The Diary of the Pimply Kid

Growing up having the pimple gene was tough. I was that girl who had a new pimple every week. I was that girl who had to learn and try different facial scrubs, toners, and creams at an early age. That girl who needed to take pills because the size of her acnes are getting worse the doctor says topical treatments won’t be enough. I was that girl who grew to be overly conscious that she refused to talk to people when she had the choice. But when she didn’t, she looked down whenever people try to talk to her, hoping that people didn’t stare at her pimple while she talked. I was that girl people refer to when they say, “Oh she can be really pretty if only she didn’t have pimples.” I was that pimply kid. And I still am.

Talking about me being a pimply kid is tough. It is a very personal and sensitive topic and it never fails to hit my weak spot. It is the monster under my bed, the monster inside my head. It’s my biggest insecurity up to this day and I have never really opened up about this in my blog or to any one for that matter. My decision to talk about this now is quite a rare and special moment. You can say I’m growing a backbone, or that I’m turning a page in my life. I think I am ready to acknowledge this weakness that I have always had and I finally choose to be strong about it. I want pimply kids like me to realize that they are not as shallow as they think they are and it’s normal to feel low with the monster in their faces. It may not be the gravest problem in the world, like poverty or AIDS, but it’s a problem that makes us cry or keeps us up at night. So it matters. I just want pimply kids out there to know that they are not alone in this battle.

My nightmare began in 5th grade when I had my first big pimple. First of all, who gets pimples in 5th grade??? Me! I remember it was on top of my nose, quite at the center, and it was as red as Rudolph’s nose. I don’t remember being teased about it, but it occupied my mind big time. I was a kid around kids who notice little details and find all things funny, so it got me really worried. You know how grade-schoolers can be pathetic and immature or how easy they can turn big moles or bad skin into the butt of jokes around school. But that was beside the point. Who gets pimples when they haven’t even started high school? Me. Who wants to be that kid? No one.

The tragedy continued in high school. After I hit puberty, the damn monsters have incessantly come and gone. On my yearbook pictorial in high school, I had this huge zit on my forehead. BOY WHAT ARE THE CHANCES. It was a mess. The make-up people tried to cover it up, but it’s either they weren’t good enough or the photo-editing group didn’t try hard enough because I still had the trace of a bump in my photo. Oh, it doesn’t end there. Apparently, my luck can get worse.

A week before my college yearbook pictorial, would you believe that I had a SUPER MEGA ULTRA huge zit on my chin??? That’s what I said! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!?! It was a four pimple in one, four pimples joined together, I’m not even kidding! I put a band-aid over it because it’s size was a real shame. Also, my philosophy was if I put band-aid on it, germs can keep away or in other words I can stop my dirty hands from touching it or pricking it or doing nasty things to it that could make it worse. I have done everything — the toothpaste solution, the lipstick solution, the overnight pimple cream that I must have put 10x in a night — that maybe I had overdone it… Which must have only made it worse. I prepped the makeup artist by apologizing, because of the challenge of covering it up and she had that look of pity on her face. I tried, but all I could say is, Thank you Photoshop.

My monsters were a curse. The acne, the blemishes, the spots, the scars. All of them. Sometimes I blame my parents, because it was their genes that got me this curse. Sometimes I blame God. Because seriously, WHY ME? I could have been like the other girls who were born with perfectly clear and fair skin, but why did he have to choose me to suffer? It was a curse. It was a disease and I have had innumerable breakdowns because of it. It became the root cause of all my other problems. It always had me thinking that boys didn’t find me attractive because of it, or that when other girls see me they must be laughing or talking about it to themselves. To a teenager who felt the need to belong, be flawless and perfect, my life was a damn nightmare. I pitied myself and my self-esteem was non-existent.

That is why I always envied my friends who have always had clear skin. They don’t know how lucky they are. To be able to wear powder and experiment with makeup, like any other teenager, without expecting any breakouts after a day or two? How I wish I had that fate. There was a time that I had to go to the derma clinic every week and have my face get pricked, scraped, burnt, and injected with medicine that by the time I reach home I lock myself and cry in the bathroom. Did it sound like it hurt? Good, because it terribly did. It was physical turmoil that I couldn’t even touch or feel my face without wincing just a little bit. It hurt emotionally having to accept this fate in the face of dried-up blood and bruises from something that is not even intentionally my fault. It sucked.

Having pimples has been my insecurity since time immemorial that I think it explains why I have always tried to be the smart student, the good leader, or the fun friend. I tried to divert people’s attentions away from my face and on to all the achievements that I worked hard for. Maybe if I had this big and pleasing personality, people could ignore the monsters on my face and look deeper. Sometimes I thought it worked, but sometimes it didn’t really cut it. I know that appearance doesn’t define people, but only people without issues on how they look can confidently say that. It’s difficult when every time you look in the mirror, you see the problem. It’s an arduous feat, but I guess you just learn and accustom yourself to accept it. BE BIGGER THAN THAT PIMPLE ON YOUR FOREHEAD. That’s what I told myself.

