s really jacking with my self-esteem to be covered in the shit. And it has gotten progressively worse over the past year.  Is it really vanity when you have something that is diagnosable all over your face? I mean, it isn’t really hurting me. It doesn’t lead to cancer. It just looks awful and leaves me with purple scars and pits in my face. I don’t want to look like Edward James Olmos.

But my self-esteem has gotten so low that I don’t expect anyone would want to date me right now. Really, it’s gotten that bad. I have a hard time seeing people with excessive acne as attractive. Why would they see me any differently? It’s gross. Pus on your face is grody. Bacterial lesions are disgusting. Who wants to look at that? No one, that’s who.

Someone keeps telling me not to worry about it, that it isn’t a big deal. This is someone who hid behind me in a picture so her double chin wouldn’t be visible to the camera.  We had to retake it five or six times to satisfy her. She kept looking at the picture, grumbling, repositioning me, and ducking her entire body behind me except her eyes and nose. I’m not saying she doesn’t have a right to her issue. But I sure as hell have a right to mine.

Society tells me I should be secure enough in myself that I shouldn’t care. It also tells me I should be flawless of face. Make up your fucking mind, society.

I went through this when I was heavy, too. I was unhappy with the way I appeared to other people, and it really fucked with my self-esteem. It took a long time for it to come back, too. Longer than it did to lose the weight.

Maybe it’s more than vanity. Maybe it’s an initial lack of self-esteem. Maybe I depend more on my appearance than I’d like to admit. It’s not that I think I’m the hottest shit ever, either. But for someone who felt ugly and marginalized for so many years growing up, it taps into a big place of hurt to go back there. I was teased mercilessly as a child, and having something like this makes me feel like I did then: unwanted, undesirable, not belonging, destined to be alone.

We’ll get this under control. Hopefully with the scarring taken care of, too. Inside and out. Fuck, I hope the outside is easier than the inside. Less painful, too.



  1. Beauty

    I’ve always been ugly! I understand you. The only thing I can say. We must continue to live. There is a tool that helps it to you.

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