Over the past few months, I have put in a lot of work, a lot of sweat, a lot of dedication, and a lot of discipline into working on being my fittest, healthiest, happiest, but I failed to work on one part of myself, that if I am being honest I have never been very motivated or disciplined to work on. So, this week I turned my focus to the one organ most of us probably put on the back burner when it comes to living our best lives. The one organ that is neglected, forgotten about, and tossed into that kitchen junk drawer: my skin, specifically my face. I could say my dedication to taking care of this part of my body has also improved, and I have developed a terrific skin care regiment that I could list out all the beautiful steps for you. But that would be a lie. In the spirit of vulnerability and honesty here are my skin care steps.
Step 1: wash my face when I think to wash it.
That’s pretty much it. Yup, one step. For years I have been horrible at a regular face washing routine. Growing up swimming and constantly having chlorine being absorbed into my skin, one would think that I would find ways to exfoliate and hydrate my skin, but the dryness was ok for me. For me the chlorine didn’t cause breakouts, it dried me out. The only time I ever really have acne breakouts are my monthly hormonal breakouts… if you catch what I’m saying…
So I’ve never taken the opportunity to take care of my skin. Until this week. This week I decided that my skin would be my focus. My goal. My learning experience. Stress started to creep back into my life and I could feel my anxiety starting to simmer, waiting to boil up and over, creating chaos not just for me, but friends around me. I knew I needed to do something to center myself, create space for breath, and focus on an improvement. So, I partook in something I have never done before. I got a facial. I knew it would put me in a moment that allowed me to breath and to grow. It. Was. Wonderful.
The esthetician explained the steps to me during the process that were important for me to have glowing, healthy skin. And why I should allow that skin to breath. Although, it appears my skin is decent, if I don’t take the time to properly take care of it, like I’ve learned in other areas of my life, I will become complacent and accepting, instead of living a life where I can continually thrive. Living with sensitive skin, thriving means continually finding ways to care for my skin to prevent any future issues.
My skin looks fine on the outside. But there is that layer of dead skin that builds up, suffocating my glowing, healthy skin. I realized this is one area that I neglected, denying my body from living its healthiest. I am depriving my skin from functioning at its best ph level. I am depriving my skin from being balanced. I am depriving my skin from protecting itself and the rest of my body. I have worked hard in so many areas to avoid depriving my life, why should I neglect this area?
Part of my facial process was extractions of blackheads to clear the blockage of pores on my nose and chin. This part is not fun. It is quite uncomfortable and hurts a bit. It is a painful process but a process that is needed for the cleansing and refueled outcome. Sometimes in life, we must embrace the uncomfortable, embrace the pain, and embrace the full process so we can cleanse ourselves from something toxic and share our inner glow with everyone else. You deserve to shine. You deserve to live a life that is fulfilling. You deserve to live a life that prospers.
Friends, if you don’t take the time to refuel yourself and find ways to treat yourself well, you won’t be able to love others well and eventually the hurt and brokenness you try and push down—the hurt that is covered up with that layer of dead material that still appears fine—will seep out of you and infiltrate your connection with others.
We can choose to cover up the top layer as much as we want, plastering on the makeup to hide what we consider flaws. We can choose to fill our schedule with activity after activity just to stay busy, avoiding a fear of boredom or inadequacy. We can choose only to share one aspect of our lives with the world, hiding our true vulnerability. We can choose to hide behind other people’s accomplishments, fearing our own potential. Or we can choose to take the time to embrace the extractions, strengthen ourselves, and learn how great it is to thrive in our healthiest and happiest lives.
I have been lucky in the past with my skin appearing to be healthy. But just because something seems healthy on the outer layer doesn’t mean you aren’t damaging what is underneath. If we don’t take the time to care for ourselves, examining what is going on in our hearts and souls. When the superficial level is ruptured or cracked, we won’t know what to do with the damage that was created below the surface.
Growing up, I didn’t take time to examine my own opinion of myself, so even though I would preach to my friends about how content I was in myself, this layer I showed them was causing more damage than I thought. As a result, every time when negative comments were made about my appearance, or my weight, or my hair, a crack was created, giving toxicity hospitality. This ruined friendships. It squashed romantic interests. It dictated how I spoke and interacted with others. It blocked people from seeing the person I wanted them to truly see. I allowed other people’s opinions and comments to build up a layer of “protection” on my life. This layer was damaging, depriving, and draining. We need to take the time to remove this layer every once in a while, so we can live our fullest, best lives.
An insecurity of mine involves my eyes and ears. They are small. We even made up a song in high school about my eyes and ears and the amount of face I had.
So I plaster on the mascara and eyeliner and makeup to try and make what I consider an undesirable flaw a little less noticeable and to hide that insecurity under a temporary layer. However, the layer of healthy skin, including my eyelashes and eyelids, should be allowed to glow, to shine, and to be known. That is still a part of who I am.
And after my facial, I did just that for the rest of the day. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I went to both my jobs without makeup on, allowing that layer to be seen. Don’t let layers of fear or discomfort cause you to miss out on opportunities to show you, the real you, to the world.