This is about life, not personal finance…
For the last 10 years or so, since I was about 12, I’ve battled on and off cystic acne. That’s basically the intense form. Anyway, it’s gotten a whole lot better now, but it goes through flare-ups depending on time of the month and factors I have no clue about.
I’m just getting over one of the flare-ups and I was flattering myself that my face was getting back to normal. Yay!
Well, I was checking out patrons on Sunday when one guy handed me a card on which he’d written “For bad acne, try using [particular kind of acid].” That popped my bubble.
Talk about your mood killers. All I could think of for the next half hour was how everyone was having to look at my horrible face. It felt awful. (and he’s not the first person who has done it.)
I went on break and regrouped. But I still wasn’t feeling good.
Ironically, the same thing that got me down got me back up again. A young man came through the line—probably 16 or 17 years old. And his face was exactly the same as mine at that age (before I started a more intense treatment). It was a nice face but looked kind of like it had been hit by poison ivy.
He was checking out a bunch of travel books and I asked him if he was going abroad. He said that he was visiting Europe this summer and planning everything. I’ve been twice, so we started to compare places and I was able to tell him a few of the things I loved best about the trip. He was friendly, happy, and I think he was flirting with me.
Somehow I started feeling a lot better. He was happy, he had the same problem I did (only worse) so I didn’t need to worry about it either. Then two young women came through the line and we had a great conversation about romance novel covers. They said I reminded them of a roommate from college (and it turned out we went to nearby colleges, though obviously I wasn’t their roommate). It ended up being a pretty fun day.
I went home, looked in the mirror, and discovered that my face is indeed healing as I thought. It’s much better than a few days ago. In fact, it doesn’t really look cystic (IMO) right now. But you can still tell I have problems. *sigh*
As I mentioned above, this isn’t really about anything. You could call it a study in human interaction, I suppose. The point is that unsolicited advice is not always a good idea.
And as someone who’s dealt with acne issues for 10 years, I can give you some pointers on talking to a person about their skin.
1) Yes, I know I have a problem. Gee, you think I haven’t noticed?
2) I’ve probably tried what you’re recommending. Especially if I’m 22. There are a lot of things I’ve tried. And just because it was a miracle cure for you/your friend/someone doesn’t mean it’ll work for me. Just read all the negative ProActiv reviews online.
3) How do you think it makes me feel to be reminded? Not good. Nope. Not good at all. It’s like being told “Hey, you’re ugly, but I know the name of a good plastic surgeon.”
4) You may give me unsolicited acne advice if we’re actually friends or family. Not coworkers. Not people who randomly bump into each other.
If you know who I am, you might actually know if it’ll be helpful. Or you might consider my feelings before reminding me that I’m not “perfect.”