Emily is the sister of Morgan (founder of Unpolished), co-director, and logistical mind behind Unpolished Journey.
When I was a junior in high school, the guy I was dating at the time told me that we could “perfect my face.” It was a punch in the gut. I thought dating someone, or even just being a friend to someone, meant accepting them for who they are. Each and every piece of them, right?
I had always been self-conscious about my acne. I constantly dealt with shame surrounding the red specks on my skin that never, ever seemed to go away, but instead seemed to constantly be multiplying as if inviting more and more of their little speckled friends to the party. There were mornings when I would cry and not want to leave the house because I was so ashamed of how I looked. I became acutely aware of how often people discuss that one zit on their cheek, while I’m sitting right next to them, suddenly more ashamed and hopeless than before. It was one zit. One freaking zit. As I sat there with a lot more than one, it was clear they weren’t aware of how their comments made me feel.
Now, I will say that I don’t have as bad of acne as some, but it’s definitely on the worse side of things. I will also say some types of acne can be painful, and it would be more pleasant to not have it there, so it makes sense that people would find a means to get rid of it. With that said, I think the reason acne had become such a major concern of mine was that I let it define me. I let myself be seen as less worthy because acne was a part of me. I genuinely believed I was a lesser human than other people. I wanted to sit in a room alone until my era of acne was behind me because then I could become a confident woman. That was my solution to the problem.
Guess what? Confidence does not come when your insecurities are gone. Confidence is the strength to embrace your insecurities and learn to love them. I know this is a whole hell of a lot easier said than done, and I’m still a work in progress in that respect – but I’m learning day by day. I have acne scars around my chin that are a constant reminder of the specks that once stood there. But it’s also a constant reminder of the strength it took to endure those moments of feeling worthless, to endure the inconsiderate comments made by others, to go to school in the mornings when I looked in the mirror and saw nothing but acne.
So, I guess what I’m saying is #imnotsorry that I deal with acne. #imnotsorry that you have to look at the pimples on my face. #imnotsorry that I have acne scars or that I don’t meet society’s “perfect skin” expectation. I’m genuinely not sorry. And man it feels good to say that.