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A picture is worth a thousand words..or is it

When you see me, what do you think? What would you say to describe my look? Would it surprise you if you knew this hauntingly black and white striking photo wasn't taken at a peek of my day. It wasn't a good moment for me. I had just recovered from an emotional break down. About what? My skin. It's not clear, its not perfect and it definitely doesn't look like this picture below. I've had aggressive acne for almost twelve years; I've tried everything and anything-laser treatment, organic make-up, over the top skin spa treatments and over three hundred dollars worth of products sometimes in a matter of days. Nothing worked. I kept feeling ugly, unworthy and unattractive beyond belief. I couldn't enjoy most situations because I always worried about how my skin looked or more specifically how others viewed it. Situations most girls wouldn't worry about, such as pool parties or unexpected visits from friends, made me so anxious I couldn't do anything but worry. I worried about pool parties because I couldn't simply soak my face into the water and casually swim. I had to worry about my make-up not coming off and revealing my acne. The acne I worked so hard( roughly two hours) to cover up using numerous tactics, products, liquids, powders and highlighters. Washing my face alone stressed me out. I kept thinking I was making it worse or irritating the skin. I kept "only me" wash towels to make sure I wasn't spreading oils, and I constantly cleaned to make sure my fur babies hair wasn't the issue. Even after intense medication, nothing worked. My skin either stayed the same or even got worse. Adult acne was now my reality and it became obvious that my issue was staying. I would constantly look at other photos girls posted-naked face and all and wondered why I couldn't have that. Why I couldn't roll out of bed, wash my face and go. Instead I would need at least one hour to cover my skin to only become heavier and heavier through out the day. Unless I was buying one hundred dollar foundation which is not realistic when your living on your own trying to make it with your partner in an economy that's constantly increasing all pricing minus wages. I either give up on food and hydro and get an expensive foundation to cover up my skin correctly or I buy cheaper product that in turn makes my skin worse. Either way it's a no win situation-I'm spending money on product that is way too expensive with money I barely have, or buy less expensive product that damages my skin. Unlike some girls, I can't justify spending hundreds of dollars on make-up when my living expenses are a priority. To this day, starting from early puberty my skin continues to battle the epidemic of acne, now adult acne.

I dream of the day I can go on vacation, leave my room without worry and sunbath with nothing concerning minus my tan. Now when I vacation I make sure my foundation is at least on to cover my acne and acne scars before heading out to my day. I couldn't tan my face because I couldn't go out bare face without having serve anxiety about my skin and what other's must see and think. Even if it is in my head I'm not naive. I know that someone's face is the first feature you see when meeting someone new: strong eye contact is a great feature, but with acne blocking my self-esteem, eye contact is not an option for me.

I do not know how to explain it more clear-my skin is my everest. My acne is my biggest conflict in life. I have never been vane-I don't spend large amounts of time and money on hair and make-up, just time on covering up my face and features I find a cruel joke.

So after trying to cover up my acne for almost 1 hour, I threw on a wig I recently won online and took this photo. No tears visible, no explanation needed. Just a mask. A web of tools and materials needed to ensure a photo not only doesn't tell the truth, but gives me a little glance of hope. Hope that someday my darkest insecurities are no more and a day at the beach can simply be just a day at the beach.

Kinga Ulazka

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