Comfortable Me, How I Learned Self Love.

I'd say that on 5 out of 7 days a week, my outfits are all about comfort.  If all 4 inch heels and fancy dresses were super duper comfy, I'd wear them all day everyday.  I prefer a little fancy in my day.  But the facts are that I work from home, am alone for 75% percent of my days, spend many many many hours at my desk either doing design, illustration, or jewelry work, and if I'm not wearing comfy clothes, I get fidgety and grumpy.  And though 60% of me reaaaaally love fancy, glamorous, feminine dress up, there is still 40% of me that is just a mountain girl homebody who finds putting on make up and and shaving her legs to be such annoying tasks.

Most days, I don't wear make up.  I battled many many years with severe cystic acne and, ugh, I can't even tell you how physically and emotionally painful it was to have to deal with severe and scaring acne for all of junior high, all of high school, all of college, up until recently.  I felt absolutely hideous for years.  It wasn't just that the acne looked gross to me but it seriously hurt and throbbed constantly.  If my hand even lightly brushed a cyst on my face it would sting and throb so bad that my eyes would water.  When you have cystic acne, you feel your skin in such a more intense way than when you don't have it.  It's impossible to not be constantly aware of the physical and emotional pain of the cysts and pock marks on your face.

It took me a long time to believe I was beautiful despite my acne.  My acne started slowly when I was 12 and reached it's peak when I was 19 & 20.  I had tried every acne medication available from the ages of 12-19 and nothing worked so I finally, and cautiously, decided to take Acutane.  Thankfully, I received none of the scary side effects other than super chapped lips and dry skin.  And for the 6 months I took it at age 20, my skin purged itself of all of its acne drama and I was completely cyst free for a year after.  It was amazing and SO freeing to just not feel pain in my face for the first time in years, to look in the mirror and not see ruddy hills and valleys but a clear soft landscape.  It was SO freeing to finally not feel my face that way so intensely, to not feel pain when I touched my face.  I was finally able to just forget about my face and focus on the me that isn't the outside.  It was a year of obvious outward healing but more importantly deeper and more meaningful inward healing.  The acne did come back though after a year, just not as painfully and dramatically as before.  And thankfully, having that years break of face pain, when the acne did come back I didn't let it effect me as intensely emotionally before, even when I did get a lot of scaring after the acne came back.  And about a year and a half ago (when I was 24) it did finally calm down.  Now it only blesses me with the occasional one or two zits at a time that keep a girl humble :)

I sometimes don't wear make-up because I'm just feeling lazy, but others times I don't wear make-up because I want to remind myself that I am thankful for my years battling with really severe cystic acne.  It taught me so much.  I still have scars along my jawline and cheeks, though you can't really tell in the photo below.  I have a freckly face so a lot of the little pock marks blend in with the freckles.  But I still can see them.

When I looked at them when I was younger, it was in disgust and shame.  I thought I looked like a monster and my lack of self pride was obvious in how I carried myself.  But as I look at my face now with occasional zits, acne scars and no make-up, I am thankful I can say to myself, "Dude, it took a tumultuous 10 years to learn to love yourself with and without acne and scars.  But I am proud of you.  You learned to love yourself and find beauty in you whether your skin is completely clear, whether there are zits all over your face or scars scattered across your jaw.  Whether your skin was constantly throbbing in pain or whether you didn't even notice the feel of your skin at all, you found self love.  The scars that are left and the occasional zit visitors now are just reminders that true beauty isn't found in a perfectly smooth flawless face.  Beauty is found in how a person wears their self love and confidence."

Most days I wear no make-up or just a little on my eyes.  Most often, I let my hair air dry because I'm lazy about hair fancy-ness and blow drying it feels like a time waster.  Plus, I am lucky to have pretty straight smooth hair that rarely needs to be brushed.  I wear glasses every single day, all day because contacts are really irritating on my eyes when I am doing work at my desk all day, and I don't want to pay for them, and putting them in and taking them out freaks me out every time.  Haha.  I do feel a little prettier when I wear contacts, but feeling just a tiny bit prettier doesn't change my level of self love.  And since I work work work all day everyday, being practical and feeling everyday pretty totally wins over feeling that extra dash of no-glasses pretty/irritated eyes.

