You know how you brush your hand across your face and feel a slight bump where there wasn’t one before? The bump beckons you to the mirror. After a few increasingly frustrating cursory scratches, you discover it’s a pimple. And if you’re like me, you have little to self-control and patience. The infidel pimple must be uprooted from your skin by the militant aggression of your own fingers. These migrants of rebellion, dirt and pus cannot settle in the otherwise smooth flatland of your face. I know I’m advocating for a course of action that every dermatologist and every Person With Amazingly Clear, Flawless Skin will frown at, scoff, abhor. Don’t touch your pimples. Leave them alone. Like the rebel forces of the state, if you don’t pay attention to them, their campaigns weaken and they they must leave, ousted by the lack of support.
I’ve never had breakouts as frequent as these when I was a teenager, which is when these outbursts are expected. Hence as a 22-year old, I shake my head at the absent-minded bothering of the pimple by my fingers. Are pimples a rite of passage? is this like learning to drive to learning to hold your drink? Having pimples is sort of like wearing the publicly-visible “new-to-this-adulthood-thing” sticker. It makes the bearer self-conscious. It makes me want to look more closely at myself.
Am I still a teenager under all of this? Am I so eager to pop the pimple because I want to oust all evidence of my awkward teen years from my life? Am I unable to resist bothering the bump, no matter how small or how large, because I am hell-bent on “cleansing” whatever perceived negativity high school or being an awkward teenager might have left behind?
It’s odd for pimples to be popping when I’m beyond the normal age range for them, I think. Are they indicators of other health issues that I’m having but denying? I push the pimple for answers and revel a little in mopping up the response with a clean tissue paper. This cleansing is undeniably satisfying. If anything, I would like to weed out all of the problems in my life the way I pop the pimple. Effective, persistent and satisfying results.
Though it doesn’t appear to be so, every mismanagement of the pimple results in disrupting the surface of my skin. It’s not easy to discard toxins from your skin or from your life and perhaps you bear marks of the aftermath for a while to come. After a while, it has been done. The skin hurts, the face hurts, the pimple has given up and you’ve gone so far as to hurt the skin which hosted the pimple. Now the lesson remains, a maturation if you will. You could have been the bigger person and left the pimple alone. All it wanted was some attention and a space to call its own.
Or you couldn’t resist. You’re an adult; you can do what you want.