I’ve had terrible acne all my life until recently getting on some prescription meds, and my body is covered in scars—head to toe—from picking at my skin. I hate it when other people take pictures of me and don’t think to retouch them, because you can believe I spend the time pouring over every one of my shots and skillfully brushing out the red marks.
Some days I’m OK with it because I don’t really see it; others, I worry what people will think, or worse: say. A few weeks ago, I was wearing a bikini top and someone asked if I did suspensions. I asked what she meant: hanging by hooks. Because of the scars on my back. Which don’t even remotely look like that, so wtf?
I put a bandage on my jawline to cover a pimple I'd been picking and was asked if I'd cut myself shaving. I . . . what? My coworkers at least had the decency to respond to the question with looks of horror when it happened.
I had keratosis pilaris flare so badly this winter that I was afraid to take my clothes off. It’s SO much better this summer, but my arms are still bumpy, frequently scabby and bleeding as a result, because I scratch absent-mindedly.
My limbs are constantly covered in bruises—black, blue, purple, green, yellow, and brown—from my weekend activities including trail running, obstacle races, and boffer combat, not to mention my general clumsiness.
My feet are swollen, blistered, and flaky from running, no matter how religiously I apply deep moisturizers. My toe nails are cracked, jagged, and yellow, which ads tell me I should hide but I can only see it as an improvement over black. I love my feet for what they do for me: the miles they put behind me and the abuse they take on the pavement.
And I have stretch marks, but not the kind a woman is permitted to be proud of that appeared with pregnancy and were “earned” through bodily sacrifice. Mine raced across my swelling thighs, hips, and breasts during puberty—universally desirable parts marred by supposedly shame-inducing marks. I missed the memo, though, that I was supposed to hate them and embrace them along with the curves they adorn.
I have a weird red patch, possibly rosacea, on the hollow of my left cheek that's difficult to cover and ruins my blush makeup patterns. I've been asked before why I was only blushing on one side and stared at him like he was an idiot.
Why do people think it's OK to ask about your skin? I'm usually OK in my skin, but other people are the worst.