Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Does It Hurt?"

“Does it hurt?” These words resinated with me all throughout my life. These words were spoken by someone I respected, cared for and still love dearly. These words, spoken by a former teacher of mine. She didn’t say it to be mean, she said it because she must have felt my pain. She touched my face gently and looked at me with tears in her eyes. Why did she care about me so much? What made this woman, who taught me most of my academics, love me like her own daughter?

I took an entire month off from school when my parents got into trouble. Within that month, I developed severe acne that went from the very tip of my forehead all the way down to my neck. They were clustered up so closely, that it looked like someone had placed me in a huge pot and boiled me. You couldn’t tell where one pimple began and where another had ended. I looked down at the floor mostly. I went to many dermatologists, only to have tons of medications and needles stuck into my face, fail...fail terribly. I couldn’t go to school just yet. I needed to at least have a patch of skin somewhere on my face. I felt ugly. I looked like a monster. The doctor had given me his last resort, which was a medication with 1,872,982,285 different side effects. I didn’t care. I wanted to die and if I died trying ---so be it. I went on Accutane. Every packaged pill had a picture of a pregnant lady with an “X” marked on it - telling me, “Don’t get pregnant!” By the looks of me, you had that guaranteed. I had to sign a million and one “CYA” papers and off I went with my pills.

I went back to school when I thought it had gotten better. That’s when my teacher sat next to me and bravely touched my face and said, “Does it hurt?” I felt like I had a huge taco stuck in my throat, because I wanted to cry out of embarrassment. I knew she didn’t mean anything by it, but somehow, those words, those three words posed as a question, still remains in my head. “Does it hurt?” It must have still been bad in order for her to ask that. I wanted to hide my face. I wanted to hide myself from the world. My anxiety attacks increased, and with that, increased the acne for another full month. At night, it hurt to lay on my pillow. I had to sleep on my back most of the time. My tears dried up most of it, but then my acne would start peeling, making it appear even worse.

The “do not consume alcohol” label didn’t sink in. I drank heavily. It increased the drying effect greatly. After time, about three months, I started seeing my skin again. I started seeing the huge welts, bubbled up redness and large boils shrink down into my cheeks. Although there was still a little redness, it was smooth, where I could put coverup on it and finally gain some confidence back. For a girl who was only 16 years old, this was humiliating to go through. With everything going on, from my parents going through all the b/s, my anxiety attacks and then the acne, I couldn’t cope anymore, which is why I had to quit school. One of my teachers found me convulsing in a classroom and had to take me to the nurse, where I would be sent to the hospital thereafter. Those times I will never forget. High school was supposed to be fun, but for me, when I think back upon it, I cringe.

A few years later, I went back to take the tests for my G.E.D., but as soon as I walked into the doors, I smelled the same smell that a school typically has. The floors were speckled the same way my old school was and the lockers were all lined up one by one, reminding me of times where I had just passed out from an anxiety attack. Everything looked the same, making my mind go back to a very grim time.

Now that my skin is clear as an adult, whenever I get that PMS-induced pimple or two, I still feel the pain and the fear of way back when. I still hear those three words that still sit on the back burner of my mind, tormenting me, reminding me that it looks like it hurts. 

I still hear, “Does it hurt?”

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Please visit, Xmichra and read her story about how she survived through a similar situation.

15 comments:

Xmichra said...

I swear you are in my head today!!! I was seriously *just* writing a post for tomorrow on this very topic!! Now i feel badly, because I will make you wait..mmuuahahah... ;)

I understand a thousand percent, and hope that you can see the beauty in you is IN you, not on your face (although you are very pretty). High school was not so much fun for me either (not as chaotic i don't think as you) and i know the pain of embarrasment well. Take that and pin it on the survival badge, because a pimple now doesn't slow your life down does it? I know women who litterally call in sick from work because of a cold sore. riddiculous.

Jess said...

I hate that those times were so not fun for you...I enjoyed high school so much. I enjoy being out of high school much more, however, I have no horrible memories of my time there. Makes me HURT for you.

Deb said...

Xmichra: Great minds? ;) Well, as you know all too well, those are impressionable years for a kid to go through and having something such as acne can be debilitating, although there are much worse things that a kid can go through - this I acknowledge. Even if a kid was known as "ugly" or made fun of about something - it still has a great impact on them in their adulthood whether they admit to it or not, this is what I believe. Maybe that's why some of the most beautiful people are so damn insecure. It's a shame. Thanks for relating and sharing that with me. Can't wait to read up on your post!

Jess: It was a very hard time for me. I hear how high school was so much fun for others and wish I could have those memories, but I feel better my life "today"----and thank God that it is now in the past. New challenges await! (hehe) I just feel bad for kids who are struggling with issues regarding their looks or whatever they're insecure about while having to deal with mean kids in school. That has to be torture...

TeeJay said...

Those three words are still applicable, of course. They just have a different meaning now, and aren't necessarily invoked by the appearance of pimples.

Pain and suffering are inescapable. The Buddha teaches us this. You and I, and all of those around us are constantly being exposed to things that cause pain. The trick, the REAL key to life, is managing how we respond to these sufferings. It's a life's work, but it's worth it. We have so much to learn about ourselves, don't we? And since we're always changing, there is always something new to learn.
Leonardo da Vinci said very, very late in his life "ancora imparo" which means, "I am always learning." It's the truth. And it is pain and suffering - "hurt" - that so often provides us with fertile ground for this ongoing process.

Deb said...

TeeJay: I'd much rather go through physical pain than emotional. I am definitely still learning and have learned so many things from my pain. Sometimes certain lessons take a bit longer, don't they?

Just_because_today said...

it is sad that you went through so much at an early age. I have gotten to know a little bit of the person that came out of all of that and she is beautiful inside.

It's what you do with what is thrown at you that matters.

Deb said...

Don't make me go over there and hug you... You know I'm not used to compliments by you...!!! haha! jk... Thank you... xxoo

TeeJay said...

Yes, you're right Deb, some lessons take longer for us to learn, and regrettably, some of them we NEVER learn. :( I think that's just part of the human condition....

I should also correct the da Vinci citation I made before. "Ancora imparo" actually means "I am still learning" and not 'always' learning.

Clay Perry said...

high school was tough enough as it was... perhaps all that made you stronger in the long run..

Clay Perry said...

high school was tough enough as it was... perhaps all that made you stronger in the long run..

Hi! I'm Grace said...

Hi Deb, it is my first time here in your blog and I just want to say that I enjoyed reading your post. :)
I hate pimples, and right now, I have new one. :(

the walking man said...

Lesson number 1

Stop yourself from caring about what people think of you.

"fuck 'em"

Of course your old man got pimped out by a prick trying to save his own ass. Fuck him.

paz13 said...

Growing up is/was a difficult time for many of us, myself included. It seems like there's so much you have to go through before you can consider yourself an adult.

Kevin

Michelle said...

Very interesting post and blog. I will be back to open my mind and learn somemore about you through your words.

Thanks!

Dr. Deb said...

I am indebted to a former teacher for taking an interest in me as well. It was life changing for me.