Tag Archives: complaining

What we talk about when we talk about adult acne

Photo credit: Genista

Photo credit: Genista

It gets better, they said. Just wait. Soon it will all make sense. Soon your hips will stop widening, your jaw and nose will grow in equal pace, you’ll understand bra sizes and stop being embarrassed when you buy tampons.

Soon you’ll understand how wonderful it is to be an adult, to choose your own breakfast and buy your own poptarts, if that’s what you want.

Chase your dreams, they said. Soon you’ll be achieving them. Follow your heart. Soon you’ll be making great decisions all the time and relationships will be easier and it will all make sense. Everything will make sense, even the fact that we live on one of 200 billion planets in our galaxy and that the universe is infinite, truly infinite.

And acne – soon the acne will stop. You won’t have to spend 121 hours every year scrutinizing your pores, determining which ones deserve to be squeezed and which ones must ripen.  You won’t be jealous of the girls in the Clean & Clear commercials or spend significant amounts of time imagining where you would send all the pus in your body if you could choose to just have one perpetual pimple.

And I won’t say I was lied to. I won’t say that I was deceived by those people 18+ in my life who knew exactly what was coming to me. I won’t say I was deliberately led to believe in a fantasy no more real than sea monkeys or the first moon landing.

I believed what I wanted to believe – I pieced together the various messages of my childhood and adolescence and came to believe that once I turned 22 or 23, I would have it all figured out. I – and everyone else – would be living our dreams, wearing clothes that fit and laughing together while eating pasta at a restaurant. And our skin would be clear. It would be completely clear, with not a zit, pimple, blackhead, whitehead, subterranean or squirter to have blemished it in many many years.

Photo credit: Garrette

Photo credit: Garrette

So when we talk about adult acne, we talk about the cruel reality of adulthood, the fact that we still don’t have the answers and know we may never have them. We talk about the fact that relationships are still confusing. We talk about how social media and technology has let us down in some unnamable way, and the despair, apathy, or vague outrage that we feel when we read about politics and the NSA and privacy and drones and the daily body count in Syria. We talk about wanting more in our lives, wanting clear skin, wanting a clear vision.

They told us to follow our dreams but never said that almost everything would be put in the way of that. They told us to make

a difference, but they didn’t say that society often villainizes or kills those who try. They promised clear skin, and still I have blemishes, and now I pay for my own face wash.

They didn’t tell us, but that’s okay. They probably didn’t know what they were doing. Now that we know more of the truth, we can move on, complain together about our acne, and get ish done.

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My Ear Infection: Party on the Inside

bring on the ear infection rock surfing

I have an ear infection. Yeah, I said it. My ear is crawling with infection. Perhaps that’s too much disclosure for the blogosphere. Just because I read the forums on Web MD religiously doesn’t mean I want to discuss everyone’s medical charts, especially my favorite authors on the web.

But now it’s out there. I’ve got an ear infection and it sucks. This is also not a ploy to get people’s pity. I don’t want or need your pity. I’ve already had cookies baked for me against my will and yes, they were inappropriately tasty. You see, I was raised on the plains of Oklahoma, where personal illness is usually treated as a case of sissy-hood. We believe most things can be cured by ignoring the pain and/or rubbing bacon grease onto the affected area. In the case of internal pain, the grease is rubbed onto the lymph nodes so the lymphatic system can carry its healing qualities throughout the rest of the body. It’s a highly developed system.

Unfortunately, bacon grease is hard to come by here in Egypt, so I was unable to pour any into my ear at the beginning of the infection and simply tried to ignore it. The infection proceeded to get increasingly hard to ignore, and I was forced to go to the university clinic, where I was given medicines of dubious names and qualities. I’m now taking a few  pills in a variety of shapes and colors and waiting for everything to go back to normal when I can pretend like this whole “being sick” thing never happened.

I feel like there’s nothing dumber than saying you can’t do something because of an ear infection. To me, it feels equivalent to saying, “Oh, my thumb hurts so I can’t come to your bridal shower,” or “My forehead is bothering me so I won’t be able to make it to the awards banquet,” etc. It’s such a small area of your body, but when it hurts, it hurts in spades. If you have healthy ears, kiss them both right now and be thankful. You could also have someone kiss them for you.

I was laying in bed last night, unable to sleep because of the bright, throbbing pain in my ear. I thought to myself “I am in hell,” as it crackled and sparked, reminding me once again of how awesome my other ear feels. (Again, I don’t want your pity. I’m just trying to use my pathetic example of hardship as blog fodder). Then I realized that I was seeing the pain in my mind’s eye as bright colors and shapes. I think at one point there was a recurring abstractly shaped fish figure that had pink and white stripes and I would see it as I closed my eyes even though I was still awake and wondered  if I would be able to skip school for this.

Now here I am in the morning and I’m not skipping school but I am going to the white desert again. At least I can continue my tradition of being sick before camping trips.

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