Top: Ellery borrowed from Plan de Ville; Pants: St. John; Shoes: Oscar de la Renta via The RealReal; Bag: Chanel; Sunglasses: Celine; Bracelet: Tiffany's
First things first. I want to say, from the bottom of my heart, that I truly appreciate all your kind words and birthday wishes last Friday. To feel genuine connections today is rare and the fact I can share my little corner of the internet with you day to day and have it mean something to both of us -- to connect, to discuss, to commiserate, to support, to advise, to just BE, well that's nothing short of amazing to me. Truly. Thank you.
Secondly, but on a very related and open note, I wanted to talk about something that I've been dealing with and thinking about lately and that's self-image. Now, before this starts to sound like an eye-roll inducing after school special, I'd like to clarify a few things. This isn't where I get on a soap box and tell you the importance of self-image and self-worth. Because at the end of the day, I think we can all recognize just how important these things are and how very little they should depend on how we actually look and where we are in life, but our perspective on them. The tricky part, especially as I'm entering this phase where a lot of things in my life really are falling into place after years of hard work (knock on wood!), is how to address it when your perspective shifts. When things you can't control throw you a curve ball. When telling yourself that you're beautiful no matter what, gets a bit harder because of some new insecurity, big or small. When you just can't quiet the doubts that creep in, whether they're warranted or not.
Where am I going with this? Well in the spirit of being open and honest with you all, for the past two years, I've been struggling with some persistent hormonal acne, primarily along my jawline. What started out as seemingly normal breakouts around that time of the month, has now progressed into something a bit more concerning and cystic in nature. As someone who historically never really dealt with acne as a teenager, aside from the typical pimple that showed up from time to time, this has thrown me for a loop. A complete loop.
Now, you may be wondering as to why it hasn't ever really been a topic here on This Time Tomorrow, or perhaps all that noticeable in my photos. And that's the beauty of makeup coverage and strategic hair placement and me just generally shying away from closeups of my face (I get really nervous when Lydia gets too close to me with her camera). For that, I want to say that I wasn't intentionally trying to mislead anyone about my appearance. At the end of the day, I wanted my outfits to be the focus, and the fact my face happens to pop in from time to time, is just a byproduct.
In the whole scheme of things, I also realize my acne is by no means debilitating, and after many, many, many Google image searches looking for answers and explanations, I realize I'm much more on the mild to moderate side of the severity spectrum. Hence why it doesn't look all that obvious or noticeable in my photos. Does that mean my self-doubt doesn't creep in regularly? Of course not. Or that my insecurity doesn't control me sometimes? It definitely can and does. Or that some self-loathing, despite my better judgement, doesn't get the best of me? Oh god, it certainly does. More than I would like to admit.
A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But isn't that the frustrating thing about insecurities? Sometimes, the things no one else really notices or cares about, are the things you blow out of proportion in our head. What used to be routine, like say, going to the coffee shop sans makeup, becomes an inner struggle of thinking everyone is staring JUST at your face. And your latest breakout.
It can be isolating to say the least -- especially when a lot of your friends (or perhaps amongst my circle of friends), aren't necessarily going through the same thing, you can really start to feel alone. I find this particularly interesting, given that, after a lot of internet research and chatting with my dermatologist at great length, this is actually a really common problem among women my age (due to a long list of hormonal factors that I'm not really qualified to write or speak about).
Now, I don't intend for this post to turn into a complete skin care routine write up as I'm still very much in the stages of sorting out possible causes and treatments, including but not limited to diet changes and a prescribed medication from my dermatologist. (That said, if you would find it helpful if I documented this experience here, please do let me know in the comments below!) Instead, I want this post to help anyone who's struggling with a self-image problem of their own, be it acne or not, to know that you're not alone. And despite how difficult it might get to remind yourself at the end of the day, it really is true: you are enough. You are. You are fucking more than enough. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And especially don't let yourself tell you otherwise.
Easier said than done, of course. Especially in an age of over-sharing and over-editing, when you can easily compare yourself to this person or that celebrity -- trust me, I get it. And in some ways, I feed into it -- it's the nature of this world I work in. Guilty as charged. But just as that saying goes, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle," you gotta be kind to yourself first. You owe that to YOU.
And in the spirit of self-love, I've partnered with my favorite facial oil, Biossance, to help celebrate their latest product launch, The Nourisher. As someone with, oddly enough, very dry skin despite my recent onslaught of breakouts, I've toyed with the idea of facial oils off and on the past few years, afraid it would just add too much "oil" to my already seemingly "oily" face. I've now fully incorporated them into my evening routine at the recommendation of my dermatologist, who has me on several cleansers and creams that are extremely drying on the skin to help combat my acne. Throw in the fact that winter is in full swing here in NYC and my skin has never been dryer. Never. It's been extremely uncomfortable and unsettling -- almost to the point that I've noticed my skin becoming a bit dull and less firm than I'm used to, particularly on my lower jawline and neck, where a lot of recent breakouts have been occurring. I'm trusting in the process that my dermatologist has outlined for me (and urge you to consult yours first before you start subscribing to this routine for your skin), but have relished in the fact I can lather on just a few drops of a gentle facial oil like Biossance's Nourisher combined with a gentle moisturizer like CereVe, and start to feel my old skin texture again, despite the necessary skin peeling from my cleansing routine.
If you'd like to share your own self-love story, Biossance is hosting a giveaway over on their Instagram account. Simply upload an image of your own, share your self-love journey and tag Biossance and you'll be automatically entered for a chance to win a Nourisher sample.
I also want to say that this post was extremely therapeutic for me to write -- and while I'm still very much in the thick of struggling with acne, I feel immensely better for getting this off my chest. It's something that I've wanted to discuss here on This Time Tomorrow for a while now, but the timing always seemed off and I had a million excuses as to why I didn't want to openly admit this thing that I'm extremely insecure about. But when Biossance shared their latest campaign story with me -- that of self-love -- I felt it would be amiss of me to not take this opportunity to stare this thing down in the face, once and for all, especially with a product that my dermatologist and I feel is a good fit for me and my skin right now.
Of course, part of me is still afraid to hit publish -- because us silly human beings hate being vulnerable -- but I also recognize that if this reaches just one other person who might be going through something similar, than I fully believe it was worth it. And if you happen to be that one other person still reading this very long and rambling post and want to talk about it -- hit me up! I'm all ears: email@example.com.
Eep. Hitting that publish button...now...
This post was in collaboration with Biossance. As always, all opinions and styling are my own. Thank you for supporting all This Time Tomorrow collaborations!