Saturday, December 23, 2006

This is Shazi

I stared for hours at the computer screen before I finally typed these words.
Tears rolling down my cheeks... hand clutching a wet tissue.... salty mucus dripping into my mouth... I feel horrible...

Why am I feeling this way?
My sis had just said something so seemingly insignificant to some, a minute comment, a passing remark, a harmless tease... Usually I would not have been offended by what she had said but clearly enough is enough.

I was showing her a picture of this guy who I thought looked similarly to me and I joked that he was my twin. My sister then joked to say, "Ya. He's the good-looking twin and you're the ugly pimply one. Haha. Pimple face."

Usually I could always make a good bitchy comeback but whenever someone teases me about my scarred pimply skin, I would be dumbfounded, my whole 'defense' mechanism would shut down and I would begin to withdraw as if I was crawling away to hide in a corner.

I went to my bed and tried to sleep but my mind just kept replaying the words she said to me.
Trust me, this is not the first time she said that to me. I have been called worst. Pimples. Pimple boy. Polka Dot face. Moon face. Everything and anything nasty.
And usually I wouldn't be bothered but because of my insomnia (I have been having that for the past 2 weeks now), the words kept ringing and ringing in my head until it came to a certain point when I just cried. I brokedown in my bed.
I was trying to do the manly thing you know, tried to keep it silent, stifling my cries, trying to control it. But I lost it.

I sobbed.
And sobbed as if I lost the most precious thing in the world to me.

So this was the time when I sat in front of my computer and turned it on and wrote this, still crying...

It pains me to talk about my skin and now I feel ready to talk.

I have always withdrawn from conversations when skin or complexion is involved. I will keep quiet when my friends lament about a recent zit they have on their otherwise blemished-free skin. I will always turn speechless when people ask me about my skin condition. And I will always smile awkwardly when some friends make rude jokes about my acne. But it always pains me inside. Don't they care?

Its not fair.
Its not my fault I look this way. Or is it?
Is it because of what I eat? What I did or didn't do?
Is it because I don't wash my face often or because I over-do it?
Is it because I picked my pimples when I was younger (I honestly was clueless at that time and also thanks to my eldest sis who always 'pops' my pimples and I developed the habit as I grew older)?
Is it because of my genes?
What's wrong with me?
Is it me?

Its not fair.
That I have to spend more effort and money on my skin.
That I have to watch what I eat.
That I can't enjoy fried or spicy food without worrying if I might have a large zit the next day.
Or that I have to cleanse my face more often than others, otherwise I would feel uncomfortable and oily each time I didn't.
That I need to spend hundreds of dollars on facial products, cleanser, exfoliant, skin rejuvenating cream or benzoyl peroxide creams (you name it, I have it) every month.
Or spend thousands on facials in facial spas or skin centres (which you will end up paying more when you buy their products that they 'promise' will help you).
Is it fair that I have to fork out an additional 60 dollars to buy medication from my doctor every single month.
(I think I could have spent close to S$2000 annually on all these products for the past 10 years or so...) Tell me is it fair?
People will just think that I have been idling my time away as my skin condition worsens when in reality they don't know how much effort and money I have spent to prevent it from deteriorating further.

Its not fair.
Watching people with clear skin having so much higher self esteem than me, chatting confidently with strangers, smiling like the world owes them a living.
That I am always feeling insecure about how I look when I take pictures up close. Or that I have to spend longer time to groom and conceal all those zits.
Or that I am always stared at by other people. Like a freak in a freakshow.
Is it fair that I have low confidence in approaching girls, to do anything for that matter?
Or knowing that nobody would kiss me on my oily pimply cheeks.

Its not fair.
That I have to be at the butt of the joke of my so-called friends about my complexion. I know I look horrible. You don't have to point it out...
From the subtle, "I don't want to pick my zit otherwise I would look like Shazi," to the trying-to-be-helpful-but-really-you-are-not, "I think its in the genes cause I saw your dad and he looks like you too," to the plain nasty, "All those oxy cream is not helping you, give up lah. Your face liddat (like that). Why still using?"

Now, its really not fair.
To add to my acne scars, I have chicken pox scars.
Horribly scarring the skin on my torso and arms, not to mention my already disfigured face.
This time I really feel like showering with acid to melt my skin away.
Recently, I had mustered the courage to go to gym wearing a singlet instead of my T-shirt.
And that would be the last time I'll be wearing singlets to anywhere for that matter.
Because while I was changing in the washroom, I overheard a couple of Malay guys talking about my scarred body ( Malay), unaware that I was also Malay and I could understand them, every single word. At first I saw one gesturing to the other with his eyes to look at me. They laughed and then the one who noticed first asked the other guy what was wrong with me. Not wanting to hear anymore, I scurried out of the changing room, obviously embarassed. I felt like I had a disease, you know? I felt like I was in a way being discriminated against. I felt humiliated.
Tell me is this fair?

There was this young nephew of mine who rubbed his palms on my cheeks and ask me blatantly, "What is wrong with your face? Why do you look different? You are so rough." I explained it to him that I had pimples.
That night, I cried myself to sleep (I'm such a crybaby, I know)...

And now he asks a different question, one I don't have the answer to, "Izan, why do you have so many pimples?"
And he asks that every single time he rubs my cheeks again or kisses me on the cheek. And my eyes will water slightly when I reply, "I don't know."

On the eve of the past 10 birthdays of my life, I have always prayed to God for the same thing.

To grow taller and to have clear skin. After I turned 17 (and I know its scientifically proven that humans stop growing and I can never grow any taller), I've still been clinging to the hope that when I wake up the next morning my skin would be all fine and I would look normal. Every single morning of my birthday, I will wake up feeling cheated and stupid as I look at myself in the mirror. And I will ask God, "God... why am I still ugly? It is not fair..."

Even though I believe in the 'beauty is only skin deep' rubbish, I can't help to think that these scars have not only scarred me on the outside, it has left deeper scars within me.

I don't need take pity on me as I am writing this not to gain your sympathy or understanding, I'm writing this primarily because I want to.

You don't have to feel sorry for me in anyway, because I already do feel sorry for myself.

"I sobbed.
And sobbed as if I lost the most precious thing in the world to me."

My pride.


Anonymous said...

I will make my next wish in your honour. I think you are beautiful and hope that at some point your pain can turn into strength.

He-Bitch said...

Thanks. I truly feel honoured to be mentioned. :)

DreamDazeD said...

Shazi, your words are so profound because it speaks directly from your conscious. I dont feel sorry for you, in fact I'm proud of the fact that you were brave enough to share your story behind what many people have labelled a horror. No one can take your pride away without your permission. You don't need anyone to make you feel good about yourself because confidence and self-acceptance comes from within.I hope you don't shun yourself- if you can stare at yourself in the bathroom without shame - you can stare defiantly at those who dare to make fun of you.
Besides who are they to judge if they didn't win sheer-perfection-of-the-year-award :-) To me beauty isn't perfection or flawless skin- beauty is truth.