Monday, July 22, 2013

Words that Move Me - Blemishes

Exercise in humility - adult acne. 

Four red flower patches now - mostly boils.  Had to stop methods that worked as they hurt life I'm hoping to create - a different unwanted red is due today. Please.  I'm so tired of seeing red - can that version stop for now?  Homeopathic methods for the acne were working until two weeks ago for reasons unknown. I take out my old benzoyl peroxide when a sister reminds me. Why did I stop using this before? Can't remember.... oh yeah. Now I do. It burns and dries me out. Never enough lotion. Makeup doesn't help - just emphasizes the skin flaking off like some leprosy victim.  So I'll go without. Fine.

But it isn't fine. I don't know if I'm strong enough to answer the door, go to the grocery store, yoga class, the bank, let alone teach, talk, perform with my face like this.  So I put on makeup and accompany a cellist yesterday. I pretended not to care. Wear my hair down.  

I looked around while sitting in the congregation and see all the smooth faces.  Blemish free.  Can't find a face like mine. Not even the teenagers. Huh. A Joni Mitchell song runs through my head, "'Cause you don't know what you've got till it's gone."

I am reminded of high school. I never had more than a blemish or two - ivory smooth skin, pale, but pretty.  Guess I lucked out, I always thought.  Never needed braces, glasses and no acne. I felt sorry for the boy in my class, his face purple and covered nearly every inch.  I was so relieved for him when it started to heal.  Of course, you just pretend you never notice when you walk by, sneak a curious look when he's not looking. But I doubt now if I was so sneaky in my curiosity.

Because I notice.  I don't blame them - those that stare.  Those that talk to your chin or your cheek and forget that you're eyes are up, up, H E R E.  After all - you're 31 and it's even more curious to people now.  And why doesn't she put more lotion on?

"I remember well the insecurities I felt as a teenager with a bad case of acne. I tried to care for my skin properly. My parents helped me get medical attention. For years I even went without eating chocolate and all the greasy fast foods around which teens often socialize, but with no obvious healing consequences. It was difficult for me at that time to fully appreciate this body which was giving me so much grief. But my good mother taught me a higher law. Over and over she said to me, 'You must do everything you can to make your appearance pleasing, but the minute you walk out the door, forget yourself and start concentrating on others.'" ~ Susan W. Tanner, OCT 2005

Maybe that's the reason for all this.  Heaven knows I need to learn to forget myself.  Turn outward.  Okay.  I guess this is one way to teach me.  You know best, Lord.  I reread words from a book a family member gave me. I have stopped wondering if the things in this book really happened.  Instead, I'm just grateful for how parts like these bring purpose and courage for the day:

"It was then that I began to realize how far we as mortals have fallen. I learned that we were different from how we were before the Fall. Looking down on my body, I knew everything about it, how much time it needed and how much growth and exposure to truth it needed in order to be 'finished' or completed, to be able to receive all that Father had prepared for it to receive. That was quite clear to me. I understood all the changes my body needed to experience to become fit to return to the presence of the Father, and it seemed almost impossible to accomplish everything in the short duration of mortality.

"This first experience out of my body created the recollection and refreshed my memory of who i was and who I might become through obedient choices.  I then made a commitment, a covenant you could call it, between myself as a spirit and my body, that I would do everything that I had to do, to allow my body to receive every change and upgrade and sanctification it needed . . . I learned that 'I' am in fact my spirit self, who already has a godly nature, and rather than overcoming my body, as in beating it into submission, my struggles were engineered to elevate my body to the stature of my spirit."

So. I put on my yoga clothes and leave the house "au naturale."