I was that pimply kid and I still am. I still get breakouts every month. I still try new facial creams and cleansers. But something changed. I have accepted my fate and I haven’t stopped fighting the battle. I may have learned how to put a little makeup as an effort to make myself look and feel good. I’m still a girl, anyway. But even if I go out the world without concealing the zits on my face, I feel better now because I know I am more than that pimple. I am bigger than that pimple. It’s a constant battle, but I will fight it.

The bottom line? Kids, when you get a little older or more mature, you’ll realize that it’s okay to look imperfect. There will always be people who looked deeper, who will care about who you are and not what you look like. From experience, despite my insecurities, I have the best set of friends and family who look at me for who I am, who couldn’t care less how I look, and accepts me with all of my baggage. With or without my monsters. Now that doesn’t suck at all.

#selfiesundays

Honk, honk! What’s up bitches!!!! I deserve this entrance because it’s been a week since my last post. Believe it or not, I have been hanging in my creative cocoon quite a lot, even if a lot of times I’m just smelling around or picking on my dry and arid ideas. The truth is, my ideas of starting a new effort for my blog has been keeping me company. I had a discernment if I am ready for a new blog commitment, because I don’t want to disappoint myself again.

Cue: memories of the failure of the365thoughtproject last year. By the way, I’m still grieving about it. I just couldn’t have done anything. School piled up and it followed me everywhere. I lost the time and the inspiration that one day I just decided to lay the project to the ground. And if you think school was the lamer excuse, it’s actually this recurring sickness of mine of not finishing what I started that is to blame. It sucks to be human.

Anyway, enough with this blab about what is done. The point is, I DECIDED to post daily again — hopefully now with better content, more personal, and read-worthy posts. I won’t be jinxing this “effort” by giving it a name or calling it a project, because I sure have learned from my mistakes in the past. No worries, no pressure. Just doing what I can.

With that said, allow me to begin this endeavor with facts you should know about me. Sundays will get more personal. Welcome to #selfiesundays. : )

Hi! I’m Charmaine. You can call me Cha. The most recent people that I just became friends with all asked after I introduced myself, “Cha? As in tea?” My nickname has never been an issue to me back in my home country, but meeting people from different parts of the world, they sure did find my nickname interesting and easy to remember. In China and in some parts of Great Britain, cha does mean tea. I never thought a lot of people know what cha means in Mandarin. So the last time I introduced myself, I took a shot and said “Hi! I’m Cha… You know, like the tea?” Kru, kru. OH KAY. So it’s just one too many of a coincidence. I tried. Let’s move on.

According to some name dictionaries, Charmaine means “a bountiful orchard”. I don’t even know what that should say about me. I’m not even physically gifted, if you know what I mean. But my mom clearly had a purpose when she decided to name me after a beauty queen who just won a title the time of my birth. Twenty years later, I’m still pimply and a fatass. Way to live up to my name!

My brothers call me “The Destroyer”. It’s my uncle who began this madness, but my family easily supported it. They don’t deny that the number of things I have broken speaks huge volumes about carelessness in my genes. After my name are two broken laptops, two not-working and four lost cellphones, x number of drinking glasses, a Rubiks cube (can you imagine!), and the list goes on. Even I don’t get it. It’s like my hands are cursed and everything I touch automatically disintegrates. It’s frustrating because ever since they started calling me that, they watch me like a hawk with everything that I put my hands on. OH LOOK, MY HANDS DECIDED NOT TO BREAK ANYTHING TODAY.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A black rapper who hangs out with Jay Z and friends. Serious.

If you were to have breakfast with a dead person right now, who will it be? Jane Austen, no doubt.

If your life were a movie, who would play you? Emma Stone. And Andrew Garfield for the non-existent boyfriend. I should at least make my life the movie desirable, right?

Three artists you would listen to until your ears bleed: Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, Phoenix

Guilty pleasure? Reading cheesy romantic bad-boyfriend young adult novels and cyberstalking Marian Rivera (don’t judge me)

Biggest pet peeve? The annoying sound of ‘tsk’

Biggest turn-on? Eyebrow cut and sexy calves

~

Cha, you know the tea

We choose which reasons to follow.

This friend of mine named Danny Wallace, who only happens to be the writer of one of my favorite contemporary novels which I haven’t admitted to myself yet, On Charlotte Street, taught me a special lesson. That is, fate does not exist (“not pre-determined fate, anyway”). There is no fate, only reason. Reason that moves us to act.

You see, I had reasons to pursue this guy that I was attracted to. I liked him. I liked him enough that I told him I like him. I thought we had a moment. I imagined that something good could have happened if we ended up being together. And for a perfect score, he even knows I exist. These, to me, are all good reasons to get to know this guy better. But then, I also had reasons not to.

I was turning a new leaf in my life which involved a lot of focusing on the self. He was turning a new leaf in his life and I figured his career would be too important for him to have time for a personal life. I also had a career to worry about. I had self-esteem issues. And most of all, I was moving to another state.

With much contemplation (or rather not much), I chose to follow the latter set of reasons. There will always be the what-ifs, but I was glad I chose to follow the reasons-not-to. All this time I was complicating my life blaming everything on fate when actually there is no fate, only reason. And a will to act on reason.

