A Guy’s Puberty Angst
By Anthony Saldivar--Growing up, I was always fairly popular. I never had any issues making friends and I did not project a lack of confidence. However, starting around the 10th grade, there was an inner battle that I struggled with on a daily basis—that’s when puberty hit me.
Apart from some growth spurts, puberty and raging hormones decided to bless me with acne. At first, it did not seem noticeable. Sure, I dealt with the occasional pimple or two, but it was not long after my first few rounds of moderate pimples that I started developing severe acne.
I could not even begin to count all the pimples on my face, nor did I want to—it would only make me hate the way I looked even more. In 11th grade, it got to the point that I could barely see my face when I looked in the mirror. I really did believe that when people looked at me or talked to me, all they saw or cared about was the acne on my face. When I saw my peers with great complexions, I felt unattractive and unclean.
A picture that was taken of me at the height of my struggle with acne is included here. It may be hard to tell, but my face is visibly scarred, pimple-covered and red. Oh, and the redness was a whole other issue. My face was constantly red for three main reasons: the pimples that covered my face were simply reddish, I was always picking at my pimples, even if they were not ready to pop, leading to scarring, and I put harsh chemicals on my face.
I will not go into detail about which products worked for me and which ones did not. Honestly, things always seemed to work at first and then sort of ceased to affect me in any way. Let me say this, though: I guarantee that I tried any product that claimed to have the magic cure-all for acne. From home remedies to dietary modifications to chemical baths that could clean bleach, I did it all. Someone could have told me that manure could clean my pores and I would have tried it.
One thing that always caught my attention when I watched a movie, TV show, advertisement or even music video was the fact that everyone had great skin. I was bombarded with messages from celebrities, sponsored by Proactiv, that there was some key to having flawless skin. Perhaps even scarier than that was the idea that there was something of greater value in a person with perfect skin than in someone like me.
The point is this: I would have done anything to make me fit with what was considered “normal and beautiful.” I was so caught up in that idea that I never once thought to stop and say “I am normal and beautiful.” I realized that when I was a bit older and a bit wiser. Looking at the mirror has become an easy task, now that I believe that my reflection is not all that defines me. My story is bigger than the pestering pimples that plague me to this day. With that in mind, I am going to tell every part of it.