Good evening my beautiful readers! I hope your past week was incredible and I pray that this new week will be even more amazing than the last. I want to thank you for checking out my blog and I am so grateful to have such awesome supporters. I love you all so much.
LET’S GET TO BUSINESS
These past months actually I have been suffering inside. My personal bouts with acne have been so difficult that I have spent days in tears, almost have had panic attacks, isolated myself from others, overly judged myself, picked myself to no end, overcleansed my face more than three times in one day, and used almost every product that you can think of to clear it up. My battle with getting clear skin was magnified due to my low self confidence and lack of self-worth. I based so much of my self worth on how well my skin appeared. This morning, I rushed to the bathroom mirror to do my daily examination of my face. I check for any new breakouts, scarring, peeling, flaking, dryness, undereye bags, texture and how my skin appears in various angles and lighting. Bathroom lighting is an old adversary of mine. My self-love journey can be chronicled through my routine bathroom check ups. The check-ups reassure my critter brain that I look fine and there is nothing wrong with me. I began to do what I always do when I have a problem: research. My go to’s are YouTube videos and blogposts. As I watched YouTube videos on how people have healed their acne, I learned about Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life. In the book, Ms. Hay goes through a list of physical conditions and provides probable reasoning for why we have those conditions. The probable cause for acne she provided was, “Dislike of self. Not accepting the self”. Those words were very hard for me to digest, but I believe it has truth to it because I have not liked myself for years. I tried to think back to the exact moment, but I think it was because I had been bullied, teased and ostracized in my youth. I have been hit as I have gotten off of the bus. I have been called a “faggot” as I walked up the stairs. I have been humiliated by guys that I thought liked me. I have been completely ignored by guys in school. I have been completely avoided by guys in school and even in college.”Noah is gay. Put your glasses back on. Your nose is too big. You look like a rat. Why you sound so gay? Are you gay? You sound like a girl. You walk like a girl. You have to get thicker skin. Why are you so emotional? You are a double minority. So, you like getting stuff in your butt? That’s disgusting”. Those are just a couple of things that I have heard in my lifetime. Whether it was about my looks or my sexual orientation, I felt so ashamed of myself. I desperately wanted a boyfriend so I can feel some form of love. No one really talked with me about being gay, and so I learned through trials and tribulations. I have never been in a relationship, but I have had many heartbreaks. I have been stood up on possible dates. I have been left on “read” by a guy I liked after I expressed my feelings for him. I have been ignored by guys that I have wanted to go on dates with. I have given money to others/bought things for others in hopes of receiving love from them. I have been laughed at by peers, students from different schools and even by a guy that I was interested in. I remember being in 6th or 7th grade and I had befriended a 4th grader. He seemed so cool and nice, and I thought that was my chance to have a younger brother because I don’t have one. Everything went well and we always joked with each other. Unfortunately, one day, him and his friend were laughing and asked if I was gay. I felt so ashamed of myself and I did not want him to look at me differently, so I denied it. His friend and him replied, “No, you are” and laughed as they walked back to class. He never spoke to me again. I felt so worthless in that moment. I remember being in the boys bathroom and I was at one urinal and a classmate of mine was at the farther end. He said and I am paraphrasing, “Noah, don’t look over here because we all know what you’re into”. I was in 7th grade. I felt so humiliated. I hated myself. In 8th grade, I signed up for the basketball team. It was my way of trying to relate more to my father, because my brother and him have always had such a unique connection that I wanted with him. I was not the best at athletics, but I wanted to make my dad proud. On the basketball team, there was this coach, who I thought was funny and charismatic, but I would soon see who he truly was. I remember in basketball practice being so afraid of embarrassing myself. I remember as we would do passing drills, I was passed the ball and it hit my face and knocked my glasses off. I laughed it off, but I felt so embarrassed. I was always so afraid of being hurt or feeling pain. In retrospect, I think it was because after all that I had been through, I did not want to feel pain again. I remember when I missed one practice and a classmate of mine had told me that Coach referred to me as the team’s “secret weapon”. I did not think that I was good at all but that made me feel so special. I anticipated the next practice so that I could ask him why am I his secret weapon? After our practice had wrapped up, I went up to the Coach and asked him why and he replied, “Oh I didn’t mean that, I just said that so the guys can get serious”. I felt so hurt. My confidence felt destroyed. The next time we had a game win, he said in front of the team, “Even Noah is making progress on the court, what are y’all doing?” I felt like the constant butt of the joke. It brought me back to being about 12 or 13. During that time, I really disliked myself, my looks and everything about me. I remember I had the Nintendo Dsi and I would take pictures. At that time, I really disliked my nose. Around that time, I had attempted suicide a few times. I did not think that my life was worth living and that I even mattered for that fact. I am trying to remember when was the exact split or why the feelings were so intense? It is hard for me to go back to my past because I remember the pain I felt. The constant anxiety, pressure to prove myself as a man, and the overwhelm of not being accepted. It felt as if I had no friends. I still have a hard time being fully comfortable around black heterosexual men, because I was teased and ostracized by black heterosexual men. I always thought that there was something wrong with me since a lot of black boys have avoided me or don’t want to be seen around me. I felt like I had this contagious disease. In my high school days, it got easier but I had became much more quiet and rarely showed my personality. I felt that if I were too myself, I would be easily pointed out as “the gay one” and that label had followed me since I was in 1st grade. I wanted a chance to establish my own identity, so I began to use kindness because that was what helped me through my pain. Prayer, journaling and positive affirmations really helped me. I still struggled with liking myself but I tried to do things that kept my mind off of appearance. I thought that with the use of products and outside sources, I could heal my skin and have a perfect complexion. I equated clear skin with beauty, a love life, success, joy and peace. I believed that if I didn’t have clear skin, then I was not worthy of love, happiness or even life. I felt so insignificant and mentally exhausted because I had tried so many things. I have asked so many people for advice, tips, reassurance, etc. and I thank them for being so patient with me. It is not easy and it brings back those painful feelings of the past. However, today I choose to accept myself. I have toned myself down and shrunken myself for too long. I have not given myself permission to be who I am in years. Today, I choose to live in my own truth and start living my life. I am a Black, gay man who deals with cystic acne, hyperpigmentation, self-confidence issues, body image issues, anxiety, depression and people pleasing. Each day is a learning experience, and I pray that through sharing some of my stories, that this can be healing for another individual. You are loved. You are important. You are significant. You matter. I believe in you. By no means I am claiming to be a victim, I have acted out a lot in my life and I am not perfect by any means. A common flaw I noticed in many of experiences is that I didn’t value myself, but I do not want you to all to make the same mistakes that I have made. I hope this was able to touch you. God bless you all on your respective journeys. Much love and blessings.