Now, just because I often don't wear very much make-up, or none at all...just because I wear glasses and don't really do my hair often... doesn't mean "Oh, I am so humble, I don't need all this fancy stuff to feel beautiful."  False.  It's a challenge for me!  Part of me is lazy when it comes to dolling myself up and I just don't want to put in the effort most days.  Sometimes I need to challenge myself by dressing up, wearing make-up, and gussying up my hair because it is a visual remind that I need to invest in all of me, love all of me, artistically celebrate me.  It can be a confidence boost to get all glammed up for sure, and for some girls that means glamming it up everyday.  Go you for making the effort!  But for me, a balance of relaxed days with fancy days mixed in is what keeps me feeling good about myself.  It's a challenge of self love to accept yourself on your most simple of days.  It can be difficult!  And it is a challenge of self love to invest the time in creating a visual expression of your love of self in how you style yourself too!

There's no one perfect way to find your self love and comfort in who you are.  But exploring loving yourself as your most visually simple you AND loving yourself as your most glamorous you is a great exercise in recognizing you are beautiful & worthy of being loved at your most simple and comfortable moments AND at your most visually expressive moments.  If you have battled with acne as a child or an adult, I soooo feel you.  And if you don't love yourself yet, I promise you, creating your own way to find your self love is a challenge but so worth it.  What you may not like about yourself, like acne, may come and go for your whole life.  So make the choice to seek your own compassionate understanding of beauty so that you can find the beauty in you whether it is your unwashed, messy you in the morning or your fancy dress-up you in the evening.  At every moment, I believe you are beautiful.  Let your self confidence be the glowing reflection of your beauty, rooted in self love.

Vintage 70's Vest // was my Mom's
Vintage 70's Plaid shirt // was my Grandma's
Jeans // Forever 21
Bag // Thrifted
Shoes // c/o Blowfish Shoes
Earrings // handmade by a friend
Glasses // Sears Optical

What in your life has challenged you to teach yourself self-love?


kelly ann said...

Yes, you go girl! I tend to be REALLY lazy when it comes to my hair. As in, I wash it. Sometimes. And that's all. I don't even own a blow dryer. I learned in high school to just embrace my naturally messy hair and let it be. ;) And now, I love my hair. It actually hates being styled and looks way better when I don't do anything. It's one less thing to worry about when getting ready, which I am all for.

Seriously, looking at your photos - I've always thought you had such beautiful skin... you'd never know about the acne you had in the past. It's so awesome that you look back on that experience with such a great attitude. You're gorgeous, Moorea. Inside and out.

I think it's amazing that as we get older, we learn to love things about ourselves that we struggled with in the past. It's so freeing. Thanks for being an inspiration, love. <3

Earendil said...

ah, acne! i had loads of problems with it too when i was a teenager. now i can actually show myself without any make up in front of other people (before, i always felt ashamed and showed the less possible amount of skin which i realised after that was kind of stupid since you can see the acne even below the foundation, but well...). it is certainly quite painful to have a lot of acne, especially because it happens at a time you're not sure of yourself, but the thing is to learn how to deal with it and see past the spots ;)
i'm happy to read this kind of posts, thanks!
and i agree with you, comfy clothes are the best! :)

Ciara said...

This is a wonderful post, Moorea. I do believe that in reality, many of us don't get all fancy everyday. At least my non-blogger friends don't. hah. I have curly hair and that means I definitely don't brush my hair every day... or wash it for that matter. And I'm with you on the shaving! In high school I would go the whole winter without shaving my legs. I don't do that anymore, but I certainly find it tedious.

I can't identify with acne much, but my challenge has been my latin curves. My mother's grandparents are from Cuba and along with curves, they gave me slow metabolism. It's incredibly hard to stay thin and to lose weight. But with all the hips and bustiness, I can appreciate the beauty in all body shapes - mine included. There is a place in this world for diversity and that is what is beautiful.

Caiti said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Moorea. I would never have known you had severe acne by looking at photos of you. I had my own cystic acne experience as a teen, and went on Accutane after much pain and embarrassment (I remember overhearing one boy refer to my face as "cottage cheese"--ouch). My scarring still stands out as little red divets on my very fair skin, and although it doesn't bother me anymore, I've had family members offer to cover laser treatments to remove the scars. I still get self-conscious about it when other people, especially loved ones, point it out.

