YOU ARE NOT ALONE: REAL LIFE STORIES
Anonymous Notes From Picky People – How I Do It
It starts long before I hit the mirror. It starts in the car while driving, while at my desk working, in the classroom or office, on the phone, watching TV, almost anywhere or everywhere… I touch my face. I do it over and over again a little here a little there. It starts out of boredom, stress or an itch. If I don’t have a specific target I am going for, I search my skin until I find a lump or bump or all the little pinpoint sized nodules that I know are blackheads or clogged pores. I feel them or scratch at them casually until eventually I know I have to go to the mirror to see what’s going on…
I walk up to the mirror and see my face. But I really don’t see my face as a whole – I see it as a sum of small imperfections and the spaces in between them.
I see a blemish and come in for a closer look. Without any hesitation, my hands move in for the kill. I scratch off the head if there is one and apply pressure to opposite sides of the blemish and press and squeeze. If I’m feeling especially clinical – I might use a Kleenex between my fingers and the actual flesh of my face – but mostly not. It’s just my fingernails, fingers and my face.
Maybe if I’m feeling especially good – I might have washed my hands beforehand – but then again maybe not.
Sometimes I move back to survey my work. Sometimes I simply move on to the next nearest blemish or blackhead and continue the work.
I sit there for a long time. Sometimes I say to myself, “ok – just 2 more” or “just 10 minutes more.” But then an hour has disappeared before I’m done.
I become the sum of a hand and a small patch of skin with a ‘challenge’ and the eyes that observe it all.
What makes me stop? Maybe I get a cramp in my leg or back from leaning over the sink. Maybe I finally just have the sense of being complete – although I never really am. Maybe my guilt catches up and makes me stop.
Once I’m done – I see the mess of my face – sometimes puffy, sometimes bloody. Sometimes the holes I have picked at are so big – that even makeup won’t really cover them up.
There are tissues in the toilet or in the trash can with little blood splotches all over them. I feel vindicated, because I know that there is also puss and bad stuff that also came out in addition to the blood.
I might have pus or blood that has squirted out on the mirror. I wipe up the evidence and go off to bed.