In life, we may have a lot of reasons to do something, but nothing says that we will, because there will always be a reason not to do things. We just choose which reasons to follow.

You can get what you want.

Ruben: You can’t always get what you want.

Adrian: I don’t get it why people always say that. You can get what you want.

I have grown to have this attitude of believing that when things don’t go my way it’s the world trying to tell me that it’s not for me. Then it came to me that the happy experiences I had in life were things that did not come easy, things that I fought tooth and nail for. So now, everytime I feel like the universe is conspiring to put stumble blocks in my way, I think of it as the world asking me “well, if you really want it, then you have to win it from me”. So I just have to toughen up and give a good fight. If it gets more difficult, then I have to try again or look for another way, because I have picked my fight and I know that if I win, I deserve the prize.

Again, one of life’s overused cliches has dawned on me: We can get what we want if we work hard to get it, if we fight for it.

Would you give it a rest?

There is a certain amount of nagging I can take and I’ve had enough of it earlier today. I didn’t mean to be mean to my dad, but I know that I may have raised my voice a little higher while I was talking to him on the phone earlier. It’s just that a lot of things are going on inside of my head and they are stressful enough on their own. My dad nagging me about those things twice a day doesn’t help at all.

It’s not that I don’t want or need his help, but I just want to figure out things on my own first. I want to find my place in this house and in this new life on my own. I don’t need for him to tell me that ‘I don’t seem to understand that things will be very difficult’, because he certainly hasn’t been in my mind lately not seeing what a chaos it is there right now. I understand the current change in my life situation, but I need him to give me time to process everything. I haven’t even passed the first week yet, for God’s sake. The last thing I need right now is to be rushed. Because if this continues, I will seriously lose my mind.

Dad doesn’t seem to notice that I’ve been spreading myself too thin in the past couple of days (with the adjustments of moving and all) and I’m just being nice by nodding my head when tolerating his consistent nagging. So after that exchange of muttering of breaths over the phone, my dad hung up and I knew that the moment he reaches home he’ll do the silent treatment on me. And I was right. Maybe he did harbor some ill feelings about what happened, but I’m kind of thankful because at least I’m getting the quiet that I want. I hope he understands, ’cause right now I don’t need anyone breathing down my neck or hovering around like a teacher checking up on my right or wrong answers. I just need time, is that hard to understand?

It’s a pain to have an over-achiever-nagger dad sometimes.

Shit scared

I am aware that June starts tomorrow and along with that fresh start is my possibly putting a period to an already run-on sentence that is my summer vacation. I am flying out of London… and out of Europe for good. I don’t know when I’m coming back, but someday I hope I do.

I am moving to the States to rejoin my family and to look for a possible bright future. I am actually dreading this day to come. I’m afraid. More like shit scared or terrified. I tried finding an escape to this situation by listing things that I would like to do, namely: learning how to cook, joining some friends in a book review blog and doing it religiously, learning how to drive, starting on a diet and exercise, coming up with interesting pieces for my blog, or seriously growing potted plants (believe me, I bought sunflower seeds already). I tried really hard to sweep whatever I’m dreading under the rug, but it doesn’t work anymore. And now I’m wide-eyed staring at it.

What do you want to do, Cha? Will you study further? If so, what will you study about? Will you find a job? Do you think people will take you seriously? Or maybe you want to study and work at the same time? Can you handle it? Or maybe find some rich guy you could marry? Or you know what, surrender and just go back to the Philippines? What do you plan to do?

I don’t know. I really don’t. And no matter the many minutes under the shower I’ve spent thinking about it, I get a different answer and get more frustrated. I always make an excuse, like Oh I’m so young still I have a lot of time to think about what I want, but the hard part is my time frame in the form of my visa and its expiry when I turn twenty-one next March. I know I just can’t do nothing while I hear the clock tick. That frustrates me even more. Why can’t things be much easier?

Well, the best idea I have right now is to settle down first and figure things out when I’m there. Tomorrow, my ten-month countdown officially begins. Wish me the best.

Focus!

My Philosophy professor returned our third quiz and posted our midterm oral grade today and guess what! I got D….isappointment, D… epression and a D… isaster. I really need a check-up on my priorities, because I may actually be forgetting that I’m currently in the middle of my supposedly last semester in college which means that any symptom of failure deserves a reprimanding. Failing a class will be unforgivable at this point. I have to admit that I am getting a little too distracted with all my post-graduation plans. I am all focused on what is after the finish line that I don’t seem to notice a three-foot hurdle two meters away.

The key is to get my concentration and motivation back. This month is the perfect time to exert extra effort and make up for my zeros. I feel nervous that my time will not be enough to pull up my grades, but if there is one thing I learned from my Theo class, it is that “There is hope in the margins“. I have to quote Jon Sobrino on that. He may have used poverty as his context to the quote, but I really think that this will work best for my situation right now. I am in the margins. Well, his quote worked on me a dozen times already. Whenever I feel hopeless, helpless, and on the edge of a meltdown, a little ray of light always pokes inside the dark box that is my life and all the impossibility fades away. I just really have to get back in the zone.

TO GRADUATE! THERE IS NO TRY.