when i woke up this morning, i was struck with more than the usual monday dread. yes, the sun was glaring at me and my mind was doing its usual flip-through of this week’s to-dos and there was the lingering sense that another delicious dream had come to a grinding halt. when i put on my glasses and my room came into focus, however, something else gnawed at me. it was a zit.
the tender, red bump had appeared, overnight, on the bridge of my nose, right where my glasses rest, and it hurt. bad.
when i was in junior high and all the girls were replacing their bonne bell lip gloss with eye shadow and mascara, i was being told no. no, i could not wear make up. (no, i did not need a bra. no, i would never, ever get a Guess acid-washed denim jacket no matter how many times i asked.) make-up would would ruin my skin, mom said, and maybe she was right, because i went through high school zit-free and all my friends hated me for it.
i would have to pretend that i didn’t see the bumps grazing their foreheads and the blemish forming on the tip of their noses, although sometimes i just couldn’t stop staring at them. i just didn’t know what it felt like.
that has changed because now, ten years later, i’m going through a second puberty. i am developing painful crushes on movie stars who will never know i am alive, i am writing bad poetry in my diary and i am getting pimples — big, fat, ugly ones — and i don’t know what to do about it. i’m trying to remember what they used to say in the girls’ bathroom. squeeze it. no, don’t squeeze it. put a hot towel on your face. use clearasil. leave it alone. shouldn’t i have learned this by now.
defeated, i do nothing. when i go out, i don’t even try to cover it up. i put no make-up on as always and hope they just don’t see it. but if they did, i wouldn’t blame them. when i look in the mirror, it’s the only thing i see.