Without getting too personal, my main current challenge is a disorder that is causing some health-related concerns, especially ones that affect my ability to have kids someday. It's causing me to think so much about my life and goals and what would happen if things don't turn out as planned. It's really a struggle to love my body when I feel like it's "against me" sometimes. It's so important to remember to love ourselves as we are, flaws and all. It's the flaws that make us such interesting and complex creatures, I think :)

nova said...

That vest rules!

I've never had clear skin I think, since I was like 13. Nothing seems to work for me, and sometimes I have to remind myself that it doesn't really matter...it's not severe or anything, I've just never been one of those people you'd describe as having "good skin". It's nice to hear that other people are in the same boat, I'm not just some greasy freak haha.

Jodi Ann said...

I so love this post.

Joy said...

Love your uniform! It's great.

online writing said...

the best that i read for today

Abby said...

that vest. makes my WHOLE LIFE! it's awesome!

thanks for this post. it's so easy to get in a rut where you just... don't like yourself. it's very destructive though. i STILL don't have clear skin and i'm 25. it's sensitive, it's too dry, it's too oily it can't make up it's mind. but i have a nice smile and almond eyes and that's what makes me (and other people) like me (er... my face at least haha)

you're awesome!

olive green anna said...

I caked on the make up 10 years ago. Wore a ton. And didn't feel like I looked like my self without it. Now I don't wear any most days. I am lazy also and I have learned that I was made beautifully. I wear makeup when I feel like spending a bit more time, or for a treat for my husband.

I feel the same way about the switch between the days when I wear makeup and spend time and my self and other days when I don't do anything to look good really helps me to be reminded to love my self and spend time on my self.

Thank you for sharing Moorea. Your thoughts are reflections are lovely!


Anonymous said...

I hope you know how very often you write inspiring things Miss Moorea! :) Thanks for cheering up my morning.

And you make me reeeeeeeally want a pair of those shoes!!!! I already wanted them, but then I opened this post and immediately thought 'ooooohhh pretty!' haha I'm going to try and resist! <3

{andthisiswhatshesaid} said...

I love this. You are beautiful inside and out!

AMBER♥ said...

this post is wonderful. an awesome outfit and an awesome message! i've struggled with moderate acne for years. i wear makeup to cover up the scars, but your words have struck a cord. thank you for sharing your wisdom.

fawnandfoe said...

Thank you for sharing all of this. I had (well, have) the same problems and it is very hard and very painful, especially when people think you're overreacting. I recently read one of your old posts about the same topic and it really touched me that you were willing to discuss all of the hardships you had with bullying and self-image in the past. Just know that we've all been there too! You're inspiring and I really hope that some day I can find the self-love that you have.

- Jaimie

LauraJane said...

"there is still 40% of me that is just a mountain girl homebody who finds putting on make up and and shaving her legs to be such annoying tasks."

Man, you are awesome. <3 this, and I relate so much- glad I'm not the only one!


naomi: said...

this is such an amazing story Moorea, thanks so much for sharing. living with acne is a really difficult thing physically and emotionally and i'm so glad to hear you're free from it! although i don't have acne nearly as severe as you did, i am considering Accutane too. i'm glad to hear of your success with it :) you're so beautiful, girl!

Lissa Chandler said...

I've never commented before, but I just have to say that I love this post. I haven't worn makeup the past few days (I've been too busy!) and it's made me wonder if I should just cut back on it altogether (except for times when I get dolled up, obviously). I'm not someone who wears a lot of makeup anyway, but I think it's so nice to just look in the mirror and see myself rather than look in the mirror and check my makeup. Anyway, I just love how you expressed beauty and self love in this post. You rock.

Erika @ Rouge & Whimsy said...

you are beautiful person for sharing a little bit of yourself.

in college i wore a ton of makeup and kinda got to the point where i couldn't leave the house without it...

so my jr year of college i went a month without a stitch. and i'm not gonna lie, it was really really hard for me.

but now i freely come and go without makeup! i always wear it to the corporate job- just to make me feel a little more put together, but i rarely wear it on the weekends. :)

Lape said...

