What It Feels Like to look away from the mirror

Julia Maton // As told to Julia Maton

It was a feeling that only started about a year ago. Before, I usually never had a negative thought about my appearance. But now, when I wake up, there seems to be a struggle to even look in the mirror sometimes.

Throughout middle school, I had very clear skin. I would never break out, and if I did, it would only be small little pimples, two at most. Those never really bothered me. I would usually just cover them up with some concealer and go to school without a thought about it in my mind.

I am the type of person who never really cares about my appearance to other people. I never had a negative thought about my skin, hair, or outfits in the middle school years. I always felt happy about myself and how I looked and never felt like something I was wearing or had on my face could bring me down.

Although I think I am a strong person regarding certain parts of my life, now there is just one part that seems to control me and something I have never really felt before. At the beginning of freshman year, my skin started to get a lot more acne. I tried switching different face washes that would be better for my skin and only using gentle skincare for my skin.

I seemed to be trying a lot of different types of products to try and help for acne, though none of them worked, at least I was trying to make some results. But, as more and more acne came, they were always coming in the same spots on my face. I developed discoloration and dark spots on my face due to the constant acne on my forehead and my mouth.

As quarantine started, my skin just progressively got worse, and I saw a lot more scars on my face. Sometimes, the scars on my face weren’t even from me popping the pimples but just the pimples being on my face.

Every scar was just another reminder of something to look down on myself. They just kept coming, more and more reminders of something that was so negative, which made me feel so down like I’ve never felt before. The way those scars and recurring big pimples made me feel was something so crazy to me. The sadness I felt about myself, the tears that would flow down my face almost every day of the week was something I never thought would happen to myself.

My skin had gotten significantly worse around October 2020; the middle of my forehead would always be covered. But, I wasn’t around any people; not everyone could see my acne-filled face. I never care what other people think about me, but I think about myself and how I perceive myself that I do not want anyone to see with this acne all over my face.