My face has decided to take the brunt of my stress these days. About 6 months ago I entered a phase I now call my skin’s “second adolescence.” Constant break outs, red blotches and surly attitude all abounded. I tried to stem the tide of rosacea but to no avail. I’m fairly sure it’s a combination of a number of things…parental exhaustion, stress of the self employed, nomadic and melancholic tendencies…and erm…perimenopause apparently. Too much information? Sorry ’bout that. It is what it is.
What really sucks is that all of my regular “coping mechanisms” tend to exacerbate the condition…so the best advice from the experts would be to give up coffee, alcohol and chocolate. Yeah. That’ll happen.
My poor face. I really like my face. I’ve never considered myself any kind of outward beauty really, I mean in the classical sense but I do like my face. The majority of compliments I’ve had throughout my life have been about my skin, weirdly enough so it’s interesting that this is where my stress shows up.
I always know I’m in trouble when I start to research quick fixes for things that really will take a shift in attitude and behavior to change. I’m so desperate to not give up anything. I know I ought to get more sleep. I ought to work out more than I do. I ought to be drinking all that water. I ought to give up coffee and chocolate. I ought to pray and meditate more often.
That list is a full time job. I already have a few of those…but as I consider it it occurs to me that I’m quick to give up the full time job that actually pays me, feeds me, sings me to sleep at night and that makes me sad. It makes me sad that the first list that I axe when life is complicated is the list that has my name at the top of it.
I wonder if that is what my face is trying to tell me, in no uncertain terms. I wonder if it’s saying that we’re really not doing so hot, that we need some time together to regroup. I wonder if my skin chose my face because it knew I was looking in the mirror each morning while I brush my teeth, lamenting the circles under my eyes. My skin knew I would notice the angry red blotches. It wanted a response, like my youngest son having a tantrum in the grocery store because he’s tired, because he’s hungry, because he’s not getting enough attention…
How wise of my body, then, to choose my face as its messenger.
After all my reading about the “physical” triggers of this condition and about the medical solutions for it the one thing that stands out to me over and over again is that what is required, is gentleness. In fact, in mentioning this recently someone said that she noticed “exfoliating” makes the rosacea worse…because the scrubbing, the digging, the pulling away the protective top layers…it’s harsh. The chemicals, the peels…it’s a violence to skin.
It makes sense that instead of stripping away what is needed is care, gentleness, quieting, calming. It makes sense, physically and emotionally. My face is being really honest with me, speaking to me from deep inside, sending a message from the whole of my body to take care.
And it’s all so clear to me…my body is reminding me that I’m thirsty and I’m tired and beaten down. It is having a tantrum in the grocery store. I hope I can put aside the cart and pay attention. I hope I will listen.