Hi Moorea,
I found your post interesting because when I first came across this blog, one of the first things that came to my mind was how lucky you were to have such great skin! Ironic, isn't it? My story is the reverse of yours. I had fairly smooth skin throughout secondary school and most of university but when I turned 26, I started getting acne and I still have it today, several years later. Like you, I've tried several topical treatments but they only work for a month or so before the acne comes back. I'm wary of Accutane but I hope to try a new supplement soon. I try not to relate self-love with my skin and it IS tough but deep-down, I know that it is possible. Thanks for such a great, personal post.

TrailMix said...

What an awesome post!! You're so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story!

tasha faye said...

i feel so happy for you that you found self love and to be totally comfortable with yourself. i admire you for it! looking at your pictures, i never would've thought you had cystic acne before. i'm glad that you learned so much and gained so much strength from the experience. :) yay you! <3 +i think you look just fine minus makeup and blow-dried hair. i'm exactly the same! i don't quite like what blow-drying does to my hair and in the weather i live in, makeup melts off fast. :/

as for me, i think that my body has been an issue that undermines my confidence, especially in the past few years. i know i'm still 17 and i can lose weight much easier than when i'm older but most of the time, i feel no motivation at all to lose any of it! i feel embarrassed sometimes by my size, though my friends convince me otherwise. i'm definitely working through this! :) thank you for telling us about your story, Moorea. xx

C a m i l l e said...

I just turned 30 years old and once a month or every other month, I'll still get a great big embarrassing cystic zit or two. Impossible to cover and very painful. What does it stop?? I was wondering how you overcame your skin condition and what you use on your face these days? Glad I found your beautiful blog! I'll stop by often.

Still looking for a solution here,
garden gnome arts

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for continuing to share such honest tales about yourself. I too suffered from severe acne for most of my life and I would be very self concious about my skin.

It has only recently subsided due to a dramatic change in my diet but I still have scarring, but I feel a whole lot better about myself and if I don't wear make up I don't have a complete freak out like I used too.

Kara said...

Yeesh, I SO know how you feel about the cystic acne around the jawline. Woof. It's something I still deal with pretty regularly and it's always such an awful cycle - is it my makeup? Is it my cleanser? Am I using the right moisturizer? SO stressful.

But you're right. There's something so freeing about embracing what's natural to you and rocking it. I have curly/wavy/frizzy hair and after straightening it for years, au natural hair came back into vogue and I'm in love with it. I can't imagine ever wanting to change it permanently.

Zits be damned - I still have awesome hair :)

Kim said...

I love this post! You have such beautiful skin, its hard to believe you had cystic acne for so long! Learning to be comfortable in my scars is something I am still working on. I had bad acne from 12-19, which resurfaced at 24 after getting off the pill. Went back on after a year because nothing would help! My face is clear and scars are healing now, but I dread the day I get off it and my acne comes back. I need to work on some mucho self love before then!
Thanks for writing this post :)

Kate said...

♥ You're so beautiful. I love your confidence to be completely honest with yourself and not be afraid to put it all out there. A true inspiration, Miss Moorea.

Meanz (Koi Story) said...

Love this post Moorea, you are so inspiring and this post made me so happy to see you overcoming something and helping others realize they need to love themselves.

Anastasia from Natbeesfashion said...

Nevrosa anorexia made me change my thoughts and needs.

On another note I love your shoes!!!!You are so lucky!

fawn said...

Thank you for sharing this post! I love makeup, but only wear it about 1 or 2 times a week when I go out and even then it can irritate my super-sensitive skin. It's not good for us in so many ways. I also wear my glasses about 50% of the time. It takes courage to be and to love yourself. :)

sarah nicole said...

Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing your skin story. I can totally relate. Mine was awful in high school, and again in my midtwenties, and it always made me feel terrible. Finally, at 28, I have reached a point where I am like, "I am not my skin!" And I just accept myself, breakouts or no. It's so liberating, right?

Love, honest post.



Alice said...

You always look so lovely in your pictures! I still get acne in one patch on my chin which annoys me so much... especially as it's on the side I used to consider my 'good side' haha. It's only in the past year or so that I've felt comfortable wearing no make up- often out of laziness admittedly, but I don't leap into shops to hide from people I know now.

As for your final question... I'll have to think about that! And perhaps write it out in a blog. Thanks for the inspiration, as always.

Anonymous said...

you are so beautiful. the journey to self-acceptance and love is not easy but it is so rewarding! i love your blog. i see you on laura's space all the time and don't know why i haven't spent more time here before now.

{{hugs and love}}